Sunday, June 16   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

30 years of internet...
Will digital natives and the "Gen Z" use new technologies with a better ethical/values reflection than the previous generation?



Child abuse

“The Church cannot be unaware of a problem that also occurs among Christian families”

Family therapist and pastor Marcos Zapata analyzes othe effects of child abuse and the role of the churches in its prevention.

SOURCES Protestante Digital AUTHOR Evangelical Focus TRANSLATOR Belén Díaz LUGO 15 JANUARY 2015 22:45 h GMT+1

Child abuse is a taboo topic in our society, and in the evangelical churches too, but the church cannot be unaware of a problem that also takes place among Christian families.

That is what Marcos Zapata, evangelical pastor of Buenas Noticias church in Lugo, Spain, and a family therapist, with a large experience in dealing with child abuse cases, expressed in an interview with the Spanish online newspaper Protestante Digital.

“It is necessary to make visible what is invisible“, explained Zapata. There is a lot of silence around this issue because “it is a very difficult topic”, and we usually do no want to think about it,but it is something that many people suffer in their childhood.

“It is estimated, said Zapata, that only 2% of the cases are known, but child abuse can affect 20% of the population. It is a very important problem because, besides that little percentage of cases reported, only 15% of the victims denounce the abuse”.

This silence conditions victims´s lives: “it is a shameful situation for the families, so that they do not denounce, but they do no realize the psychological and relational problems that that could bring”, explained Zapata.



According to the experts, there are different types of sexual abuse, apart from a physical action. “Exhibitionism, child sexual exploitation, or when the children are force to make sexual touchings, all that is considered sexual abuse”, detailed Zapata.

The online sexual abuse is growing so much nowadays. “There is a traumatic erotization when a child is exposed to an erotic situation before he can process it adequately”. Pornography and it easy access through the new technologies is another problem for this erotization.

Another kind of abuse takes place when adults seduce children to sexually interact with them. It is always a “relation of power” between the abuser and the minor.

Economic problems or social status are not conditions that favor the child sexual abuse.“There are less reports among rich people, but not less abuse”, affirmed Zapata. Being a believer does not prevent us from suffering abuse: “It happens in catholic, evangelical and atheist homes”, explained the pastor.

“As a pastor, I have intervened in cases of children abused within the evangelical community, and that is very sad. Some months ago, Billy Graham´s grandson said that the hiding of the sexual abuse in the churches is a great problem”, remembered Zapata.

One of the hardest realities that the abused minors have to face, it is the fact that most of the abusers are people they trust. “It is estimated that 75% of the cases occur in intimate, safe and trusting environments”, explained Zapata.



Most of the children who suffer abuse, hide it ”for many different reasons”, so it is really hard for parents and others in the child environment, to detect it.

There is not a specific type of abuser, but “they are usually an authority figure for the children. They are caring, manipulative, and they usually count with the parent´s favor. They use seduction more than force. If they are parents who abused their children, they will abuse their grandchildren too”, added the pastor

The children´s behavior can help us to detect a possible abuse: ”children with a low self- steem, that look for affection everywhere; children with a lack of assertiveness an a passive attitude”, explained Zapata.



According to Marcos Zapata,there are two ways to face the abuse: “When a family knows the abuse and decides to silence it, the home becomes an inferno filled of submissive people who suppress their emotions”.

The other option, emphasized Zapata, “it is the breakup and it requires to report the abuse. There is suffering,but, at the end, the children are healthier”.

The previous denunciation is critical for Zapata: ”I dealt with 3 cases this year, in the cases with a report, the children have normal lives right now”.



The Family Commission of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, is working on a Pastoral Guide against sexual abuse that will be available for all the church very soon. Zapata hoped that this guide will help the church to take a step forward in the prevention of this big social problem.

“I want our churches to be able to prevent it, to talk and to teach our children about it. We need to learn how to work with those who have suffered abused”, said Zapata to Protestante Digital. He was the coordinator of the Pastoral Guide against gender violence in 2011.

Marcos Zapata remembered that “it is possible to work with people who have suffered abuse, but only if they report it”, and he warned: “It is a huge mistake no to denounce, because the report protects our children, it helps the child to understand that he is a victim”.

The faith plays an important role in these situations: “I have seen reconciliation inside the church, daughters who confronted their fathers and they started recovery programs”, because: “there is restoration at the foot of the cross, when there is a real repentance, when the abuser realized all the evil he has made and he loathes what God loathes”.




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - “The Church cannot be unaware of a problem that also occurs among Christian families”
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals

After many years of labour, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa officially opened its new centre in Nairobi, Kenya. “Africa, your time has come!”, said the World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Efraim Tendero.

‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure

The milestone represents an important point in the nonprofit’s 40-year legacy.

What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context? What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context?

Espen Ottosen talks about the truths Christians should share with people who have little knowledge and/or many prejudices about Christian belief.  

A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray

Thousands of visitors will have the chance to discover “the God who is alive who listens and answers prayers”.

John Lennox on Acts John Lennox on Acts

Professor John Lennox  examines the three supernatural events in the first three chapters of Acts: Jesus' ascension, the Holy Spirit's descent at Pentecost, and the healing of a lame man by the Apostles.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.