Tag: abuse

Accusations

I was a youth leader for a number of years – junior high and senior high. We would have an outing and kids needed to get home. Parents weren’t always available and guess who got to drive the kids home? My advisors (and anyone in the field) said “Never take a girl home last. It doesn’t look good and it would only take one girl to make an accusation.” I agreed and tried to avoid ever being alone with a girl but I also asked the question, “In these times does it matter if I’m alone with a girl OR a boy?”  Bottom line is: If someone makes an accusation I am finished. I will never recover and no one will ever trust me again.

We are experiencing an onslaught of accusations like we have never seen before. If they are true accusations, the accused need to fall. It is good that women are finally feeling emboldened to speak out when treated wrong. No one should need to live under threats or improper behavior.

A couple of caveats:

1) We live in a society where we are innocent until proven guilty. We need to add another line to this statement “unless it is of a sexual nature and cannot be proven”.  I don’t have any answers to this dilemma. Sexual abuse typically happens in private where there are no witnesses. How does one “prove” they are abused?

2) Time limit. I was a youth leader in the 1980’s – thirty-some years ago. Is it fair for someone to make an accusation thirty years later? If they were hurt, yes. I would want justice. But again how can this be proven? Should there be a time limit on these?

3) It “appears” and I say “appears” with all caution that accusations sometimes come out once the accused becomes famous, wealthy, or successful.  Is it coincidence or does it “appear” that way?

4) Trial by media can be added to #3. Is it fair to publish that someone is “accused” when it has not been investigated, proven, or even questioned?

Last comments: I have a wife, two daughters and four granddaughters. If anyone hurt any of them or made unwarranted advances on them I would want to take action. You can define “take action” any way you want. If a man touched them I’d be furious. I would also be furious if someone made a false accusation against me.

Like it or not, this is a legal dilemma that we are facing. How can we save “innocence” on either side when “guilt” cannot be proven?

Job 31:34-36

34 because I so feared the crowd
    and so dreaded the contempt of the clans
    that I kept silent and would not go outside—

35 “Oh, that I had someone to hear me!
    I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;
    let my accuser put his indictment in writing.

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Your Scars are Beautiful

Once again, I have really, REALLY struggled over whether to re-post this.  This is not casual reading.  It is not easy to face.  Am I encouraging Jocelyn in her issues by re-posting her writings?  I hope not.  Am I trying to bring people to see the pain that some people live with?  Yes.  I see and hear a young lady crying out for healing, for life, for salvation, for hope.  I see a person who loved Isaiah and couldn’t save him from his own demons.  What do we do with this?  How do we as Christians respond?  How do we as a society respond?

“I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.
 

“Your scars are beautiful”

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“Your scars are beautiful”
Do not tell me my scars are beautiful
I did not do this to myself to look beautiful
To appeal to some fucked up
perception of what beauty is
What scars are
What scars represent
Was I beautiful when I was biting my lip
pressing scalding metal to my flesh?
Was it attractive when my mom laid me down on the floor
blood pumping from my arm
the day I went too deep?
Would you tell me I’m beautiful if I didn’t have scars?
Would you have looked twice at me
without the crisscrossing white lines
and the purple blotches?
Wouldn’t it be sad
if the most beautiful thing about me
is the hate that I carry on my body?

“Scars are tattoos with better stories”
Better stories?
Better for who?
Nobody looks at my arms and sees
a good story
A good time
A good memory
Looking at myself
I read the stories
Stories of chaos
Stories of pain
Some marks I remember making so clearly
Others are a mystery
Some of the lines spell out thoughts
Short blurbs of my conscience
“Dad”
on my calf
next to
“Goodnight”
“Whore”
across my chest
“Die” or “Death”
many times
“Fat”
on my stomach
“Get out”
on my right thigh
“23”
on my left
“Rape”
on my arm
and ironically
the biggest
“I know better”
on my leg
Looking at my tattoos
I see the stories there too
Stories of hope
Remembrance
Influence
So tell me
How are scars better stories?
Are they preferable?
Desired?
I’d rather hand over some cash
for an inked man to press needles to my skin
Than give up my life
to take a razor to the same skin

“Never be ashamed of your scars”
Am I to be proud?
If I had harmed anyone else
the way I harmed myself
would you tell me
not to feel remorse?
Why wouldn’t I be ashamed?
I am living on the border
of a society that glorifies my behavior
and a society that condemns it
But neither
will ever understand

“Maybe you should cover your arms; kids will be there.”
“Are you emo or something?”
“Cookie cutter.”
“Why haven’t you just killed yourself?”
“You’re cute. Messed up skin kinda doesn’t help you though.”
“What are you going to tell your kids?”
“Ew.”
“Why are we on a team with the emo girl?”
“Stop trying to get everyone’s attention.”
“Why are your sleeves rolled up?”
“I wasn’t going to tell you, but that looks really ugly.”
“You’re wearing a jacket to homecoming, right?”
And today in a coffee shop:
“Have some self-respect.”