TEENS – The Truth about Sexual Assault

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Sexual assault is to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act or sexual contact by force or threat. This can even be the case of a person in any position of authority, who uses his or her authority to make sexual advances on a subordinate, such as a teacher on a student, a counselor on a patient, a correction officer on an inmate, a religious leader on a congregation member, and so on.

According to United States Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, there were overall 173,610 victims of rape or sexual assault, or 0.1% of the US population 12 or older in 2013.

The Bible condemns sexual of any kind, as well as incest. (Gen. 19:4-13; Lev. 18:6) Most of the sexual assaults that take place happen between the perpetrator (offender) and the victim. In two out of three rapes that take place, the victims know the person who attacked them. Males tend to report sexual assaults less than females, but of those that are reported, ten percent of the victims are males. Male victims tend to worry that others knowing will somehow make them less of a man or that people will think they are homosexual. This should not surprise Christians, as the apostle Paul foretold that in “the last days” many people be “lovers of themselves,” would be “unloving,” would be “without self-control, brutal,” and would be “treacherous,” “lovers of pleasure” and “without self-control.” (2 Tim. 3:1-3) These are the traits of people, who prey on others, taking advantage of them sexually. You must always remember that the victim of sexual assault is never at fault. The offender deserves to carry the full responsibility.

If you have never been sexually assaulted or if you have been sexually assaulted, you need to be prepared as to what you will do if someone (boyfriend or girlfriend, relative, teacher, counselor religious leader), tries to pressure you into sexual contact. If you run through your mind, the course of action that you will take under any situation, it is less likely that you will be a victim.

Paul said, “be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise … because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16) Max Anders writes, “The world in which we live is filled with dangers and deceptions. It is not always easy to live an enlightened life even when we want to. We can get tripped up or ambushed by events and people without even being aware of the danger. We must be very careful to live our life rooted in wisdom, using our time wisely. Not to do so would be foolish. The will of the Lord is that we live carefully, cautiously, always matching our lifestyle with the teachings of Scripture.”[1]

What would you do if someone touched you inappropriately? The most important thing is to know what circumstances would require you to leave immediately, just walk away, run if you have to, just remove yourself from any potential threat. The preventive measure is not to place yourself in any innocent appearing situations. Never be alone with anyone of the opposite sex or even the same sex for that matter. If a teacher asks you to stay after class to talk about something, have a friend stay with you. Alternatively, request that another person be present, as a teacher.

Grooming is establishing a predatory relationship: the developing of the trust of a young person or his or her family in order to engage in illegal sexual conduct. “Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain his or her trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking. Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know – for example, a family member, friend or professional.”[2] The predator looks for the weak, just like real animals in the wild. When a lion is trying to take down a young animal, it works itself into a position, an angle to get the young animal separated from the heard.

The teacher, relative, the counselor will do the same. He or she will start with simple communication, nothing more. After a while, the offender will include feel-good compliments. After some time, the offender will move into incidental touching in places that may not raise any red flags. Maybe he or she taps your should as they deliver a compliment. In time, he or she wants to be alone so they will look for reasons because they want you to confide in them privately. After they have become your trusted friend, they will exploit that by now maybe rubbing the back of your shoulder while offering comforting words. You can see the progression here. What you need to do is bring it to a halt at the beginning. The thing is, you need to be wise because teachers, counselors do need to communicate with you. Communication is fine; inappropriate compliments are not. And in no way is touching ever acceptable.

Six Stages of Grooming[3]

Stage 1: Targeting the victim

The offender targets a victim by sizing up the child’s vulnerability—emotional neediness, isolation and lower self-confidence. Children with less parental oversight are more desirable prey.

Stage 2: Gaining the victim’s trust

The sex offender gains trust by watching and gathering information about the child, getting to know his needs and how to fill them. In this regard, sex offenders mix effortlessly with responsible caretakers because they generate warm and calibrated attention. Only more awkward and overly personal attention, or a gooey intrusiveness, provokes the suspicion of parents. Otherwise, a more suave sex offender is better disciplined for how to push and poke, without revealing themselves. Think of the grooming sex offender on the prowl as akin to a spy—and just as stealth.

Young Christians DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS 40 day devotional (1)

Stage 3: Filling a need

Once the sex offender begins to fill the child’s needs, that adult may assume noticeably more importance in the child’s life and may become idealized. Gifts, extra attention, affection may distinguish one adult in particular and should raise concern and greater vigilance to be accountable for that adult

Stage 4: Isolating the child

The grooming sex offender uses the developing special relationship with the child to create situations in which they are alone together. This isolation further reinforces a special connection. Babysitting, tutoring, coaching and special trips all enable this isolation.

A special relationship can be even more reinforced when an offender cultivates a sense in the child that he is loved or appreciated in a way that others, not even parents, provide. Parents may unwittingly feed into this through their own appreciation for the unique relationship.

Stage 5: Sexualizing the relationship

At a stage of sufficient emotional dependence and trust, the offender progressively sexualizes the relationship. Desensitization occurs through talking, pictures, even creating situations (like going swimming) in which both offender and victim are naked. At that point, the adult exploits a child’s natural curiosity, using feelings of stimulation to advance the sexuality of the relationship.

When teaching a child, the grooming sex offender has the opportunity to shape the child’s sexual preferences and can manipulate what a child finds exciting and extend the relationship in this way. The child comes to see himself as a more sexual being and to define the relationship with the offender in more sexual and special terms.

Stage 6: Maintaining control

Once the sex abuse is occurring, offenders commonly use secrecy and blame to maintain the child’s continued participation and silence—particularly because the sexual activity may cause the child to withdraw from the relationship.

Children in these entangled relationships—and at this point they are entangled—confront threats to blame them, to end the relationship and to end the emotional and material needs they associate with the relationship, whether it be the dirt bikes the child gets to ride, the coaching one receives, special outings or other gifts. The child may feel that the loss of the relationship and the consequences of exposing it will humiliate and render them even more unwanted.

Study the Bible and Bible study tools like good commentary volumes because God’s Word is full of wisdom. Pray about these concerns and make your voice known to God. God expects you to act in behalf of your prayers, so be prepared to respond firmly to any unwanted attention, be prepared with exit strategies for getting away, and think of the persons you most trust to come get you at any time. Trust your family and religious leaders as well, they are there to protect you. Nevertheless, do no ever blindly trust anyone because predators come from all walks of life. Most importantly, have good friends that have the same moral values as yourself.

[1] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 171–172.

[2] Child grooming | NSPCC (July 23, 2017)

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/grooming/

[3] Child Sexual Abuse – 6 Stages of Grooming – Oprah.com (July 23, 2017)

http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/child-sexual-abuse-6-stages-of-grooming

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