Okay. I grew up in the 80's where nothing bad ever happened, right? It was all My Little Pony and Care Bears....Or not.
When I was in kindergarten/1st grade, a little boy was taken from the front of our local YMCA. He was found much later. Mutilated and with signs of sexual abuse. His older sister was in my first grade class.
About three years later, some nasty man exposed himself to me in the children's book section of Big Lots.
Jump forward 15 years. My son is beautiful. Like, I was afraid to have girls after him, because it seemed unfair. But I still cannot wipe the media surrounding that little boy from my memory...and my paranoia was huge and only gets bigger as I am forced to let my son have his independence....the world is never as safe as we think it is. I pray for him and make as many protective efforts around him as possible.
Then, a little over a year ago, one of my favorite bloggers revealed that her son was sexually abused in her church (Breaking the Silence). It knocked the breath from me. My soul was scorched with pain for her and her son.
One guess how that affected my pre-standing paranoia? Yeah. Only underscored it. And it took the confidenced that church was untouched by the ugliness of the world. I was terrified to learn that 1 in 4 children will be sexually abused.
Why am I telling you all this awful stuff? Because children with developmental disabilites are even more at risk than the general population. 90% of people with developmental disabilities will be victim to sexual abuse in their lifetime. 50% will be subjected to it 10 or more times.
A Facebook friend is waiting for justice for her daughter, who was sexually assaulted as an adult. She has Downs. She is not a nameless statistic to me.
Please, PLEASE pray for your children. (ALL of them, typical and non!!) Be alert. Make whatever safety precautions you can. Educate them so they can protect themselves. Watch for signals something has happened so you can fight for your loved one. And if the awful should happen...FIGHT. Fight for justice. Fight for healing.
(and outgrowing ministry and education)