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In “Dirty Old Men and the Scars They Leave Behind,” my wife writes about a painful incident from her childhood.

I remember the day I skipped down the road, pigtails flying, to buy some candy from Mr. Piggy. Usually there was a gang of us bombarding his back door, spending the change we found under seat cushions or had left over from lunch money. But this day I was alone. As I held out the coins to pay for a Mary Jane and some Dum Dums, Mr. Piggy pulled me to himself, smashed my face into his, and not only took the change, but what he called a kiss. As if to offer a bit of hush money, he placed a couple extra pieces of candy into my hands and told me not to tell anyone. I took the candy, and I didn’t tell anyone. Until now.

Her punchline:

Abuse comes from all ages and genders, to all ages and genders. None of us are immune to the possibility. Many of us are living with its effects, either through personal experience or through the lives of family and friends who have suffered varying degrees and forms of abuse. If you have been a victim of abuse, it’s not too late to tell someone. It’s not too late to get help. It’s not too late for justice to be done, and God promises that justice will be done (Ps 10).

Read the entire post. I love you sweetheart.

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3 thoughts on “Beware Dirty Old Men”

  1. Andy says:

    A great post and blessings to your wife for coming forward. As a male who was abused by a few different men for several years growing up, and it’s probably difficult to put into words, but one of the things that I know is that God will forgive my abusers too, if He allows it. I think in our search for justice we often miss this and it is beyond sobering to think about for a victim. It doesn’t take away the pain, confusion or lessen any of the suffering we go through but it is something we need to balance our need for justice with God’s want of salvation with.

  2. Rachael Starke says:

    Thank you so much to both of you for telling your story. It, and your other post with the response it generated, have affected me deeply. I have my own story – somewhat similar to your wife’s, and almost every other woman in my family, including previous generations, have theirs – far, FAR worse ones. The sins that a man committed against his own daughters back in the early 1950s are being visited on the second and third generation of my family in a variety of sad ways, to this day.

    Would I be too far off in wondering if there aren’t at at least some parallels between the sins of sexual abuse and racism? Both are sins against our inherent humanness. Both can cause emotional scarring to such a degree that what is true (God can and does forgive the repentant racist, the repentant abuser, and free them from their enslavement) is impossible to receive, and even reflexively rejected. And those who have not themselves experienced this sin often default to pat answers or lack of compassion or grace.

    Given what the Internet is enabling in terms of sexual anarchy, and our society’s unwillingness to acknowledge the danger, it seems more important than ever that the church be the place where a right theology of the body is taught from the earliest possible age, and that the gospel is held up as as a real source of hope and freedom from sin and suffering. In my own family’s case, the further a woman was or still is from the gospel, the deeper and more devastating the wounds have been.

  3. We have read helpful advice for responding to abuse on this blog recently. Thank you for linking to this piece; many, many people will find it very helpful. We continue to pray for you and your family.

    Graham and Nicola

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Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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