Thursday, October 18, 2012
Sexual Abuse Victor Offers Hope for Victims
By Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi
Special to Assist News Service
MOUNT HERMON, CA
Josh today A male housekeeper sexually molested Josh from ages six to thirteen. At age nine, he told his mother; she whipped him for “lying.” As a teen, Josh finally could resist the pedophile physically, but years of torment left him angry and vengeful.
A male housekeeper sexually molested Josh from ages six to thirteen. At age nine, he told his mother; she whipped him for “lying.” As a teen, Josh finally could resist the pedophile physically, but years of torment left him angry and vengeful.
I (Rusty) have known Josh for over four decades, but only recently learned of his heartbreaking sexual abuse. His story is gripping.
Problems abounded. Josh’s father was an alcoholic, “the town drunk,” who beat his mother and humiliated Josh with his public displays. Consequently, the family was a mess. One sister committed suicide. Another joined the army “just to get away from home.” His brother sued his parents.
For retribution and to avoid embarrassment when friends visited, young Josh would tie up his inebriated father in the barn. He urinated in his father’s hidden wine bottles. “I would do just about anything to humiliate him.” By eleven, Josh felt so hopeless, alone and abandoned that he damned God and cursed his father. Emotional wounds from years of sexual abuse and his father’s alcohol-fueled tirades plagued Josh with deep-seated shame and mistrust toward his assailant, his father, and God.
Intellect Overcomes Emotion
In college, hardened and cynical, Josh particularly disdained Christians. He ridiculed people who spoke warmly of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When one challenged him to disprove Jesus’ Resurrection, he tackled the issue with arrogant determination, researching intently. He even traveled to
But the results of his investigation surprised him: “I had started my journey an obnoxious, agnostic university student, who thought Christians were airheads. I had set out to refute their beliefs, and disprove the Resurrection. But after all my research -- in spite of my prejudice -- I realized I didn’t have a valid defense. The historical evidence all pointed the other way, and I realized my rejection of the Bible and Christianity was based more on emotion than intellect.”
Convinced Jesus’ story was true, Josh says God’s love drew him to personal faith. He cites an ancient Jewish prophet: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. With tender kindness I have drawn you.” “That’s what God, in His mercy, did for me,” Josh says.
Surprising himself, Josh told his father he loved him. “I was used to loving those I loved,” he recalls, “but I never had the capacity to love someone I hated.” His father’s subsequent spiritual rebirth amazed local citizens. In a step of faith, Josh sought out and forgave the sexually abusive housekeeper.
Today Josh McDowell's impact as a Christian activist spans the globe. A prolific author, he’s addressed millions worldwide, explaining evidences for faith in the biblical Jesus and extolling the resultant psychological and relational benefits. His humanitarian relief projects have sent over $46 million worth of aid for children in the former
Hope and Healing
“During my youth, people didn’t talk much about sexual abuse,” he told me recently. Because such stories rarely were in the public eye back then, “Now I understand why my mom wouldn’t believe me.” As Josh would watch more recent television coverage, when some would label abuse claimants as greedy opportunists, “Something would just boil up inside me and my gut would just tighten up. … I identify with those who finally go public.”
Only in 2008 did he tell his wife his own experience, then his children, a close friend, and a counselor. All encouraged him to share it publicly. He has a keen desire to spread hope to victims. “Don’t go it alone,” he advises. “Seek good counsel.”
Undaunted, a new DVD docudrama that Josh narrates, depicts his youthful journey from abuse and anger to hope and faith.
I’ve long appreciated Josh’s personal and professional encouragement. His compelling film moved us both. In a world filled with personal and familial pain, Undaunted can help bring hope and healing. It’s well worth the look.
DVD available now: www.Josh.org/Undaunted
Copyright © 2012 Rusty Wright and Meg Korpi
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