Many years ago I was told the story of how in a juvenile correctional centre the officer would ask one of the boys to clean out the concrete courtyard. He would give the boy a heavy broom and turn on the water to flood the yard. He was always interested to see whether the boy would turn off the tap before he began to clean up the yard.
The disturbing figures of child abuse (some 32,000 reported cases each year) in Australia have caused our Police forces to try and seek a joint solution that works across the whole of our country. This is a good and important step however, we do well to remember that this is not the responsibility of our police force alone. The African proverb “it takes a whole village to raise a child” is especially relevant. Unless action is taken by us all in the community there will be no real gains. The tap will still be running and we, like the boy, will never stop trying to clean up the mess.
Sexual abuse of children is surely part of a larger problem where we misunderstand and abuse the sexual gift given to us by God. There is no doubt that God’s intention of making us male and female was good. With the gift He also gave us instructions that would enable us to channel our sexual feelings in ways that would build each other up and not hurt or destroy.
Once these instructions are violated the gift becomes an obsession and like a destroying flood damages and destroys many people. The Makers instruction reads “to be used by a man and a woman, who are married to one another, considerately.”
In flouting these instructions we have opened the floodgates to an obsessive reliance upon sex to provide intimacy and happiness. In doing so the law of diminishing returns sets in and dissatisfaction quickly leads to more and more degradation and unhappiness and hurt.
Child sexual abuse will only be halted if we are wise and humble enough as a nation to help one another by turning off the tap. It will take a massive effort to reinstate safe standards of censorship on movies, television and even books that titillate us with sex. Most importantly the internet porn deluge will have to be halted. Perhaps our immaturity and failure to understand consequences is best seen by the adverts for “adult shops.” How adult is it to give such unwholesome examples to our youth of feeding lust which will inevitably break out in the destruction of trusting relationships. So Paul’s advice is salutatory “in regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” It takes the whole village to make sure that we adults are worthy of raising the children.
Fundamental to adult thinking is to tackle an issues as important as this one at its source. The symptoms are awful for all concerned. The police cannot do it by themselves. A return to God and His ways would give us a fighting chance.