Kathy O’Connell, Founder *
I have found healing for my own wounded childhood by watching my children and grandchildren grow up.
From the very beginning of my becoming a mother, I knew keeping my children safe was my first priority. Not that I was overly protective, yet I was cautious about whom they spent time with and where they were. I spoke to them at a young age regarding the dignity of their bodies, and I was careful to be sure they could be watchful about appropriate and inappropriate actions and touches. Being a mother and being able to protect them were among the most important gifts I feel that motherhood has given to me.
What mattered was that my children would not have to endure any pain that I had experienced as an abused child. Watching them grow, watching them become mature and able to protect themselves, it all brought peace to my own heart. I knew that, unlike myself who was unable to protect myself, my kids would find it easier to protect themselves from sexual abuse because they had my permission to listen to their instincts and because they knew I would listen to them if they ever felt the need for help.
To know my children were empowered in this way brought healing to my wounded soul. I did not kid myself. I knew and know that not everyone can escape abuse no matter how watchful or careful we may be, but I also knew that my children knew the signs of grooming and would not hesitate to question an abuser’s unwelcome advances even if he was a well-known or powerful person in our lives.
With time, of course, my children became adults and parents of their own children. I still felt the need to protect them as adults, and to protect my grandchildren. However, as I watch my children raise their little ones, I am relieved and confident that they, too, are aware of abuse and are able to share with the next generation the right and the wrong ways of being touched. These are very small lessons in the grand scheme of parenting, yet they are remarkably important in our world today.
In knowing my children and grandchildren are empowered and informed, I find a great peace of mind–and healing to the child I was, the hurt child within me still.
And, I continue to pray that sexual abuse never harms my children and grandchildren. Actually, I pray that such abuse never harms any child ever again, but unfortunately I realize abusers still exist in our world. My prayer, then, too, is that you ensure children and grandchildren in your life are safer by informing and empowering them.