|Molestation within Families|
Child sexual abuse is a prevalent issue in the United States and even within the Christian church. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18. This is an epidemic. Molestation is a kind of sexual abuse that comes in different forms. It involves consistent sexual contact with a victim that is usually an acquaintance. Other equally disturbing forms of child sex abuse are child pornography and prostitution.
Nonetheless, there’s one form that is especially revolting and shocking – it may even be called demonic by some. Intra-familial molestation is the act of sexually molesting a family member, and often refers to the abuse of child relatives. The offender could be a parent, grandparent, uncle, sibling or cousin. Sometimes, the offender is a minor himself. When a child is molested this way, it's important to protect the victim and seek justice.
Intra-familial molestation is difficult to understand, and it's suprisingly more common than one might think. Of all child molestation cases, acquaintence and intra-familial molestation are the most common. Only a small percentage are stranger abductions. This means that most child sex abuse occurs within the family or from a friend of the family.
For anyone who finds out that a family member has molested his/her child, the feeling is very traumatic and distressing. Common reactions include shock, rage, and blame. For most cases, denial is a natural response since no one likes to think about family members abusing their own children this way.
Dealing with this kind of issue in a family is very trying and difficult. There is no guarantee that family ties will be restored. As the parent of the child victim, you are torn between forgiving a family member or punishing a child molesteryou are torn between forgiving a family member or punishing a child molester
It's important to remember that although the abuse was done by a close family member, it does not erase criminal liability. In fact, many jurisdictions think intra-familial molestation should carry the greatest punishment among all forms of child abuse. If this happens to you, do not hesitate to call the police, because when a molester is tolerated, it's guaranteed that he or she will do it again. Many molesters have said during interviews that the only thing to stop them was getting caught by law enforcement.
It is also important to address the issue of when these abusers are caught and then confess and ask for forgiveness. This can be difficult, especially within the church. Jesus taught the importance of forgiveness, and certainly we should forgive. However, it is important to remember that molesting and sexually abusing children is a type of sexual sin. Like any addiction, once someone repents, there is still a battle against backsliding. There has to be accountability and justice to ensure the safety of all children that the abuser could come into contact with. It is also important to remember the damage this causes to a child's life and soul. Many victims become confused and fall into all kinds of sexual sin. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 "but if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea." (NLT) Jesus, as always, is very clear on how He feels about the matter.
With that being said, it must be stated that (in most cases) it is against the law to choose not to report child sex abuse. This means that if you are in a position where you learn of a child being sexually abused, and for whatever reason you choose not to report it, if later on the abuse comes to the surface and the offender is prosecuted, you could be held liable for negligence.