Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Ephesians 6:4
“During…disasters, the prevalence of sexual violence increases,” said Camille Cooper, vice president of public policy at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). “There are so many things we need to consider in this (Corona-virus) crisis to ensure that we’re doing all we can to prevent sexual violence and appropriately respond when it does happen.” Stay-at-home orders across the nation prompt questions about how the health and safety of children will be affected, especially for those at home fulltime with an abuser. Unstable homes may now have become intense breeding grounds for all the issues that trigger cruelty and aggression (unemployment, financial instability, close quarters, helplessness, anger, fear…). Children who are at home during quarantine are separated from their network of supporters, such as friends, teachers, neighbors, and mentors. This separation creates a barrier to getting help to end abuse. In addition, because of the pandemic, medical and mental health resources are now engaged in a life and death battle to assist those who have contracted the COVID 19 virus, rather than being available to respond to the needs of abused children and adults.
The Bible is clear that hurting children physically or sexually is not okay. Jesus interacted with children (notably in Matthew 18), modeling for us the unquestioning value God places on the youngest members of our society. Many try to use the Bible to justify corporal punishment and even sexual exploitation of children. But countless Bible commentaries speak to the Lord’s condemnation of sins against children. Christ’s teaching also offers continual hope for healing and forgiveness. Child abuse is never the child’s fault; the responsibility lies squarely with the abuser.
During this time of quarantine, Christians must be aware of the extra need for vigilance of children who may be home full-time with an abuser. If we suspect that a child is not safe at home, we can begin by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) and speaking to a trained advocate.
Lord, we know that hurt people hurt people. But helping people can help people too. Fill us with Your boldness and compassion to help abused children during this pandemic shutdown. Amen
APRIL IS SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH. To find out how you can help, or if you need help yourself or for someone you know, go to https://www.rainn.org/SAAPM .