Sexual abuse wounds and traumatizes it's victims. However, one can be healed; the scars will fade in time.
The Paw of the Tiger
Once upon a time, long ago across the great sea, in a deep, dark jungle was a small village. The mothers and fathers of the village loved their children. They decided that in order to protect their children, they would build big walls all around the village to keep the jungle animals out. They were fearful that the animals might harm their little ones. So they worked diligently to build the walls.
Once the walls were completed the fathers stood proud and the mothers smiled up at them. “Now our precious darlings will be safe!” Satisfied that they had done what was necessary to protect their children, they went about their daily chores. There was much to be done in the village – food, clothing, shelter were important. The fathers worked hard to provide what was needed. The mothers worked tirelessly to make their homes clean and peaceful. The children were happy and played every day within the protection of the walls.
But there was a dark, dark secret within this village. Many years earlier, one of the great shamans of the village had an encounter. He was out hunting and noticed a small picture on the jungle floor. It was a picture of a ferocious tiger. The beast was standing over a child, teeth bared, paw raised to strike. Although terrifying, the picture held some sort of macabre attraction for the man. He could not take his eyes off the beast’s menacing paw. The man, seeing no harm, picked up the picture and placed it in a pocket close to his heart. He returned home thinking of the tiger. He smiled when he imagined the feel of the child under the tiger’s paw.
Years passed. From time to time the man would take out the picture and gaze upon the scene. Over time, his thoughts went from thinking about the tiger to thinking he was the tiger. One day, as he was hunting, he had another encounter. He came upon a tiger. The tiger whose name was Dreaded King spoke to the shaman. What the man did not understand was that it was not a tiger speaking, but rather a demon in a form of a tiger. The shaman and the tiger had quite a conversation. It is not known what either said but the outcome was that the tiger became the shaman’s token. The man was very proud. The magnificent beast, strong, cunning, and proud was to be his spirit guide.
Through the ensuing years the man became more and more like his token. He even changed his name to Dreaded King. He became a shape shifter able to change form and become a tiger whenever he desired. He would often roam the jungle in search of prey. Of course, no one, not even his family knew of his power. As a leader in the village, he worked shoulder to shoulder with all the other men as they built the walls of protection. Thinking the walls would protect them from danger, the villagers did not recognize the predator in their midst.
With the walls in place, Dreaded King found it easy to track his prey. Cunningly, he learned how use his position and power to find children and leave his mark. The paw was always carefully aimed. The scars were left in places no one could easily find. The children were terrified of the tiger. Their wounds often festered and were painful. The children hide their wounds believing no one cared. And yet at night the wounded children would cry out in pain. The adults of the village tried to understand the pain but they could see no cause for it. It was assumed by many that these wounded children were just troubled kids seeking attention. The wounds never really healed.
Once a child was marked by the tiger, the child would see the shaman’s true form. Whenever a child met Dreaded King, the child saw him as an animal and not a man, for in truth there was little humanity left in the shaman. These children assumed the fathers and mothers also saw a tiger and not a man. They could not understand why the fathers allowed the tiger to roam freely in the village. And so, tragically, the children did not trust the adults. The children hid their wounds. They thought the adults did not care.
One day, a little girl was visiting in another village. While there, she told someone the secret of the tiger. She thought that it might help heal the wound. Several chieftains of surrounding villages accompanied her back home. These men were friends of Dreaded King. The chieftains called a meeting of the adults of the village. They told of the tiger’s attack on this ONE child. The parents were in shock. Many of them had thought Dreaded King was their friend. They had laboured side by side with him. Their children and his had played together within the walls of the village. The chieftains convinced the parents that it would be best not to talk of this evil. So in trust, no one spoke to the children about the tiger. No one knew that more than ONE child had been prey to the tiger’s cunning and stealth. The children once again felt the adults of the village did not care. The adults once again felt they were protecting the children.
It was also decided at that meeting to send the shaman and his family far away. The friends of the shaman-tiger were to accompany him and his family to the end of the jungle. Along the way they were to warn everyone that Dreaded King was a cunning tiger who enjoyed traumatizing children. But sadly, these chieftains also were in fear of the tiger and his long reaching paw. The cunning shaman assured them he would change. He would warn others of his tendency to become a tiger. He would vow to never become the tiger again. The men believed him and unfortunately trusted his words. Dreaded King was able to slip quietly into the jungle, free to hunt again.
The village was a very sad place. The parents were heart- broken. They felt shame and guilt and anger. No one was sure whom to trust. No one felt they could talk to anyone about this. Ironically the children knew more than the adults imagined. Among themselves they spoke of the pain and terror. Sadly, some of the children left the village never to return. But many more began to talk to one another and over time, the children of the village began to reveal their wounds. With help, the wounds began to heal. The scars however were permanent. The children, now grown, were amazed to find that they were not the only ones with the tiger’s mark. The adults also had been scarred. The sharp claws of the tiger had marked them as well. The parents, aunts and uncles were not sure when or how it happened, but they had small scratches over their hearts. It seemed everyone in the village had been touched by the tiger. The adults finally began to talk with their children about the tiger.
The parents became wiser for the experience. They began to talk openly of that meeting with the chieftains. They sought help their children heal their wounds. They held their children when the pain became too much to bear. They listened. They prayed. They loved, unconditionally. They built stronger walls around the village. They trained watch dogs to sniff out tigers. They became less trusting and more vocal. Slowly the families began to rebuild trust.
Today the people of that village are strong and united. They display their scars and loudly proclaim to all the name of the shaman and the chieftains. No longer the prey, they are the victorious warriors. They seek to hold the Dreaded King and his friends accountable for their reign of terror, in hopes to ensure the innocence of their children and children to come.
Slowly, over time, the people have begun to view the mark differently. Once a symbol of shame, it now has become a badge of courage. It is believed that if a child was able to endure the mark of the tiger, she could overcome anything in life. She is no longer under the paw of the tiger, but under the hand of Lion of Judah.