Every parent’s worst nightmare—A group of seven men arrested at a waterpark for inappropriately touching several girls, all random targets.
On a sweltering hot day last week, hundreds of kids and adults gathered at our local amusement park to enjoy the chilly water and cool down under the blazing sun. My daughter had asked to go with her friends, and I allowed her the freedom to join in on the fun. At about 5:30pm, I received a call from my daughter telling me I needed to come to the park right away. Luckily I was already there, and when I approached her she hugged me tight and told me what happened. Thankfully, she was not one of those unfortunate victims, but she was a witness. After providing police statements and witness accounts, we were finally allowed to go home.
During that period of waiting and statements, I was informed that my daughter was a quick thinker and told one of the victims directly following the incident that they needed to get away from the men and into a larger group immediately, then recommended that they tell a lifeguard. The girls’ quick thinking and reporting led to the arrests before the perpetrators could leave the park.
I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to write from this experience. How this serves as a reminder to me – that when something devastating happens in my life, I should take it immediately to the Authority, just like Peyton did that day. Going to God as my Father and telling Him I’m scared and hurt is the best thing I could do. How going to the person in charge is best—God wants us to come to Him in our time of need and not depend on ourselves. These lessons are true. Yet here’s what I keep writing and erasing and rewriting….
Oh, to be that brave. To be that strong.
Ask God to open up a dialogue with your children about what to do if something like this happens. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about these kinds of situations. No one ever wants to believe that their child would be put in such an abhorrent situation. Unfortunately, it happens every day. Seek His knowledge in how to approach the discussion. Pray for wisdom in words. Urge Him to take away any distractions from your children as you discuss such an important topic.
One thing that has helped my daughter get through this week is knowing that she took the correct action. She knows and feels that telling lifeguard was a smart choice and potentially helped keep more girls from becoming victims. She also knows that no matter what happens to the perpetrators, it was right to speak up.
Below are a few verses that can help you during a trial like this, whether you’re the person it’s happened to, the witness, or the parent heart who’s grieving the actions against your child. God IS in the business of healing and helping. Let His words be a salve on those wounds.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. Psalm 94:19
The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7