You’ve heard about the Me Too movement. Now there is the Church Too movement. Understanding that sexual abuse is an institutional issue on both an individual and societal level is gravely important.
What can be done to make churches safe for the most vulnerable? Kimberly Perry, author of Say No and Tell, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to educate others about how to protect children from institutional sexual abuse.
Stopping Institution Sexual Abuse
This traumatizing and distressing issue must be addressed for the safety of the most vulnerable in our society, our children.
Kimberly Perry shares her experiences advocating for transparency to protect children from sexual abuse:
We must really implement training into the very DNA and fabric of our church. What are we doing to prevent and get in front of this to help the next generation?Kimberly Perry, author of Say No and Tell
How Teaching Personal Safety Combats Sexual Abuse
Realizing the need for empowering children with self-care skills and personal safety tools is critical for their safety and well-being.
Even though there is great discomfort in pain, by taking the time to learn about preventing child sexual abuse, it does not compare to the pain of finding out something has happened and it’s too late. Plus then there is the pain in years of recovering from the trauma that affects the child, the family, and the community. It takes a lot of bravery to get in front of the problem.The impact is great. The more we can make it safe for people to talk about, then we can also begin to move into the prevention phase.Kimberly Perry, author of Say No and Tell
Training Can Help Keep Children Safe From Sexual Abuse
We can train children in personal safety. Some of the training that Kimberly suggests that parents include in these discussions are:
- A scan to identify the vulnerable places within the environment, both structurally and environmentally.
- A code of conduct for interacting with children. This can be tailored for infants, toddlers, elementary age, teenager, high school age.
- A way to ensure everyone understands what the protocol is, regarding safety.
What Can Churches Do To Help?
Kimberly suggests that churches and other institutions implement policies that include posted signs that indicate what is acceptable and unacceptable in relation to boundaries and safety.
As churches accept the issue of institutional sexual abuse and take appropriate preventative measures, they are taking their initiative to advocate for the sexual safety of everyone, but especially children.
Giving Abuse A Name
Applying it to my own situation where I was in an abusive situation for seven years, I talked to people about it and kept talking about it. But I didn’t know at the time that it was abuse. I didn’t describe it that way because I didn’t have the words to say it at the time–I called it his anger problem when my ex-husband was arrested for domestic violence. Because of his arrest, I was finally able to get the clarity I needed.Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery
Giving language to experiences is empowering. Calling it abuse empowers our children, our youth, our families, and ultimately, our communities. The more we can have these conversations, and train and empower and bring it into the light, we can help ourselves and the next generation.
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Sexual Abuse
At BTR, we know how devastating and traumatizing sexual abuse of children and women can be. No one should have to endure the pain alone.
You can find healing. You can find peace. You can find yourself again. You don’t have to do it alone.