Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, recently answered some questions about sexual abuse and how Mercy Ministries can help young women who have become victims.
Question: Nancy Alcorn, in your experience, how would you define sexual abuse?
Nancy Alcorn: Webster’s Dictionary defines abuse as “a corrupt practice” and “improper or excessive treatment.” Sexual abuse, therefore, involves people using others for corrupt and improper sexual purposes they were never created to experience.
Question: Is sexual abuse a new thing?
Nancy Alcorn: No. Reports of sexual abuse have been recorded throughout history, even in biblical times.
Question: So if someone is in a loving marriage, does that mean they are safe from sexual abuse?
Nancy Alcorn: No. Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse. Anytime someone is manipulated or forced into engaging in any type of sexual activity, that is abuse.
Question: What are the signs that someone might be experiencing sexual abuse?
Nancy Alcorn: There is a tendency to become apathetic or obsessive about hygiene. Some of the other signs I’ve seen in women who have been victims of sexual abuse are self-harm, inappropriate sexual behavior, fear, or difficulty in maintaining close relationships.
Question: Can children demonstrate signs of sexual abuse?
Nancy Alcorn: Absolutely. Children may display knowledge beyond what is normal for their age. They may also experience depression, sleep disturbances, nightmares, isolation from family and friends, or withdrawal from usual activities.
Question: What are some physical symptoms to be aware of?
Nancy Alcorn: There could be unexplained pain, irritation, and swelling around the genital areas. Sometimes frequent urinary tract infections can be a sign.
Question: You mentioned that victims could demonstrate obsessive or apathetic hygiene. Are there other ways that obsessive-compulsive behaviors could be manifested?
Nancy Alcorn: Absolutely. People who have been sexually abused may fall into patterns of excessive bathing, teeth brushing or hand washing due to feeling ‘perpetually dirty.’
Question: What role does Jesus play in the lives of these young women?
Nancy Alcorn: I have learned that no matter what the problem, Jesus is the answer. Mercy is just a small part of the incredible plan that God has for each woman who walks through Mercy Ministries’ doors.
Question: Where can victims of sexual abuse find more information about how Nancy Alcorn and Mercy Ministries can help them?
Nancy Alcorn: They can go to our website www.mercyministries.com and visit our online store where several books such as Violated, part of the “Mercy For” series by Nancy Alcorn, are available for purchase along with other Nancy Alcorn writings.
About Nancy Alcorn: Nancy Alcorn found her calling in 1983 when she started an organization whose sole purpose was to change lives. Nancy Alcorn saw a need and founded Mercy Ministries of America. Nancy Alcorn felt that God had prepared a path for her as she spent 8 years working for the state of Tennessee at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls and investigating child abuse cases. Though Nancy Alcorn saw many girls pass through the system and end up in prison, Nancy Alcorn felt these girls never got the real help they needed. Native Tennessean Nancy Alcorn also worked as Director of Women for the Nashville Teen Challenge Program. Through these experiences, Nancy Alcorn realized that a real transformation could occur only through Jesus. As Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn has seen this ministry grow to become an international organization. To contact Nancy Alcorn or Mercy Ministries, visit http://www.mercyministries.com