Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Healing The Wounds of Sexual Abuse

I have, for some years, been the Safe Environments Coordinator for two parishes in western Minnesota. The goal of this task is to assure that our children (and vulnerable adults) are protected from sexual and other abuse by adults, that civil and religious authorities are immediately notified if such abuse is discovered and that victims receive healing care as quickly as possible.

An acquaintance, Dawn Eden, has written a new book about this latter point of healing the wounds of sexual abuse. Her book is :
"My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints".
(It will be available in April 2012 from Ave Maria Press.)
An Advent column by Dawn was recently published by CNA (Catholic New agency). It begins:

“As we enter the Advent season, when the Church invites us to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child, there are some who, even as they long to welcome Jesus, fear that He may not welcome them. They are those who go through life burdened with a sense of being stained—not by things they did, but by things that were done to them.

Their numbers are large enough to include someone on every pew, in every parish—an estimated 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men. They are adult victims of childhood sexual abuse, and, for most of them, their abuser was a relative or family friend—someone they risk seeing again if they choose to come home for the holidays.

Children who are sexually abused typically blame themselves—thinking they did something to provoke the abuse, or did not do enough to prevent it. But the truth is that we are not responsible for things that were done to us at an age when, vulnerable and trusting, we could easily be subjected to the will of adults or peers. If you feel unworthy of Advent joy because of what was done to you as a child, I invite you to seek out a little-known benefit of a well-known sacrament. “

Read her entire essay  click here

May your Advent journey be one of anticipation and healing.

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