The Premise
Many instances exist in our society where children are hurt because of the lack of parental protection or control. Often, it seems obvious to us, as rape victims and sexual abuse survivors, that with more parental involvement that those tragic events may have been avoided completely. We may ask, "Why didn't my parent or guardian protect me?" The answer may lie in the fact that a pattern of abuse can follow from generation to generation, affecting our parent's actions. Furthermore, how does one stop the cycle?

My Personal Experience
“What’s going on here? Are you OK? Why are you out here by yourself?”

“I was throwing my paper route with my sister, but a man asked me to help him find his cat. And, oh my God, he got me!” My crying intensified for a moment. “Now he is going to try and get my sister. I have to warn her!”

“Where were your parents? Don’t they go out with you when you throw papers?”

I never liked going out alone on Sunday morning, but I never thought it was wrong of my parents to let us go by ourselves. I figured they would not let us do anything that could possibly harm us. They had to love us enough to protect us. Now it seemed this officer was questioning their judgment.

I sheepishly answered, “No, they are home asleep.” I was relieved to see we were stopping, which meant the probing questions would stop.

As soon as the police could, however, they asked my mom to explain. “Ma’am, can you tell us why Mary and Cindy were out throwing papers by themselves so early in the morning?”

My mom’s defenses shot up quickly. “Those two little boogers, they always left the house on their own, without waking us. I work hard and sleep soundly. I did not hear them go out. My husband and I told them before to get us up, but they never did. I never thought anything like this could happen."

My mom’s mind was racing. The thought of a man raping her child brought forward ugly memories from her past. She fought to hold back her tears. She would not permit herself to shed a single drop. Her paternal grandfather had always fondled her whenever he got the chance. As far as my mom knew, he also 'messed with' one of her two older sisters, but that sister was ornery and much braver than my mom had been. The sister was better at fending him off.

My mom had never told anyone about her encounters as a small child with her paternal grandfather, not even her parents or her husband. When shown pictures of him, she just commented, “I never liked going to his house.”

I found out the ugly truth when, as an adult, I confronted her about my rape and her lack of parental protection. She broke down, confiding in me that she, too, had experience with inappropriate sexual behavior. My mother relayed the story of her grandfather and his escapades. She said she was only about five or six when the first incident with him happened. I asked her why she did not tell her parents. Her answer: “I was too ashamed.” Her thinking directly influenced the rest of her actions on the day of my rape.

Too Ashamed
As shown in my own personal account, my mom had experience of inappropriate sexual behavior that was unbeknownst to me as a child. She never discussed it because she 'was ashamed.' But why would she be ashamed? She did nothing wrong. She, like me, was just a child when her ghastly experience occurred.

To feel ashamed, one must consider his or her self unworthy. The very definition of shame validates this, as Webster's dictionary uses the word 'degrade' to characterize the word. Therefore, to feel shame and guilt, one must feel inferior. However, where might you get the concept that you are either inferior or superior to someone else?

The Key
How many of you think that God lives in heaven? Do you think that heaven is outside of you? Consider the idea that the spirit of God is everywhere. If the spirit of God is everywhere, doesn't that include you and me?

Believing that God is outside of you can result in feelings of inferiority or superiority. Why? If you believe you are separate from the spirit, you are also allowing a belief that you can be separate from others. Considering the statement from a spiritual teacher named Charles Crooks, "We are all part of the whole and not separate" can offer a more beneficial way to look at our connection to the spirit, and to others. Only when you realize that you are part of the whole spirit of God, and therefore, part of others can you comprehend that you are not separate and therefore, inferiority is not possible.

Stop the Shame
Might this be a valid way to stop the cycle of abuse? Stop the shame and you can stop the cycle. If parents are not ashamed, it is more likely that they will take appropriate actions to protect their children. Furthermore, each parent that protects a child may be stopping one more cycle of abuse. Is this not worth a try?

Copyright Statement
This article was written by Cindy L. Herb and may be reproduced on any related website provided the text is not changed in any form and this copyright statement is displayed unedited in its entirety at the foot of the article and you use the exact same HTML code to ensure a clickable link back to the author's site. Further articles are also available. Contact the author for more information. Copyright 2010 Cindy L. Herb, All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Author's Bio: 

Cindy L. Herb, author of Awakening the Spirit: The Open Wide Like a Floozy Chronicles, specializes in Mind Body Spirit healing, with concentration on emotional healing for Rape Victims and Physical or Sexual Abuse Survivors. As an inspirational speaker, Cindy L. Herb offers others an alternative approach to healing from any trauma, allowing people to view life's tribulations as an opportunity for spiritual growth. To download your FREE report, Some Helpful Steps to Healing, please visit the author's website at