There are two ways to cope with the reality of evil: You can bury your head in the sand and pray that it never reaches your door, or you can learn to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16) The first approach leaves you vulnerable and helpless; the second will make you uncomfortable and yet better prepared for when (not if) you are confronted by Satan.
There is a naive attitude that thinks sexual abuse only happens "out there" in non-Christian homes or in dangerous places rather than "in here" within the safety of our homes and churches, but that attitude does not align with reality. Truth is, research tells us that 1 in 3 girls will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18, as will 1 in every 6 boys (Ingraham et al., 2017). Those numbers are staggering yet may not even represent the actual reality as most experts agree that there is underreporting with boys.
The point of this post is not to offer grand sweeping solutions to the problems of evil and suffering; the purpose is to provide a raw look at reality from the eyes of a person who has been sexually abused.
In the following video you will hear the uncensored testimony of Kyle Stephens. If you are a sexual abuse victim the content will likely be triggering. Ms. Stephens recounts in detail the sexual abuse she endured as a child at the hands of Larry Nassar (the chief medical doctor for the USA Women's Gymnastics team and doctor at Michigan State University) and how that abuse changed her life. The testimony is raw, disturbing, and powerful.
There are three points viewers need to keep in mind:
First, this is what sexual abuse looks like and how if affects people. Ms Stephen's testimony is disturbing and needfully so.
Second, the effects of secondary trauma (as illustrated in Kyle's testimony) are nearly as bad as primary trauma (and some victims would argue even worse). Sexual abuse is therefore more like a process than a single event.
Third, the effort it takes for victims to relive their pain in the pursuit of justice on their behalf or that of others is nothing short of heroic.
Should sexual predators be forgiven by their victims? If they repent, yes. God is willing to forgive all sin and to cleanse from unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9) if we will but confess and repent, and He expects us to do the same (Luke 17:3-4). Does that mean the past crimes of sexual predators should be forgotten and all consequences removed? Never.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.