Twelve years old is the average age of girls who are sexually trafficked in the United States. Most of them are girls who ran away from an abusive home. I learned these facts at church today and didn't know whether to scream or cry! In my own country! Twelve years old! At puberty's onset for the early birds and ahead of it for the majority of girls. How horrifying!
What can a former victim do to help protect and free current victims of sexual crimes? It is a question that I think most former victims ask at some point. How can we help end the pain and the tragedy? How can we save children from the anxiety, danger, and shame?
I still need to read and digest the literature I brought home, but one thing is clear. This is a problem and different organizations are banding together to give it attention. These groups include the Emancipation Network,The Salvation Army, Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking, US Department of Health and Human Services,and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. I am also aware of another group The Silver Braid. Giving support to any of these organizations or participating in their programs is one way we can help.
Other possible ways to help might include:
1. Educating ourselves and then educating others on the problems of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.
2. Speaking up, having a voice, when the topic is brought up anywhere.
3. Report it whenever we have suspicions that a child is being abused or exploited.
4. Teach our sons to respect women.
5. Treat pornography as evil and educate your children about how damaging pornography is to both individuals and society.
6. Put porn protection programs on our family computer.
7. Let the shame be the perpetrator's and share our story with others. It helps others to know where to turn for help. It also helps educate others around us on the helplessness of a dependent child and the damage caused by abuse.
8. Create a home in which all family members feel safe, loved, and respected. Allow children to have a voice.
9. Get help and support from counselors and organizations if any of your children are ever sexually abused by someone. Don't let family or friend connections stop you from getting your child and yourself help.
10. Carry phone numbers of help agencies in your purse, so that you'll be able to give the information to someone who is hurting.
11. Pray for the children who are being abused.
12. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Someday your obedience may allow God to use you to change a child's life.
We are former victims. We understand the pain. We are no longer helpless. We can help to whatever extent God urges.
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