Monday, January 28, 2019

We Don't Have to Do This Alone (Community Responses to Sexual Abuse)

CW: childhood sexual abuse and related topics

On January 27, 2019, I took part in a panel presentation and discussion on the subject of addressing childhood sexual abuse and pedophilia in our communities. The panel included researchers, mental health providers, pastors, and community activists. I gave the concluding remarks, which appear here in a lightly edited form. 


Pedophilia and child sexual abuse are topics that we are not used to discussing at all, let alone in public, which is why included multiple voices here today. We need all these perspectives: researchers, practitioners, pastors, parents, survivors, artists, and more. For myself, I’ve also dealt with this issue on multiple levels. I experienced sexual abuse as a child; I’ve worked with both perpetrators and victims while providing pastoral care and community programming; I’ve been a foster parent to children who experienced sexual abuse; I’ve been an artist who channeled anger, grief, healing, and hope into music and writing.