Leaving Abuse Behind & Changing Lives

How can you tell someone they can change their life, if you’re unwilling to make the herculean effort to do it yourself?  This thought occurred to me this evening while I was studying for an exam tomorrow.  I feel so strongly that one of the key truths that has the power to transform the lives of people who have been locked in abuse is the understanding that they do have the power to change it.  But it is incredibly hard; in fact, it usually appears impossible.

In a way I had not previously seen, I’m practicing what I preach.  I can safely say YOU CAN DO IT! because I’m doing it.  As I’m doing it, I am also having to work through all those things that are realities in the process – the constant battle with the “mental tapes” that play in my head, actually surviving somehow when there is less than no money, juggling single-motherhood with the demands of unforgiving schedule requirements, exploring a new, exciting, and sometimes unwelcome way of life, attempting to balance short-term immediate needs with the equal need to sacrifice now for long-term security, etc.

It is hard but it is doable.  It is hard but it is rewarding.  Sometimes the hard part seems insurmountable.  Then tomorrow comes.  And the sun comes out.  And I know I can do it – and so can others.  I know they can, not because I read it somewhere, but because I’m doing it.

Edward E. Greene of Downers Grove, NC Guilty of Child Sexual Assault

My thanks to The Chicago Tribune for this story.

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A former Downers Grove church youth minister was sentenced to 4 years in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting an underage female parishioner and student.

Edward E. Greene, 38, of Asheboro, N.C., pleaded guilty Thursday in DuPage County Circuit Court to criminal sexual assault while in a position of trust of the girl, who was 13 to 17 years old when she attended Marquette Manor Baptist Church and its school in Downers Grove.

The abuse took place in 1997 and 1998, but no charges were filed until 2005, after the girl told a counselor about the incident. Greene faced up to 15 years in prison.

Similar charges are still pending against John Puga, 36, of Aurora, a former youth basketball coach at the school, charged with sexually assaulting an underage female church member.

The allegations became public in 2005, but church officials first learned of the accusations in 2003 when one of the girls told a counselor. The church reported the allegation to authorities.

The Downers Grove Police Department and the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office both investigated.

A third man, Frank Stima, 64, a former church deacon who now lives in Washington state, pleaded guilty in 2006 to criminal sexual abuse of an underage female and was sentenced to 2 years of probation.

The three men have not been involved with the church in recent years.