|The Troubling Effect of Intra-Familial Molestation towards the Child Victim|
Children are the most precious gifts for parents. It says in Psalm 127:3 that “children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him” (NLT). For many families, it is a blessing to have a lot of children at home since they symbolize the cohesive and strong relationship of every member. They bring happiness and joy for the entire family.
Accordingly, children view adult family members as their model – someone who provides protection, care, and love for themchildren view adult family members as their model – someone who provides protection, care, and love for them
When children are molested by adult family members or older teen relatives, the effects can be devastating. Not only is the child’s life shattered, the once good relationship of the entire family comes tumbling down. Although all forms of child molestation involve a victim and a molester, the case of intra-familial molestation is highly sensitive and disturbing. Not only does it concern the welfare of the family and the child victim, it’s a huge blow to morality and human ethics. It is also distressing when these cases arise within the Christian church, which is supposed to be a standard for moral living.
It is very hard to imagine how a family member, for instance, a sibling, uncle, cousin or even a father gives in to his sexual perversion and harms, not only a blood relative, but a child. This kind of behavior can even be labeled as something that’s mentally disturbed. Sometimes, there is a deep history of sexual addiction and sin, often relating to pornography. There is a journey that one takes, so to speak, into darkness. They aren’t born as molesters. It’s important to remember that there is a spiritual battle going on in the hearts of everyone struggling with sexual temptations, especially those tempted to molest young family members. If you or someone you know is clearly on the road to harming any child in this way, get help immediately.
For a child victim, recovery takes a lifetime. For people who were molested by total strangers, it may be easier to move on with life since there’s no previous relationship or feelings attached. If a child is victimized by an acquaintance molester, the pain is greater, but the victim can live the rest of their life without interacting or hearing about their abuser. For victims of intra-familial molestation, the case is very different. Since the molester is someone who’s close and related, the pain and fear are inescapable. In fact, it can take months or years for child victims to even admit that they’ve been molested, much less heal from it since it causes even deeper trauma than other sexual abuse. [
And even after revealing the abuse, the agony does not stop. The child starts to anguish over the grim experience and even reaches a point of blaming and cursing herself as if she deserved it. What’s most frightening is when the child victim decides to hide everything just to ensure that the family will not be broken, or when the family does not believe the child because of the supposedly good character of the one abusing him/her.
Additionally, any kind of molestation makes a permanent wound on its victim. Unfortunately, some may even incur behavioral and emotional disorders as they grow older that makes them react in a rather violent and aggressive manner towards other people. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that, when it happens with a Christian family, the child’s faith is all but destroyed.
As a parent, you don’t want your child to live a dark life after suffering intra-familial molestation. Always bear in mind that the way you handle, accept, and react to the problem is very important on how your child copes up with it. It is you who has to play the major role in rehabilitating the shattered young life of your child. At the same time, only God Himself can truly heal a broken heart. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Learn how to trust Him for healing in your child’s life, even if it doesn’t seem like it will ever come.
[i] Courtois, Christine A. Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy. New York. Norton. 1988. P.208. ISBN 0-393-31356-5