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It Truly Does Take a Village

by Shellie R. Warren on July 20th, 2014 in Women

It-Truly-Does-Take-a-Village - blogThere is a website that I dig. It’s called Sevenly (, to be exact). Every week, it designs a shirt in honor of a charity that you can purchase (so that some of the proceeds will go to it). Well, this past week, the charity was The Mocha Club which is an organization that provides food and education to children in African communities. One of the T-shirt designs features the African Proverb “It Takes a Village”. The rest of that saying was left off but it’s “…to raise a child.”

I thought about that, a lot actually, as I read a recent news story that basically made my stomach turn. Some of you might be familiar with it. A 16-year-old girl in Houston, went to a party, drank something that was handed to her and then passed out. Following, she discovered that she had been sexually assaulted.

How? First it was because there was a video and picture of her alleged assault posted on social media (I know, right?) And then people—mostly teenagers—started mimicking her passed out position following her alleged rape and posting it the internet as well with a hashtag that had her name followed by the word “pose”.

As if that’s not horrific enough, her alleged rapist decided to mock her as well with statements like “How’s it rape? You had two months to say something but you ain’t say s—it until it’s exposed” and “The hoe forced, snitched, and still look like a fiend from deadend.”

Wow. Where do we begin?

Can someone tell that child—the alleged rapist, I mean—that people get arrested everyday by incriminating themselves on social media? Then can someone track down all of those other children who were mimicking the rape position and let them know that rape is not sex, it’s a crime and there’s nothing funny about it (can you also tell them that taking their own naked picture will result in their own nudity being on the internet for far long than this news story will last)? And then can someone tell the victim’s mom that if her daughter is bold and strong enough to speak up, she should be courageous enough to show her own face and be by her daughter’s side?

Honestly, what got to me the most about this story (aside from the fact that it reminds me of what 2 Timothy 3 says about the last days and a part of it is that people will be unholy, unloving and brutal) is that it reminded me of when I was a teen mom director for the local chapter of a national non-profit. I say that because, unfortunately, the story that I just shared is disturbing but it’s not rare.

So many questions…

What kind of party was going on where there was alcohol being served to minors and so little supervision that a child could even be sexually assaulted?

What kind of upbringing did the alleged rapist have that he felt the need to take to Twitter and basically badger his own victim?

What is going on, globally, that other children (CHILDREN) would mimic what I consider to be a crime scene by (some of them) taking off their own clothes, getting in the same position as the victim, taking a picture and posting it themselves?

And let me say this: If anyone is tempted to think that is only “worldly children”, a lot of the highly-sexually active, porn-addicted, broken and in-way-over-their-heads kids that I dealt with were in church every weekend.

There’s not nearly enough time or space to get into all of this in one blog post but for now, I just want to plant that seed. As my godchild’s mother and I were discussing this story, we both sighed as she said “These are the kids that Grace will be growing up with.” Being that my godchild is only three, I interjected and said “No. Grace will have to deal with those kids’ kids.

And honestly, that’s a sobering thought. Scary, if you think about it too long.

Love, sex, self-respect—these are not things that any of us automatically understand. (Tweet This!) They have to be taught and (eh hem, adults) modeled. Not just by parents but by all people that children and teenagers see.

Yeah. That T-shirt speaks volumes.

It really does take a village to raise a child.

And newsflash: Many of our villages are crumbling.

Bigger newsflash: We have a lot (MILLENIUMS WORTH) of work to do.

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It Truly Does Take a Village by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.



  • Albibird

    This is really quite an awkward phrase now, as it has taken on some political implications. It’s something of a rallying cry on the left, used in support of things like public education or measures to improve general health like school meal nutritional standards. Conversely though, it is often heavily condemned on the political right – the common view there is that it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes two parents, and the village analogy undermines the natural authority of parents and promotes a dangerous collectivist attitude that looks worryingly like socialism.

    • Kelly

      That phrase has always had political implications. It’s a liberal saying that says that the schools and society in general should be able to teach kids what to believe. Personally, I’m surprised to find in on a Christian website when it is very liberal.

  • Cam

    I grew up with parents who firmly believed that it takes a village to raise a child. While I will not say anything with regards to the political nature of this proverb nowadays I will say this: the fact that the proverb is politicized does not make it any less true or powerful. In my life, “it takes a village to raise a child” meant that I was to respect all adults in my life as though they were my parents (especially aunts and uncles). If they told me to do something and I disobeyed, I could expect to disciplined by them without interference from my parents. In the same way, my parents always trusted to adults around me to have my best interests at heart. I was raised by my parents, yes, but in many ways I was also raised by my aunts and uncles and cousins. I they filled in the gaps and helped me with things that my parent’s could not (even though I was blessed with some amazing parents).
    Frankly, this article blessed me tremendously, because it showed the importance of having this kind of environment around our children. We want them to understand love, sex and self-respect, but it’s not something that parents can do alone, They must also be supported by others who want the best for their kids. That is what is meant by it takes a village to raise a child.

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