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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Bad One In The Batch

We brought back some blueberries from our trip away, got them right at the farm, big, juicy and tasty!

As I was sorting and preparing them for freezing I thought of an analogy of sorts. At first glance the upper picture of the berries makes your taste buds tingle and you want to pop a handful of these juicy berries right into your mouth. A tray of delightful goodness!

But upon closer inspection….. there are some bad berries in the batch.

It is the same with any fruit or vegetable, it all looks great until closer inspection.

I knew there would be some “iffy” ones because these are the ones from our cooler where we poured some of the flats onto each other and they sat that way for 2 days. Some got squished.

I contemplated the effects that one bad blueberry could have too the whole batch. It only takes one rotten one to spoil the whole batch in a very short time. If you look at the picture of the couple of icky ones, I bet you cannot even see that I removed eight spoiled ones from this very area. Probably for every full tray there were 20-30 ones that were soft, gooey or rotten.

I have been so delighted that the Sound of Freedom movie is surpassing what the movie makers intended at the box office. The point of the movie is to send a message to the world, to the producers, the makers, the kidnappers, the sexual predators, the buyers – okay let’s stop being polite: the rapists, the torturers, the pedophiles of the world that this is NOT okay behavior, ever.

The movie has made a strong statement and it has raised awareness and I have had people send me other organizations that are out there rescuing children – that is absolutely huge and necessary! We have to take a stand and take our children back.

Unfortunately, I have heard some comments expecting that the movie will stop child trafficking and sexual predators. It Will Not! It is a message to them that we are aware of them and to let them know we are coming after them. But it is up to you and me…..

It is not just the children and teens that got stolen, or kidnapped – it is also the children who live with abuse every day. The ones we send to school, to a club, to a sports game, the ones who get abused and go home or get abused at home. The ones who the rotten blueberries in the crowd are grooming, hurting, abusing. You see in every batch, there are some bad ones no matter where you are.

What do I mean? In every people group there are good people and bad people. I mean in every group we have rescuers and abusers, we have advocates and kiddie porn purchasers. If this is one of the biggest industries in the world today, where every year over 2 million children are used for someone else’s pleasure, we have a lot of bad fruit in the bunch.

It could be at school, it could be at home – someone you know, a neighbor, a coach, a group leader, a babysitter, police officer, and it could be at church. There is no place that we can say with 100% certainty that our children are totally safe.

What do we do? We learn the language, the signs of what to look for, we involve ourselves in our children’s lives, in our grandchildren’s lives. We talk to them, we ask questions. We meet the parents of the children our kids are playing with, the teachers who teach, the coaches who coach, we do our due diligence on behalf of our children.

What do we do when a child shares something with us that they say happened to them. BELIEVE THEM!

This is the other saddest statistic – children do say or show signs of abuse in different ways, but it comes out. They usually have been threatened to not tell and they are scared, sometimes you will see it in their fear and not so much their words.

We have been talking and talking about the safety of our children but I wonder sometimes what good it has done if we are not listening………

1) I know people, good people, kind people who have dismissed the words of a child, saying that they have been touched, or handled uncomfortably. The kids have bravely come forward and are not being listened to. I am not talking about one child, I wish I could say it is only a couple but sadly I know more than I should. The parents dismissed it, I know social workers who dismissed it, teachers who dismissed it – “no, it could never be, I know that person…” OR worse, “that child is lying”. NEVER DISMISS A CHILD – listen and then assume the children to be the truth tellers until such time as you find out the honest to goodness truth. Always back the child – they are the ones with no control over their situation.

Think about it – if we have that many children being used in various way to fund this ginormous disgusting business – we have that equally that many people who purchase videos, movies, and actual children to get their jollies from and unfortunately, the main purchasers are from N. America. That fact in itself should tell you how widespread this filth is. IT IS HUGE.

So yes we have to save the children but then what????

We need the perpetrators to be caught and punished, we need laws changed, we need politicians lobbied, called, written to, we need the justice departments to be contacted, we need to make some noise. From the abductors to the abusers to the watchers! Ever wonder why Jeffrey Epstein’s book of names never made the light of day? Because people in power, people with money, the same ones who probably had a hand in buying and selling children, stopped it. THIS IS ABUSE. The justice system has been bought.

Back to the blueberries:

When we rescue children from this torturous life what happens? We cannot expect the children to go back to mom and dad and live happily ever after. We cannot stop a child from being abused at home by whomever and say, it’s okay, just be normal now.

NORMAL will never come back. These victims have had their souls ripped out of them, they have been beaten physically and emotionally. They have had to learn survival methods to survive that you and I can never fully understand, unless it happened to us. If a child has been involved in the system for any length of time, it becomes “normal”, it is what they know. We end up with children who do not know how to be children.

Children who need extra care and attention, who will not respond the way we think, who may be promiscuous, who seek out attention, who crave physical touch – possibly in inappropriate ways, because it is what they were taught.

We get these children into classrooms and they are the blueberry that looks bad, they are the ones that could spoil a batch. What do we do – toss them out again? Ignore them? Keep perpetuating the hurt?

My brain explodes with the fact that we have all these damaged and scared children coming out of this trafficking rings or even at home, and we have not addressed how can we help them. Are there places that are helping them with counselling, with their trauma, with their fear?

This is the “what now” question after the movie. The digging, looking finding, donating, volunteering and helping the children, teens and adults who have been rescued and been delivered from their torture.

The movie was simply the beginning of the story because the long and hardest journey begins when the child gets rescued. They have no idea what to do with their fear, lack of trust, trauma, physical and mental wounds and unfortunately their parents probably do not know what to do either.

The underground railroad that Jim Ballard the man after whom the Sound of Freedom movie is based, they have programs, facilities for these broken kids. But we need more and we need to support greatly the ones we know of. In Canada please support: The Joy Smith Foundation or Hope Restored Canada, Bridgenorth in Ontario.

Prevention and information is the key to keeping our children safe, online, in our schools, in our homes. Make yourself aware of how this industry got to be so big. Make yourself aware of what is being watched in your home by everyone. This is a “what now” thing.

Find out what the laws are for predators, let me tell you in Canda, we need some changes. You get more jail time for money fraud than for child abuse. Why?

Immerse yourself in the things that you personally can do!

“But I cannot get to involved, I won’t be able to sleep at night” GOOD! Sorry if that seems mean, but the kids being abused are not sleeping at night, now or maybe for the next how many years with nightmares. They are begging God to send people to help them, will it be you?

When I started ladies ministries over 30 years ago the stats were approximately 1 in 6 women had been sexually abused as a child. This is not even in trafficking rings, this is from someone close to home. The stats of males was not even talked about, it is now.

Sexual Assault Statistics and these are low numbers as not all are reported: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys all abused by the time they are eighteen in Canada.

It is happening, it continues to grow, it is an evil pouring itself out over our world. These things happened to children, to our children or perhaps to you.

I can say with certainty that I usually am the odd blueberry for “not” having experienced some kind of sexual abuse as a child. This should not be!

Family secrets – “Oh that was just uncle being unappropriated after a beer or two…. he did not mean anything….” Let us be honest: NO that was uncle being a predator. No, it was dad, grandpa, auntie, teacher, coach, pastor, teacher all being predators, abusers – anytime an adult takes power and control over a child in a harmful way – it is abuse. Always has been.

Jesus says: “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6 Jesus is not mincing words here, He abhors child abuse. Children are his favorite.

I once experienced firsthand the terror of adults thrust back into their childhood memories at the sound of a child being slapped. A group of about 5 sat there too wrapped up in their own memories to move. The terror they felt was real, the helplessness they felt was real. They were fully adult but at that moment they were little kids being hurt, they had never healed. I could not believe that no one was moving to help this child, I jumped up and onto a kitchen table, jumped over adult heads to the floor and ran into another room to pull an adult off a child that was being used as a punching bag. I had no idea if that person would swing at me or what would happen. They were bigger than me, I didn't care. I placed myself directly in front of the child and I told the abuser in no uncertain terms that if they wanted to touch that child again, they would have to go through me. He didn’t and the session ended. I was horrified. The child was traumatized and the adults were sheepish that they could not move, they had no idea they had been “triggered”. Triggering is when you get a flashback memory that takes you emotionally back to the cause of your pain and even though it happened 20 years ago or so, you react just like you did when you were that age, the age of a child. It is real today as it was yesterday. Like soldiers after a war – flashbacks. They, like the children and teens who get rescued, need counselling. Without it the damage continues.

Counselling and God are the healing balms for our souls. These are the ways to get past triggers, to heal wounds and trauma and usually it will take a good amount of time, patience and love.

Blueberries: One bad one has the potential to spoil or harm the whole batch.

Children – listen to them! Do not doubt them to their face, even if you are skeptical. Assure them you will look into it and give them hope that you will care enough to do something about it. Be the person a child can trust! Be the person investing into children’s lives especially if they have been traumatized by adults. Stand for and with children!

A bad blueberry can be a catalyst for change – good and bad. Which are you?

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