Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where do you stand?

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Recently I was reading some quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. and this one stuck out to me.  The silent culture that surrounds childhood sexual abuse is something that I have been thinking a lot about, and this quote really hit me.  I can't get over the part "the silence of our friends."

Take a minute to image if you were a child who had been or were being abused.  I am sure pain and guilt would fill your eyes.  I am sure that a part of you would feel ashamed and too embarrassed and scared to tell anyone what was happening to you.  But I am sure that there would be another part of you that would be screaming inside for someone to help you.

The sad thing is that instead of helping, many bystanders who suspect abuse will instead try to ignore it, sweep it under the rug, and hope that it will go away.  For the bystander, friend, or family member, maybe it will go away.  They will move on and never have to talk about it.  But for the victim, if they are left alone with it, it will never go away.  The pain, guilt, and the effects of the abuse will never go away unless someone has the courage to help them.

Just talking about childhood sexual abuse can be uncomfortable.  Confronting a friend or family member about it can be even harder.  But unless we have the courage to break the silence, the culture that surrounds childhood sexual abuse will never change, and your friend or family member may be left to deal with the pain alone.  I hope we can have the strength and courage to do what is right, even though it may be difficult.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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