The last few days have been all abuzz with a post from Mrs. Hall, a concerned mother upset about what her young teen boys were viewing on social media. Her approach is zero tolerance and censorship of any half-dressed girls.
Good for you. Your house, your children, your rules.
Then another mother, Mrs. Woolsey chimes in with a rebuttal, chastising the harsh penalty and making mention of the hypocritical semi-nude pictures of the Hall boys in the same post.
Good for you. You’re standing up for the young girls and encouraging second chances and grace.
I have a slightly different issue, but first let me say this; Mrs. Hall should be applauded for instilling communication and interaction between herself and her kids. Fostering an atmosphere of openness is key in addressing issues and she is clearly determined to do her job as a parent and protect her kids.
As for Mrs. Woolsey, she too loves her children but believes we need to pour grace on the young girls and is ready to offer forgiveness. She doesn’t say whether or not she would encourage or demand her young boys to ‘unfriend’ a young girl who continually posts inappropriate photos, but I do get the impression that common sense would come into play and that she would protect her sons as well.
But, as I read both of these opinions, I started to cry.
What about the hearts of these girls? The ones who pose and post sexually provocative photos on social media . . . who will address the big elephant in the room?
Ten years ago we blamed Britney Spears for leading our young girls down the sleazy fashion path, encouraging tweens to dress way beyond their years. Then it was toddler beauty pageants and Honey Boo-boo who was targeted for encouraging the sexualizing of children. Just last week, Miley Cyrus’s behavior had parents jumping up to cover the eyes of both their sons and their daughters. Yes, Hollywood does impact and influence our kids, but I don’t believe we can just blame T.V. and shut it off. (Although we did years ago and I highly recommend it).
So, what was it then that had me in tears this morning? I cried for the girls who Mrs. Hall accused of lacking modesty. Yes, to be sure, some girls are absolutely modeling pop culture examples, but a lot of these young girls are just acting out what they’ve lived.
Their selfies that are meant to capture attention and get ‘likes’ usually have their eyes looking right into the camera. Their eyes haunt me. I see myself as a teen:
Notice me, like me, use me . . . but ultimately rescue me. I will let you do whatever you want and give you whatever you demand as long as it will result in you ‘loving’ me for even just one more day. I know that you will probably leave—they all do, but for now, come see me. Something inside of me grows with each hungry look. Every rude, vulgar comment that I pretend to be disgusted with actually just validates and feeds the beast within. The lie that was planted in my heart so many years ago . . . the first time he touched me . . .
That I am worthless.
A throw away.
I want to be different, to stop feeling this way, but I am addicted and harassed to no end by these crazy, inexplicable desires. I crave this attention. I need to somehow heal the hurt that happened to me as a child. But this drug of touch that I hope will result in finding someone to protect me for life, only perpetuates my brokenness. On one hand my sexuality empowers me but at the same time I am a slave to it. It was awakened far too early and I don’t know how to put it to rest.
Birthed with the loss of my innocence, this cycle of dysfunction is spiraling out of control. Now by my own ‘choice’. But did I ever really have a choice?
Don’t judge me because I am a ‘floozy’ or a ‘hooch’ . . . or the other hurtful names you call me. I don’t show any discretion or dignity because I was robbed of it before I could understand it was mine to defend and to cherish.
Find me. Love me. Help me. Kill this beast within.
Until I find true healing, I will continue on this self-depreciating and destructive path . . . .
Studies show that somewhere between twenty-five to fifty percent of women have been sexually abused in their childhood. And those numbers reflect only those who report it. Many don’t.[i] My abuse started at such a young age, my first childhood recollection was one of shame. It continued for over a decade. Once the darkness was brought into the light, the abuse stopped but the damage and resulting behaviors and beliefs continued. Such was life in the seventies. Shhhhh. Don’t tell. Move on.
It wasn’t until adulthood that I finally got the proper counseling I needed and the beast of abuse was slayed.
So you see mothers, do stay involved in your children’s lives and shield them while you can, but please, please don’t put up walls of protection so high that you can’t see the hurting young children on the other side. Look beyond the skimpy outfits and behaviors of some of these half-dressed girls and instead of shunning them, love them. Accept them. Pray for them. Give them a chance to know a warm, loving healthy woman who can model the virtues they so lack.
And for those of you who like me were hurt and the beast still lurks within, I encourage you to check out Healing Hearts, an amazing online or small group study that will help you to find truth and healing. For teen girls there is a brand new study as well, First Love.
Check it out and reach out. It’s all well and good to protect our own children, but we can’t forget about the others out there who need us too.