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Outline of Workshop

 

 

Part 1:  Introduction to the Problem of Sexual Abuse in the Church

 

Research shows that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthdays. These numbers apply to people inside and outside of the church, across society. It would seem that in many Christian circles, there is a reluctance to talk openly and deal with the problem. In this section, we lay out the main goals of the workshop: to break the taboo of talking about sexual abuse and to help viewers identify vulnerable youth and the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that want to harm them.

 

Part 2:  Biblical Example of Acquaintance Abuse

 

In 1 Kings chapter 13, we see an intriguing story of manipulation and deception. A man of God was tricked into bringing about his own demise by someone he thought was a trustworthy prophet. In this section, we illustrate the story and its relevance to the problem of acquaintance abuse within the church. We also highlight a popular children’s story from western culture that skews the understanding of good and evil, which contributes to the ability abusers have to deceive.

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Part 3: Profile of a Molester

 

It’s important to understand what a child molester is and is not. In this section, we dispel the notion of the dirty old man with candy in the park as the quintessential child molester. Real predators are much more sinister and blend in perfectly to society and church. We quote descriptions of molesters by their victims to illustrate this ability to deceive and give some basic warnings to break common preconceived notions about what makes a person “safe” or not.

 

Part 4: How do Predators get in to the Church?

 

This section highlights the factors that create a church environment where molesters can thrive. It focuses on how children are viewed and protected by a church body at large. It also deals with the issue of how these “wolves” are dealt with once caught. We hope to encourage church leaders to make responsible choices in each of these areas, in order to protect children and glorify Christ.

 

Part 5: Grooming and Seducing

 

Acquaintance molesters, whether they are family members or friends, always follow a pattern of emotionally and mentally seducing a child into trusting them. This process is called grooming, and it’s essential for everyone to understand how it works, in order to identify the signs when it’s happening. This section also focuses on empowering children to identify a “bad secret” that can be used to manipulate and control them.

 

 

Part 6: Intentional Protection

 

The main point of this section is that protection of children and prevention of sexual abuse flow naturally from intentions. We define intentions as the sum of what parents desire to see in the lives of their children and what a church body desires to see in the next generation of believers. In Scripture, the Lord is clear on His intentions for His children, which illustrates that if we as adults are clear with our intentions for our children, we will naturally do whatever it takes to see those intentions fulfilled.

 

 

 

Part 7: Prevention

 

This section highlights important ways that church communities can prevent sexual abuse from happening. We address how to minimize opportunities for abuse to make it inconvenient for potential predators. We also talk about insisting on policy for your church, making sure there is open discussion, not only in the church but at home, and staying alert. This openness and alertness destroys the environment of ignorance, fear and denial that fosters abuse.

 

 

Part 8: Victims

 

It is critical for people to understand the mindset of victims, so that they can understand better how to help them and pray for them. This sections underlines how victims suffer with the inner turmoil of blaming themselves, and the confusing feelings of pain mixed with physical pleasure. We also highlight how many victims go without telling about their abuse, which leaves the abusers to go free and create more victims.

 

 

Part 9: Victim Care

 

In this section, we bring to light the numerous unseen scars and devastating effects wrought by sexual abuse. These can ruin a victim’s entire life. It is vital to show fervent love, support and compassion for victims. We cover the best way to question your child about any possible abuse. It is important to ask the right questions in order to uncover the truth. Finally, we point out the legal and moral responsibility of everyone to report sexual abuse, rather than glaze over it.

 

 

Part 10: Prosecution vs. Repentance

 

In the church, we are taught to forgive those who sin against us. While this is true, many molesters have used this as an opportunity to escape punishment and go on to molest again and again. We point out that forgiveness does not mean the removal of consequences. Also, we highlight again the fact that child sexual abuse is a crime everywhere, which means it is every church member’s moral and legal responsibility to turn in offenders, regardless of there stature.

 

 

Part 11: Closing Thoughts

 

In this section, we sum up the important facts. Because of massive denial and overlooking the problem, it is not a stretch to say that everyone watching knows either a victim or an abuser - they just may not realize that they know. We stress the importance of getting these things out in the open at your church, in order to help victims heal, protect vulnerable children, and put potential offenders on the alert that you’re watching. We also stress the best way to react to all of this information, to have the best effect.


 


 

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