So I had to go and take Virtus training--for those who don't know what this is it's a training session on protecting children from predators. It's a mandate now in just about all dioceses--although some use other formats.
I wasn't looking forward to it but actually found it well worth spending a few hours of my life on this. We watched two videos which spurred on discussion. Interestingly they had both victims discussing their horrifying experiences on camera and shockingly two abusers were in the video talking about the ways they'd get children to trust them as well as parents. One guy owned a roller rink and another worked at a summer camp. Bone chilling stuff.
The one that stayed with me was a young woman who was having trouble in her English class, so the teacher offered her extra help and then started fondling her. She didn't think her parents would believe her because she was a poor student--so they'd believe her teacher more than they'd believe her.
Folks, I don't have kids, but I do have nieces and a nephew who I care for very much. I can only imagine the horror a parent would feel when this happens to their child. Make sure your children know that they can come to you with any issue and that you'll always believe them. Only 5% of abuse cases brought forth by a child are ever found to be false accusations! Kids might make up things from time to time but they don't make up stuff like this.
Today let's pray for all victims of abuse. I'd like to apologize to victims on behalf of a church that I belong to that obviously didn't handle these abuse cases well. I hope that their pain will be lessened by the work that is being done today to protect all of God's children. I pray too for those who have abused children. The one link we know is that those who have been abusing children were themselves abused as a child. I can only imagine the hell that they have been through and the lack of engagement with that pain has now led them to abuse others. May God have mercy on them, heal them of their pain and allow them to be free from all that traps them in this vicious cycle of abuse.
May God, above all help us protect out children. Amen
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