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Dove's Nest Blog

Teens, Sex Trafficking, and What You Need to Know

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.

What about Sexual Violence by Adolescents? Three Items 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. 

Tragic Reminder: Lawsuit Calls Attention to Duty to Protect Children

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.

10 Social Media Safety Tips

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.

What About the Most Vulnerable?

By Anna Groff

In addition to protecting children, churches ought to be aware of the need for safety for all vulnerable persons, including—but not limited to—children and adults with disabilities and the elderly.

Many studies point to the unfortunate truth that children with chronic medical conditions or disabilities are at increased risk for abuse and neglect.

10 Ways Your Church Can Prevent Child Abuse

By Carolyn Holderread Heggen

Here are ten ways that churches can prevent child abuse. This content is extracted from a chapter of Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches by Carolyn Holderread Heggen (1993). Holderread Heggen, PhD, is a psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery. Although she spent most of her clinical and academic career in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon, and is an active member of Albany Mennonite Church. 

1. Name the sin of abuse:
Unnamed abuse cannot be healed or stopped. Adequately named, we can begin to exert dominion over this evil. 

2. Dispel the notion that what happens in homes is private and no one else's business: Children need opportunities within the congregation to talk about fears or concerns they have.

Addressing a Known Potential Threat in Church

By Trudy Good

Safe Church policies and procedures should include two important efforts: 

First, Safe Church is about preventing abuse of children and vulnerable members. 

Second, Safe Church is about protecting children and vulnerable members when there is a known potential threat. 

A potential threat occurs when someone who has a known history of inappropriate or illegal sexual behavior is participating in the congregation or wants to participate in the congregation. 

Spare the Rod?

By Anna Groff

I am aware that some families and religious groups use the Bible to justify—even encourage—corporal punishment. 

In fact, according to the 2012 General Social Survey, 80 percent of born-again Christians say spanking is OK.

These individuals may refer to passages in Proverbs, such as “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them” (13:24) or “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away” (22:15).