Thursday, 5 September 2013

Dear Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Woolsey . . . From One of 'Those Girls'

The last few days have been all abuzz with a post from Mrs. Hall, a concerned mother upset about what her young teen boys were viewing on social media. Her approach is zero tolerance and censorship of any half-dressed girls.

Good for you. Your house, your children, your rules.

Then another mother, Mrs. Woolsey chimes in with a rebuttal, chastising the harsh penalty and making mention of the hypocritical semi-nude pictures of the Hall boys in the same post.

Good for you. You’re standing up for the young girls and encouraging second chances and grace.

I have a slightly different issue, but first let me say this; Mrs. Hall should be applauded for instilling communication and interaction between herself and her kids. Fostering an atmosphere of openness is key in addressing issues and she is clearly determined to do her job as a parent and protect her kids.

As for Mrs. Woolsey, she too loves her children but believes we need to pour grace on the young girls and is ready to offer forgiveness. She doesn’t say whether or not she would encourage or demand her young boys to ‘unfriend’ a young girl who continually posts inappropriate photos, but I do get the impression that common sense would come into play and that she would protect her sons as well.

But, as I read both of these opinions, I started to cry.

Yes, cry.

What about the hearts of these girls? The ones who pose and post sexually provocative photos on social media . . . who will address the big elephant in the room?

The why.

Ten years ago we blamed Britney Spears for leading our young girls down the sleazy fashion path, encouraging tweens to dress way beyond their years. Then it was toddler beauty pageants and Honey Boo-boo who was targeted for encouraging the sexualizing of children. Just last week, Miley Cyrus’s behavior had parents jumping up to cover the eyes of both their sons and their daughters. Yes, Hollywood does impact and influence our kids, but I don’t believe we can just blame T.V. and shut it off. (Although we did years ago and I highly recommend it).

So, what was it then that had me in tears this morning? I cried for the girls who Mrs. Hall accused of lacking modesty. Yes, to be sure, some girls are absolutely modeling pop culture examples, but a lot of these young girls are just acting out what they’ve lived.

Their selfies that are meant to capture attention and get ‘likes’ usually have their eyes looking right into the camera. Their eyes haunt me. I see myself as a teen:

Notice me, like me, use me . . . but ultimately rescue me. I will let you do whatever you want and give you whatever you demand as long as it will result in you ‘loving’ me for even just one more day. I know that you will probably leave—they all do, but for now, come see me. Something inside of me grows with each hungry look. Every rude, vulgar comment that I pretend to be disgusted with actually just validates and feeds the beast within. The lie that was planted in my heart so many years ago . . . the first time he touched me . . .

That I am worthless.


A throw away.

I want to be different, to stop feeling this way, but I am addicted and harassed to no end by these crazy, inexplicable desires. I crave this attention. I need to somehow heal the hurt that happened to me as a child. But this drug of touch that I hope will result in finding someone to protect me for life, only perpetuates my brokenness. On one hand my sexuality empowers me but at the same time I am a slave to it. It was awakened far too early and I don’t know how to put it to rest.
Birthed with the loss of my innocence, this cycle of dysfunction is spiraling out of control. Now by my own ‘choice’. But did I ever really have a choice?

Don’t judge me because I am a ‘floozy’ or a ‘hooch’ . . .  or the other hurtful names you call me. I don’t show any discretion or dignity because I was robbed of it before I could understand it was mine to defend and to cherish.

Find me. Love me. Help me. Kill this beast within.

Until I find true healing, I will continue on this self-depreciating and destructive path  . . . .

Studies show that somewhere between twenty-five to fifty percent of women have been sexually abused in their childhood. And those numbers reflect only those who report it. Many don’t.[i] My abuse started at such a young age, my first childhood recollection was one of shame. It continued for over a decade. Once the darkness was brought into the light, the abuse stopped but the damage and resulting behaviors and beliefs continued. Such was life in the seventies. Shhhhh. Don’t tell. Move on.

It wasn’t until adulthood that I finally got the proper counseling I needed and the beast of abuse was slayed.

So you see mothers, do stay involved in your children’s lives and shield them while you can, but please, please don’t put up walls of protection so high that you can’t see the hurting young children on the other side. Look beyond the skimpy outfits and behaviors of some of these half-dressed girls and instead of shunning them, love them. Accept them. Pray for them. Give them a chance to know a warm, loving healthy woman who can model the virtues they so lack.

And for those of you who like me were hurt and the beast still lurks within, I encourage you to check out Healing Hearts, an amazing online or small group study that will help you to find truth and healing. For teen girls there is a brand new study as well, First Love.

Check it out and reach out. It’s all well and good to protect our own children, but we can’t forget about the others out there who need us too.


  1. Lori,

    I thank-you for your comment. I understand both sides of this article as a parent of both a teenage boy and now a young woman. I pray that both the young men and women are covered under God's protection and grace. I know that as a parent we need to be proactive in our son and dauaghter's lives. I also know that we also have to keep other young women in our prayers as you stated in your article here. Thank-you for lifting up these young ladies that do not have a good and stable home or are in abusive relationships. God is working through you and your ministry. God bless.

  2. Call me Beth.

    Thank you for a beautiful post, Lori. And especially for your transparency and faithfulness to your message for hurting women. "I don’t show any discretion or dignity because I was robbed of it before I could understand it was mine to defend and to cherish." - true truth.

    This is such a gracious encouragement to keep our eyes wide open and be a true community for each other - including online.

    Love to you.

    1. Thanks so much, Beth. Your post was beautifully written and I love your heart for kids and other moms.

      I think we could be friends.

      Because you show grace and I sure need it!

  3. You know, some people enjoy being sexy/slutty/whatever without having been sexually abused. That is a pretty HUGE assumption to me.

    1. Interesting. From where does that “enjoyment” come, however? We do things for a reason, ie “It feels good.” But why? Personally, I think it stems from what the writer said, in essence, an starvation to be loved. The empowerment of posting cleavage-showing selfies and the affirmation that follows (from guys AND OTHER GIRLS) seem to be the proverbial junk-food we scarf down to abate that hunger. And they (we... I) didn’t necessarily need to be sexually abused to foster this behavior.

    2. That's what I was thinking too.

    3. I wrote a response as well, as the mother of three boys, so just putting that out there first.

      As for enjoying being sexual...I am that way. I was raised by decent parents and I am a sexual being. I am also loved. I was extremely comfortable with that at 16 and still am at 38 though I never did develop much cleavage. My sexuality has a strong visual component. Cultivating my sexual being is an important part of my identity.

      However, that doesn't mean I'm willing to become objectified or used. In my response I asserted that I am to be looked at in the eye because I'm a human being. Don't devalue me because I value my sexuality. Just know that expressing that part is part of my whole person. I think talking bluntly and thoroughly about the subject of sex, anatomy, biology, ethics and love is so important at home and in academic settings.

      This is why I am VERY interested in the Why you mention when it comes to talking matter of factly to my boys. The Why matters so much. Girl's flexing their sexual image a little is normal. There isn't just one Why and the only way you find out what those reasons are is remember that we are all human look each other in the eye.

    4. It doesn't HAVE to equate to sexual abuse. Being "slutty" as you say can stem from a lack of attention or affection, or just any experience of feeling less than valued.

  4. Thank you for this post. So many girls are taken advantage of at a young age where they don't get to know what is really taken from them but whether or not someone was sexually abused doesn't mean a young girl isn't desperate for love or affection. Often times The only way they know or have seen "positive" response, if only temporary, is via their sexuality. As a young girl I was never abused but instead ignored, & looked over. The first time someone payed attention they were only interested on what could be given. The loneliness & desperation allowed me to give in and then it became easier and then almost a game. Those days haunt my marriage and life. I only wish someone just. saw. me. And told me I was worth more than the games.

  5. I hear you all. The point is, girls and women are hurting; whether they have been abused or not, they are looking to fill a void.

    As for my 'assumption', I was writing from my experience and said a lot, not all. The others who chimed it brought truth that whether they are abused or not, these girls are lonely and looking for 'love'.

    Thanks for your comments.

    1. I love your post, it hit home with me. Thank you for speaking up as I too was one of 'those girls'.

    2. whether or not we've ever been improperly touched physically, we've all been fed a lie, that our worth amounts to how much a man/men want us sexually. whatever lies beneath the skin doesn't matter unless it's in a desirable package.
      i've worked with adolescent girls for years and what you said is exactly what i've seen. we pick up where the perpetrator left off. SELF-objectification-i am no more than my body.

  6. Or maybe it isn't as serious as that. I guess we will never know because we don't know what pictures Mrs. Hall is talking about. Her description didn't sound that bad to me. Pouty lips and and arched back don't seem that bad to me. In fact I'm 30 and I have pictures that would fall into that category on my facebook page. They were pictures taken in public while on vacation with my family. What was I trying to say? Well, I guess I was saying look at me I'm having an awesome time.

  7. Just to clarify again . . . :) I did not say ALL girls who are posting revealing or inappropriate photos are abused. I said alot. And, I also posted a footnote on an article that substantiates that many abused kids do 'act out' as a result of abuse.
    My heart's message to all was to not judge these girls or shun them but rather to see past their behaviors. And to one anonymous comment, I did not use 'slutty' in my article. That is the very kind of derogate name calling I am against. <3

  8. Thank you for writing your post and sharing your heart. I love Mrs. Hall's post in the desire to protect and communicate with her boys at all costs, and Beth's to "see" the person and offer grace. I love yours as well because you have shared your broken heart that has been healed and looks to help others. I know that we have an Enemy who wants to destroy by any means possible (cultivated lust, no boundaries, devaluing any human, and bickering among us). Let us not help that Enemy with our own attitudes and actions. I believe the Bible has an answer when it states "we should consider others better than ourselves." I believe that Mrs. Hall, Beth, and you actually are doing that. Unfortunately sin hurts, but there is away out and when we are out we can turn and offer that same hope and healing to others. Christians need not be surprised by sin, but rather overcome it and let love cover it. Thank you for sharing your scars, your healing and your heart of hope for others.

  9. I love your post! The most balanced I have come across on the subject so far!!! Grace but also do what you need to do to protect your hormones charged teenagers at home. I think in everything we need balance but when it comes to our own children, they should come before other people's kids. Each parent should make their own children their priority but we also as parents need to teach grace and mercy to our kids. Love love your post!

  10. Thanks so much, Katherine and Whoopsie . . . this post was a true compulsion. I had no choice but to write it, with many tears too!
    So blessed to know it helped a few girls and women through the pain of misguided shame. <3

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