Dove's Nest Blog
By Nancy Kauffmann
I appreciated the reflection on When Abusers Have Done a Lot of Good by Alan Stucky. He talks about the trap we can so easily fall into when the person who has abused is someone who has been known “to do so much good work.” No one wants to undo that good work, so we might choose to be silent. He ended with the following reminders:
By Alan Stucky
The thoughts in this article stem from Marissa Buck’s article on the website Our Stories Untold. Marissa’s sister Lauren wrote an article about her experience of an abusive relationship with Luke Hartman. Marissa's article mostly addresses Lindale Mennonite Church and their response. Reading Marissa’s article will help set the stage for what follows.
Children need love, and the church is a wonderful place to show that love. Adults can appropriately express this through physical touch, such as hugging, a pat on the back, an arm around the shoulder, or holding an infant or toddler.
Here are some guidelines for appropriate touch that your church might consider using in your child protection policy, nursery guidelines, or in a Sunday school discussion about abuse prevention:
Communication encompasses much more than church mailboxes these days. Many churches and youth groups now have e-mail Listservs and Facebook pages. Electronic communication—including but not limited to e-mail, social media, texting, and cell phone conversations—provides a unique challenge and opportunity for those working with children and youth.
By Brenda L. Yoder, LMHC
A couple of years ago, I talked with a former victim of sex trafficking at a faith-based conference. She briefly told me her story. She was raised in the church, was in a youth group, and was trafficked by her brother to his friends and others.
Trafficking isn’t something confined to the brothels or slums of southeast Asia. It’s commercial sex with a child, and it’s in high demand in the United States. Victims and consumers are in our neighborhoods. Rural. Urban. Suburban.
Dove’s Nest’s website, which provides numerous resources and curriculum sets regarding abuse, is a starting point as we consider educating youth about sexuality and safety. But what other tools are out there, particularly for high schoolers?
Here’s a wide-ranging list for churches to consider:
By Trudy Good
Dove’s Nest has heard from churches that are struggling with situations of abuse in which an adolescent is the offender. These situations are terribly painful and complicated, but not terribly uncommon. An estimated 23 percent of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of eighteen.
By Paul Schrag, editor of Mennonite World Review
“Children are the living letters we send into a time we will never see.”
This quote describes an adult’s sacred duty to care for a child. It is cited in Circle of Grace, a sexual-abuse prevention curriculum produced by the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb. In 2011 a donor provided funding for a copy of Circle of Grace for every Mennonite Church USA congregation.
By Brenda Yoder
Your children are the first generation with access to technology that opens doors of unlimited possibilities, but also unlimited dangers. Kids are vulnerable to online predators and harassing behavior from peers and adults. As parents, we have to be diligent about teaching social media safety. How can you keep your kids safe?
1. Don’t allow your children to put their phone numbers or address on a social media profile or “check in” at a location.
2. Teach your children to make wise choices over who “friends” or follows them in social media.