Friday, 24 November 2017

Documentary Humble Hope (sexual abuse of children)


 

 
 

Sexual abuse of children is endemic and serious. Present at the screening of Humble Hope were some of the victims who were interviewed for the documentary film. Some had family members who had lived with and supported the victims through their great suffering and were now present to accompany them along their journey. This documentary is important because it has brought together the various Christian denominations in acknowledging the enormity of the problem and the pain which this has caused its victims.  The Repentance ceremony brought tears to every viewing eye with its raw emotion. This ceremony was held on the  2015 National Day of Prayer and Fasting  in Parliament House in Canberra and  during the ceremony, leaders of various denominations including Catholic, Anglican, Salvation Army, and others  washed the feet of a former child victim of sexual abuse, now an adult, called Mark.  Mark, a victim who had been abused as a child whilst in religious institutional care.

This documentary utilizes the opinions of various experts, including psychologists, counsellors and social workers, authors, who deal with and who have experience with this phenomenon called sexual abuse of children. Each of the professionals bring their own understanding of the phenomenon, the damage that sexual abuse of children does, both to the child and later to the same child as an adult, and the possibilities of healing.

This documentary follows the lives of several victims as they tell their story of pain, shattered lives, self-harm, self-mutilation and life-sabotaging behaviours. The victims speak openly of the pain of not understanding why it happened to them. Why God allowed it to happen to them. Of being very lonely. Of hating themselves and their bodies, and of feeling they're not worth very much.

All expert speakers spoke of the need for healing and forgiveness, and indeed, the victims themselves had the understanding that forgiveness had to be worked into the healing process. Each of them had to work this healing in their own way. But always that it was a process.  Each had to find this healing in their own way and in their own time. Healing also had to have its own meaning for them.

This documentary is a must for all denominations and all churches. This can be a tool to help all people of good will to help tackle a most grotesque hidden enemy in our society.
Sexual abuse of children remains a last remaining taboo.  It has the potential to create a dissonance within the innermost being of  those we would call “normal” human beings, but because this is so it contributes to the hidden ness factor.

Humble Hope also introduces the topic of pornography and shows how pornography contributes to the violation of personal dignity, sexuality, the body.  It trivializes women, desensitises men and says that women and children are things.  Pornography is found in and deeply wounds what was once happy marriage and family and can be found proliferate.  Porn shows women and children as less than human whose social worth is zero and when there is porn, torture, and abuse can be seen as entertainment.

At the same time, any understanding of how sin works its deceitful evil is a help to us, and understanding how pornography works in the male mind is a powerful knowledge. Pornography and sexual abuse are sins which rob God of his glory in the gift of sex and sexuality. We have long known that sin takes hostages. We also know from studies in neuroscience that pornography hijacks the male brain.

Pornography always exploits women and children indeed any viewer and in this way is very insidious. Pornography sees the victims (child/girl/boy/woman/man/porn addict) as objects and so much dehumanised.
How does pornography dehumanise its victims? Human beings feel dehumanised when intimate parts of the body are used and abused. When intimacy is not held as sacred but used for the purpose of someone else’s voyeuristic pleasure.

When intimacy and intimate parts of another’s body is used for illegitimate purposes. When sexuality becomes a means of tying knots in the psyche of another human being. This leads to the utter helplessness of dehumanisation.

Both the victim and perpetrator become dehumanised, and with each new level of perversion attained a new and more explicit level must be found and so that the addiction is ensured. More and more dehumanisation becomes accepted as the norm.
Sexual abuse and pornography renders the victim disabled. This, by the destruction of the victim’s innocence and the deep wounding of the spirit, and most importantly with these assaults on innocence result in the deep and deliberate assault and wounding of the spirit and belief that God has abandoned them.
Humble Hope a documentary about pain but also a documentary filled with humble hope.   A documentary which clearly shows the resilience of the human spirit.  

Anne Lastman