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Friday, August 31, 2018

Operation Wormwood: We must be vigilant when it comes to stopping the sexual abuse of children


I find it frustrating that celebrities who know nothing about the culture of
Newfoundland and Labrador, will come here to sit on an ice flow and save the seals … and of course, get their pictures taken by the media.

But ask a celebrity to be the face of the sexual torture of children, and the answer is most times… No. That would not be good for their careers to be associated with something so dark.

The #metoo movement is finally shining a light on it. Or I should say, ‘at it’, not ‘on it.’ In my opinion the #metoo movement started out as a good thing but the light quickly faded as those who claimed to be victims also had accusations of sexual misconduct against them. Then those who were raped became over shadowed by those who were whistled at. Then the conversation about sexual assault became old very fast. 

Since Operation Wormwood has been released, I have a conversation regarding child sexual abuse almost ever day. We need to get this out of the dark corners of life and shine a light on it.

The sexual abuse and torture of children is not a thing of the past. Everyday there is a story in the media about someone charged with child pornography, child luring, and/or the sexual assault of a child. It seems like it is getting worse, not better.

The internet has brought strangers into our homes, and into the bedrooms of our children. Read the media stories from our own country about children dying by suicide because they were lured into giving sexually explicit pictures of themselves to a stranger they met on line, who then blackmailed them.
We do not have the luxury of thinking, “It can’t happen to me.”

I believe the reasons you are hearing about it more is because children are being educated in schools about ‘good touch – bad touch’. Police Officers are given the tools they need to hunt down the “on line” predators.  Adults and parents are more vigilant; victims are not afraid to speak out and families are no longer willing to protect the pedophile.

This is a good thing.

I was recently at a book signing and a lady I did not know walked up to me and said, “I read your book. Please tell me Wormwood is real.”

I answered, “I wish I could.” She thanked me for bringing the subject matter to the forefront. I wrote this book to give vengeance to victims and create paranoia among pedophiles. I truly hope it gives victims of sexual abuse some type of closure and I hope it puts the fear of God in abusers.

At another signing, a young lady gave me her book to sign. I could tell from the way she was looking at me that she wanted to say something. I asked her what she had heard about the book and we had a brief discussion. There was a line up of people behind her waiting to have their book signed. Although I wanted to ask her what was on her mind, I didn’t want to encourage her to talk about it in front of strangers. She slowly walked away with the book in her hand. I can’t stop thinking about her.

I realize that this book will have some triggers for those who suffered abuse. I’ve had a few police officers tell me there were triggers for them in Operation Wormwood as well. I was very careful not to sensationalize the sexual abuse of children in this book, and I do not go into detail. But there was no way to tell the story without vaguely eluding to it.

The idea for Operation Wormwood came about as I struggled with a deep theological question myself: Why does evil against the most vulnerable go unpunished by a loving, all powerful God?

Every Saturday, I would sit in church praising God, then Monday morning I would sit at my desk as the RCMP’s senior communications strategist in NL, reading reports that proved he did not exist.

So, to answer the question I get the most: Is Wormwood a real disease? I only wish it was.

For those who have suffered through child abuse, or any type of abuse, I ask that you please take care of yourself and reach out for help. Here is a list of available help for you.

Canadian Mental Health Association https://cmha.ca/
Mental Health Crisis Line NL (709) 737-4668
THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE? There are many crisis centres available 24 hours a day to talk to you. https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/
Find a Psychology Provider http://www.apnl.ca
NL SEXUAL ASSAULT CRISIS & PREVENTION CENTRE http://nlsacpc.com/ 1-800-726-2743