From Our Readers—Response on Child Molesting
THE January 22, 1985, issue of Awake! carried a three-part series entitled “Child Molesting—You Can Protect Your Child.” In today’s world, this unpleasant subject is one of which parents must become aware, and many of our readers wrote letters expressing gratitude for the information presented. We would like to share some of their expressions.
“Your Suggestions Were Very Helpful”
Here is part of a letter from the United States: “Thank you so much for the information on child molesting. As children, both my sister and I were molested by a cousin. Now we both have families and want to do all we can to protect our children. We will surely be applying the sound advice found in this article.”
From the United States: “I really appreciated your article ‘Child Molesting—You Can Protect Your Child.’ Your suggestions were very helpful and simple. I have a couple I would like to share with you: It can be dangerous for children to have their names on their shirts. They are more likely to go with a stranger who knows their name. Also, when children are naughty, parents often threaten them, saying: ‘The police will get you!’ This makes children afraid and perhaps unwilling to approach the police if they ever need help.”
From the United States: “After having re-read the January 22 issue of Awake! on child molesting, I want you to know that it is one of the best I have read. Naturally I wish we had had this information several years ago, before my two beautiful granddaughters were so terribly and unmercifully abused. But if it prevents some other child from suffering as they have, I shall be glad.”
“I Was a Victim”
Many letters confirmed the terrible damage done by child molestation. For example, here is a letter from England: “Thank you for the recent articles on the subject of child molestation. I was a victim of child abuse and experienced feelings similar to those reported in your article. Even now, after so many years, I have to restrain myself because I get very emotional when I read or hear of these things happening to children.”
Another letter from England says: “I was a victim of incest over a period of years beginning when I was about five. The offender was my stepfather. What I experienced at his hands was so traumatic for my young mind that much of it was submerged in my subconsciousness until only a few months ago. The memories, once triggered, emerged like some sort of nightmare.
“Some people may regard your article as an overreaction and may feel shocked about telling their little ones about what to do if someone—even a close relative—should touch their private body parts or ask them to look at or touch theirs. I have a message for those people: ‘The advice in the article is excellent.’”
“Who Would Believe You?”
Some letters shed light on the tactics of molesters. A reader in England writes: “As a young child, I was abused by an older man whom I had a lot of respect for. As your article brought out, the indecent fondling (which is what it was restricted to) was disguised as playing and tickling. It left me with tremendous feelings of guilt and shame.”
A reader from the United States reminds us that it is not only adults who molest children. She writes: “I warned my children about adults, never imagining that it would be a nine-and-a-half-year-old girl who would improperly fondle my four-year-old daughter.”
Another reader from England tells us: “My foster father was a judge; therefore, when he started to molest me, I didn’t think there was anything wrong. When I got to the age of 12, I knew it was wrong but was unable to tell anyone, for he had drummed into me: ‘Who would believe you? And don’t be ungrateful. Look at all the things you’ve got.’ In my early teens my brothers and an uncle abused me. So by the age of 14, I was using drugs, thinking this was my only way to happiness. I grew up being very promiscuous, which was the only way I could afford the drugs. I’d like to thank you again for the article. I can now make sure my son will never have to go through the pain I had.”
A reader in the United States writes: “I just finished reading the article on ‘Child Molesting’ in the January 22, 1985, issue of Awake! I could not hold back the tears from my eyes because I, too, was molested. It happened when I was five. The molester was a man that my mother was dating. While my mother was away and my brothers were out playing, this man would take sexual liberties with me. I have been trying to forget, trying to blot it out of my mind, trying to pretend that it was a bad dream, but it was not a dream. It actually did happen, and for all these years (I am now 27) I have never told anyone. Thank you for the article on child molesting. It gave me the courage to write this letter.”
These are just a few of the many letters received that show the frightening scope of the problem. We are living in truly decadent times. (2 Timothy 3:1, 3) There have even been cases involving Christian families, which had to be handled by the congregation elders! Never forget that while child molesting is usually a sin committed by adults, it is children who carry the burden. It is tragic that so many children are being robbed of their childhood by adults who have no self-control. The emotional wounds inflicted on these young ones may last a whole lifetime!
[Box on page 27]
Alert Use of Awake! in Oregon
When the January 22, 1985, issue of Awake! arrived in Oregon, U.S.A., Joy, a minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses, went with a friend to show the articles on child molesting to the local police sergeant in charge of crime prevention. He revealed that he was just on his way to the local community college to set up a seminar on child molesting, so he took a copy of the magazine along. That afternoon, he contacted Joy and said he would like to use the magazine in the seminar. Joy alertly told him about the April 22, 1984, issue of Awake!, which featured a series of articles about missing children. The police sergeant ordered 200 copies of each magazine in order to give one to each person in attendance at the seminar.
Later, the police sergeant increased his order to 250 copies of each issue so that there would be some available to use in the local police Helpline Support programs. He also recommended that Joy contact the local Children’s Service Department. She followed his advice and was able to give her presentation before a group of 20 counselors during an orientation seminar. The group took her remaining copies of both issues of the magazine.