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I know all of you football fans are cringing inside with one hit after another falling onto the broad shoulders of the NFL to step up and take action against ABUSE…ALL FORMS OF ABUSE. I know it’s tough to hear. I know there is a part of you that wants to say, “Enough of that, let’s just get on with the game.”

For those of us who have been exhausting our efforts to enter into the conversation of social justice where abuse is concerned – that’s all we’ve been hearing – until now.

My heart aches for the young boy who has been bruised, battered and scarred by a tree branch at the hands of his father BUT I do believe what will come of this ‘going public’ is another opportunity for those who’ve wanted to turn a blind eye to the effects and affects of abuse to be forced to look.

Chris Carter admits the abuse he incurred as a child, and takes a stand against it now.

We are holding the face of denial in the palm of our hands, gripping it by the jaw, not allowing it to turn away. LOOK

Abuse is ugly. The NFL has had to acknowledge it all: Domestic violence. Child Abuse. Rape. Even bullying.

Reality is, it’s not just the NFL…don’t fool yourself into brushing it aside and making it ‘their issue’ and not yours. Look around you. If statistics are correct then someone, more than one person, you know has been affected by one form (most likely multiple forms) of abuse before they reached 25.

1 in 4

1 in 4! And that’s a general statistic! 1/4 of America is affected by abuse. And that’s only those cases of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, neglect, and child abuse reported.

Do you know how many instances go un reported because of shame? Because of fear? Because no one wants to listen?

The majority of the survivors I work with were abused when they were kids or young adults. But they are not coming to me as children. They are coming to me as grown adults, many in their upper 30′s, 40′s even 50′s because they never talked about what they went through. They were either told to let it go, or they didn’t think anyone would believe them so they shoved it down, tried to bury it, but the effects of abuse cannot be buried.

It surfaces slowly, through reactions and responses – anger, depression, extreme fears. Until a trigger knocks it loose, exposing it. Once exposed it can’t be hidden. It has to be dealt with. Uncovered, talked about and freed from the place inside where it rotted and decayed.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Matthew 18:10

If we are smart we will demand that this conversation continue, not just with the NFL but on a national level so we can give a VOICE to all of the survivors who need to be free and to encourage those who are suffering in the moment to break free now. Let’s help them talk about what they are going through now so they don’t have to bury it.

Abuse can stop if we all face it head on and demand respect for ourselves and respect for others.