Mothers of Victims of Sexual Abuse: Carried by Grace with Deb L. Butterfield
Author of Carried by Grace, Deb Butterfield shares from her experience.

It could happen to anyone anywhere and often does. For mothers of victims of sexual abuse the pain is excruciating and often silent. Debra L. Butterfield understands because she’s been there.

What if you discover your daughter is the victim of sexual abuse? Do you feel all alone in this battle? Can life ever be the same again?

The Battle is Real

“I found out because my daughter was brave enough to come to me and tell me what was going on,” reports Deb. “But what I did was make the mistake of going to my husband on my own, rather than bringing my daughter with me or bringing a friend with me.”

It was easier for him to lie because he did not attempt to have sexual intercourse with her daughter. He explained away the uncomfortable, inappropriate things which her daughter reported. Deb accepted his lies at first because she wanted to believe the best. However, soon things became crystal clear.

“It came to a head when my daughter realized (within a few weeks) that nothing was changing. She put a knife to her chest and threatened to kill herself. At that point, I took her to the emergency room, and of course, one of the questions they asked had to deal with sexual abuse. Then, all of it basically blew up from there.”

In our interview, Deb tenderly shares many more things the mothers of victims of sexual abuse may experience. A warrior-hearted woman, Deb shares practical wisdom for creating normalcy in the crisis. For this podcast and many more, click here.

Now What?

How Christian friends respond to mothers of victims of sexual abuse is crucial. Yet we don’t always get any good training on what to say, even at church. If your worst nightmare comes true, how do you reach out for help?

“Basically, you do. You have to reach out for help. For me I know, I tried to keep it a secret for three long months” says Deb, “I just kept it all to myself. Finally I realized that I couldn’t do that anymore.” She found a trustworthy friend in her sister.

This Can’t Be Happening

“This can’t be happening. The day I drove to my husband’s arraignment the situation began to sink in. Seeing him in that felony orange jumpsuit mortified me. A waking nightmare had descended on our lives.” ~ Debra L. Butterfield, from her book, Carried by Grace, A guide for mothers of victims of sexual abuse, pg 21.

But, How Could This Happen?

Over twenty years ago, Deb thought life was finally going her way. After her first marriage ended in divorce, she married a Christian man. With two healthy kids and a new baby, all seemed well. A military veteran, she enjoyed being home with her kids. Her husband was a pillar in their church.  (For info on how domestic abuse can also sneak up in Christian families, click here.)

Mothers of sexual abuse are often strong, godly women who simply don’t suspect something this evil. 

“We just don’t expect it so we don’t see the warning signs at all,” Deb explains. 

Children and Christian Women are Especially Vulnerable

“Children are more easily controlled. As I look back on it I realize I saw things that he was doing all throughout our marriage as manipulation,” reports Deb. “But I see that in hindsight. As far as being blamed, that was one of the things the lawyers really hounded me on. It just seemed so impossible that the mother would not know. But you’re not around your child 24/7.”

For myself, one of my own prayers is that kids in Christian families will be wise, rather than naive. For instance, as Christian women, sexual abuse is the last thing we would even think of-the worst nightmare imaginable. Most of us would feel guilty for considering a spouse or relative might sexually abuse a child.

Protecting the Child

“A mother needs to protect her child for certain. Of course, my husband was immediately arrested,” Deb says. “But during that time frame I did everything to help my daughter heal. That’s what was important.”

Asking for help may feel like a further invasion of privacy for the child. The horror of finding out what has happened, plus the additional burden of keeping it private means mothers of victims of sexual abuse often do not get the help they need. 

For more about how to Help Mothers of Victims of Sexual Abuse, click here. 

May we pray together?

Dear good Father, our hearts can barely comprehend the full depravity of sexual abuse. We tremble in rage at the pain suffered by mothers of victims of sexual abuse. Our prayers find expression in groanings too deep for words. Have mercy, dear Lord! Teach what us we need to know for today. Clear our minds and emotions as we draw near to YOU. Refresh our broken hearts and mend us. Teach us the hard lessons of forgiveness, sacrifice, and justice. Give us boundaries and protect our tender children. Restore them, O Lord, because You love our kids even more than we do. So very much. Pour out Your love on them. Change our wounds to wisdom. We pray it in Jesus’s name. Amen.

We LOVE to hear from YOU!

How has God met you in a crisis? Which trustworthy friend did you turn to and why? What words comforted your heart?

Next Week

Next week, Deb is back ideas about how normal can look in a crisis. If your heart is broken over the sexual abuse of a beloved child, don’t miss what Deb has to say! Please share this with your friends!

Other Important Topics

God has blessed us with many experts since we started Fireside Talk Radio. Please look for wisdom from trustworthy people on these topics: Domestic ViolenceBullying in School, Suicide of a Child, Suicide of a Sibling, Breast Cancer, Sex After Breast CancerLife After Divorce, Single Parenting, Chronic Pain, Burn Out, Perfectionism, Easy Homeschooling Lesson Plans, and many others.

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

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