News that actor Stephen Collins, who played the beloved father on 7th Heaven, has sexually abused young women is heartbreaking and shocking. He is, however, the face of the predator next door who steals the joy and innocence of girls while pretending to love and care for them. He is the face of the man who befriended me as a child, whom my family trusted, and who took advantage of the situation because he was given the freedom to do so. We are justifiably angered that this man who portrayed the father many of us wish we had, would turn out to be such a monster. And for many out there, it has torn open wounds and brought to the surface memories we have put away or tried to forget.
As someone who suffered at the hands of a sexual predator, it is perfectly ok to feel anger and pain and sadness. As a parent it is perfectly ok to be afraid for your children and to question the relationships men have with your children. That said—don’t let all these emotions take hold and control you. Be proactive. If you are struggling with memories, talk to someone about it. Write it in the comments here. If you are a parent, have a talk with your partner or other parents about how best to protect your child without stifling them. Communicate about this—don’t let this opportunity slip by. More importantly, don’t let the actions of one sick man steal your joy. Take control and have power in your life.
My prayer for you today comes from Psalm 5. I suggest you read it through. The end says: “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord, surrounding them with your shield of love.”