• Leah Burgess

Letters From a Victim Advocate (part 2)


A letter to my children. If helpful please use some of the language I have to talk to your own children about sexual violence, good touch/bad touch/secret touch, or consent. Our children deserve the tools of empowerment that many of us did not receive! Rise!

My loves,

One of my greatest joys has been to see the persons that were safely secured in my womb in my arms, jumping puddles, and looking for me or daddy after a bad day, a scraped knee or noticing a wiggly tooth. Your eyes have seen beautiful rainbows, sunrises as we gather around to have family worship before school, and you've also seen what a healthy relationship looks like between consenting adults. And yet there are some things I need to share with you that break my heart and may inadvertently disrupt your ideal view of the world around you.

There are people who look for opportunities to hurt other people. There are adults (young, old, all races, nationalities, all different body types, and genders) that have used their power, influence, authority, and proximity to hurt other people (young, old, all races, nationalities, all different body types, and genders). As a family we have always talked about who our bodies belong to and what beautiful things our bodies can do, we've also talked about who is allowed to touch and/or see our bodies. But we have also talked about what you are allowed to do to other people's bodies.

This is important so please try not to lose focus.

I want you to know that you deserve the right & magnificent privilege to give your consent to be touched or seen and/or to touch or see other people's bodies. You have the right to tell someone "NO" if you do not want them to see or touch your body! You also have the right to tell someone "NO" if you do not want to see or touch their body! My dears you have the right to tell someone "NO" if they want to show you pictures or videos that show people doing sexual things; things that mommy and/or daddy would never show you! My loves you have the right to tell an adult if someone either does or tries to touch or see your body without your consent (enthusiastic yes). You have the right to keep telling adults until an adult does something about it! You have the right and privilege to use the way that our family of 5 interacts with each other as a measurement for how other people should interact with you!

The truth is, we won't always be everywhere you are and sometimes the people we love and trust and look up to might be the person(s) that try to and/or does touch or see another person without their consent. So, if mommy or daddy are not around we want you to tell and keep telling until an adult does something to protect you, until an adult believes you!

My loves, your bodies, minds, and souls were created by and in the image of God which means you are incredibly valuable and according to God you are royalty; and we agree with that declaration! You deserve to be treated with honor, respect, dignity, and for the people around you to treat you like you were created in the image of God!

The three of you are ridiculously precious to mommy and daddy. We are incredibly proud of who you are and who you are becoming and we do not want anything or anyone to harm you and/or your innocence. Please know that I share these gems with you because mommy has talked with countless men, women, and children who've been hurt similarly to what I described earlier and I want to do everything in my power to equip the three of you with tools and information that empower you!

I love you,

Mommy


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