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The 700 Club

Advocating for Young Victims of Abuse

LOST INNOCENCE
Jenna Quinn grew up in a loving, supportive Christian home.  She vividly remembers asking Jesus into her heart at the age of 7.  Her mother taught at a private Christian school, where she and her two sisters also attended.  Jenna’s family became friends with another family at the school.  The two families did weekend outings, celebrated holidays, and took vacations together.  The other father was Jenna’s basketball coach and her best friend’s father.  He was also the man who groomed Jenna for sexual abuse.

At the age of 13, this other father sexually assaulted Jenna on a ride home from his house and threatened Jenna not to tell.  Jenna was filled with shame, blame, and fear.  The other father created ways to be alone with Jenna on car rides, at her home, and at his home.  The assaults continued to escalate over the next few years with the other father asking Jenna sexual questions, explaining sex to her, speaking inappropriately, exposing himself, giving her a sex toy, trying to show her pornography, and continuing to corner her, touch her, and have his way with her.  She says it was everything but rape.  Jenna told him to leave her alone and that she was not interested in him.  But all the while, he continued to insinuate that this was good for Jenna and that she could not tell or their lives would be ruined.  Once he even told her about a girl he’d heard of who did tell.  He said no-one believed her.  

Jenna went from a vibrant, optimistic, fun loving, successful student to an anxious, fearful, heavier, withdrawn, and suicidal teen.  Sometimes she broke out into hives.  Realizing something was wrong, her parents took her to several doctors, where she was tested for allergies, thyroid problems, and anemia.  Meanwhile, Jenna’s fear heightened as the assaults continued.  Jenna started cutting as a way to express her anger and control her pain.  Jenna wondered if she had done something to cause the abuse.  She continued going to chapel at school and to church, but she thought that maybe God had abandoned her.  

Holidays and vacations were still shared by the two families.  Then the day after Christmas 2002, Jenna’s older sister who was home from college, insisted that the two  go to lunch.  There, she asked Jenna if anyone had ever hurt her.  Jenna broke down crying uncontrollably.  Her sister persisted in forcing the truth out of her.  They returned home and Jenna told her parents everything.  Finally after three years, the abuse stopped.

CHARGES AND CHANGES
The police were called in reference to the assaults, and reports were filed.  The investigative process began, and charges were pressed.  When the situation went public, some people at Jenna’s school blamed her for what happened.  Jenna’s mental health got worse, and she was sent to counseling.  To cope with the PTSD, panic attacks, and depression, she took prescribed drugs day and night.

Jenna was still battling with blaming herself with what happened when her class went to see The Passion of the Christ.  She wept as she watched the crucifixion and finally realized she had not done anything wrong.  Instead of hiding in shame, she ran to Jesus.  She spoke to her Bible teacher and rededicated her life to Christ.  She got rid of her dark clothes, painted her room white and blue, and read the Bible every day.  She says she allowed Christ to heal her heart.  
Meanwhile, even though she had no forgiveness in her heart, she prayed blessings upon her abuser and his family.  She believed if she was faithful to pray, her heart would catch up.  She applied the principle of forgiveness, submitted her hurt and pain to the cross, and let the blood of Jesus cover it.

After an arduous trial, Jenna’s perpetrator was found guilty on 5 accounts of indecency with a child and 2 accounts of sexual assault.  He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, without ever saying he was sorry.

THE AFTERMATH OF ABUSE
After the trial, Jenna agreed to do an interview with the Dallas paper.  She urged victims: “Tell someone who will do something.  It’s not your fault.”  The reporter said he would not use her name in the paper.  With supernatural boldness, Jenna said, “No, I can’t do that.  I can’t tell others to come forward and not be ashamed if I am too ashamed to do that.”  At her insistence and parental approval, the paper published her name in the article.  Shortly after, someone approached her and said she had been abused by the same man.

Jenna dedicated her life to preventing child sexual abuse through education and legislation.  After much prayer, she moved into political action, reaching out to Texas legislators about the need for schools to adopt age-appropriate curriculum on child sexual abuse.  Jenna’s Law was passed in Texas in May 2009.  To date, 29 other states have adopted a similar requirement.

With a Masters in Communication from University of North Texas, Jenna is now a nationally sought-out public speaker by a variety of audiences including legislatures, law-enforcement, abuse prevention groups, schools, communities of faith, nonprofit organizations, and the general public.

CHILD SEX ABUSE PREVALENCE AND PREVENTION
Jenna says God healed her not just for herself, but also to set millions of captives free.  She cites that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before they are 18 years old.  Over 90% of these children are abused by someone they know and trust.  Jenna says 2/3 of all child sex abuse is never reported.  There are an estimated 42 million survivors in the US alone. That’s two times as many people than are living with cancer. She says the difference is that when someone is diagnosed with cancer, they generally start treatment right away.  But when a child is sexually abused, it’s generally hidden.  

There are physical and behavioral warning signs to look for to identify, prevent, and stop child sex abuse. Some physical signs that may indicate sex abuse are:  difficulty walking or sitting, a sudden negative change in appearance, weight gain, refusal to change for gym or participate in physical activities, and running away.  Some behavioral indicators include:  a sudden change in behavior or school performance, inappropriate seductiveness, overt protection of siblings, avoidance of a specific person without obvious reason, appears threatened by physical contact or closeness, seems to always be preparing for something bad to happen, and talks a lot about a specific adult. Additional signs include: self-destruction, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide attempts, and eating disorders.  Jenna encourages people to watch for these signs and take action when indicators are present.  She encourages victims of child sex abuse to speak up, report the crime (Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1.800.4-A-CHILD® 1.800.422.4453), and stop blaming themselves. Ultimately, Jenna wants to see the abuse prevented, the silence broken, and hearts healed.

Mentioned in the Video

 

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Guest Info

Guests
Credits

The Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline

1.800.4-A-CHILD® (1.800.422.4453)

Child sex abuse prevention advocate, activist, speaker

Author: Pure In Heart, Liberty House, 2017

Responsible for helping to institute Jenna’s Law in May 2009, which requires Texas schools to provide age-appropriate curriculum on child sexual abuse (29 states followed suit)

Has spoken on TED-Talks

Has been featured in Glamour magazine

MS Communications, University of North Texas

Married: Michael

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