Can you guess what it is? I suspect not. It is the sexual abuse of children. We hear the occasional story in the news of some unbelievably monstrous account of men gang-raping a 5 or 6 year old in India, killing one of them from the brutality, or about the suicide of a teenage girl who was sexually abused and videoed, and we think these are just horrible, isolated incidents, but they are not! The more digging I do into this nightmare of numbers, the more insane it becomes.
Globally, Journalist Resource web site estimates that 8% of boys and 20% of girls are sexually assaulted before the age of 19 years. Numbers are higher in Africa than most other continents, but they are also higher in America. As best I can calculate, there are roughly 2 billion children in the world under the age of 19. Statistically, 96,000 children are sexually abused every day; 4000 every hour; 67 every minute. That means a child molestation starts every second somewhere in the world.
But a little more research revealed that those numbers are woefully inadequate. They account for only the number of children who have been or are being molested. They do not account for the repeated molestation of children which occurs in a high percentage (75 - 80%) of victims.
On May 3rd, 2013, a man in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, was convicted of sexually abusing 3 girls over a period of many years – one of them more than 1000 times. A few days later, 3 young women who had been held captive and sexually assaulted for between 9 and 12 years were found in Cleveland.
|Cleveland's kidnapped girls Berry, DeJesus, and Knight prior to their abductions|
So the actual number of sexual molestations occurring every 18 years is not in the millions but in the billions, and probably in the tens of billions. My statistics show between 6 billion and 60 billion acts of sexual abuse in 18 years - one generation of childhood. It means that a child is not being abused every second, but a new child is being abused every second. There are actually anywhere from 11 to 110 abuses that begin every second; 667 - 66,700 per minute.
If a molestation lasts an average of between 3 and 10 minutes (I’m totally guessing here), then between 6,000 and 66,000 children are being sexually abused at any given moment, depending, also, on the average number of abuses per child. It’s enough to drive one mad if you dwell on it too long.
According to Wikipedia, the affects of sexual abuse on children include:
guilt and self-blame,
fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects, smells, places, doctor's visits, etc.),
post-traumatic stress disorder,
other mental illnesses including borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder,
propensity to re-victimization in adulthood,
physical injury to the child, among other problems.
By experience, I can verify many of those symptoms, some of which I have suffered from for 60 years even though my abuse was neither violent nor painful. I can also add childhood bed-wetting to that list.
For girls, most sexual abuse occurs between the ages of 9 and 15 years, but 10% of them are under the age of 5. For boys, most sexual assaults occur between the ages of 3 and 7 years. Most sexual assault victims are repeatedly abused for periods of 1 to 4 years. 17% involve incest. Most victims know their assaulter. I was sexually abused at 3 and 4 years of age by a relative.
|40,000 Child brides every day|
Can we do anything about this? Can we live with ourselves if we don’t? For those of us who know God, are we prepared to stand before Him on the great and terrible day without having done anything to stop this monstrous atrocity?
|FGM often done without anesthetic|
The good news is that there are things we can do that will cost us nothing in money and only 3 minutes a day of our time. Is that too much to ask?
We Christians have a unique audience with the Creator of the Universe through prayer. There are great men of God, like Andrew Murray and Watchman Nee who have stated that God has ordained to do His work on the earth with the prayers of His people. It's absurd to think that He wants this abuse to continue, but it does continue because of evil men and an apathetic church.
We must pray for the children!
There are many levels of prayer and many ways we can pray. I simply ask you to pray and allow God to lead you in whatever direction of prayer He desires.
Here are some ideas to get you started. This is my 3:15 PM (Prayer Model). Pray for 3 minutes, once a day, for 5 children.
Ask God to save one child who has never been abused from being molested – to literally stop an abuse that is about to happen, and to protect that child from any further attempts at abuse.
Ask God to deliver one child who is being abused at this very moment from its abuser.
Ask God to deliver one child from chronic sexual abuse like those mentioned above. To break her bonds whether they are physical, emotional, chemical or psychological, and give her the courage and opportunity to escape. Ask God to direct her steps to the help she need to fully recover.
Ask God to stop one little girl from becoming a child bride.
Ask God to save one little girl from the horror of female circumcision.
Ask God to deliver the men involved with these girls from the evil they commit and save them if at all possible. If that is not possible, then ask the Lord to raise up someone who will stop them from further abuse.
Thank the Lord for hearing your prayer.
If you have the faith replace 'one' with '100' or whatever number you are comfortable with.
These are just suggestions, of course, you can pray in whatever manner you like, but just pray. And, if the Holy Spirit prompts you to do something more tangible, then just do it.
The goal is to get as many people as possible praying, meditating, focusing, even talking about this issue, and I have no doubt that we can make an enormous impact against this moral genocide. We can also ask Jesus to stop all sexual abuse everywhere. Perhaps if enough of us agree…
Have faith to believe God will honour your prayers and do as you ask. This project is all about faith and commitment. Do not expect any rewards in this lifetime other than the privilege of prayer and the fellowship with Christ’s suffering. For you can be sure that He suffers with each abused child and is probably mystified that so few are praying for them.
Please pray and spread the word.
God bless you and keep you.