Several years ago, I decided that I would not be someone who added to the stigma that survivors of sexual abuse and childhood rape should feel ashamed for what happened to them. I chose to begin speaking boldly about my experiences and to openly share some of them with anyone who asked. When we place what is dark and evil into the Light, suddenly we see two things – one, we are not alone and two, the darkness loses its’ power to consume us.
As a teenager, I was very fearful about what others would think about me and I often hid in my own little shell. Around that time, blogs and journals on the internet began popping up, as it was the mid-90’s and the internet was just getting into full swing. Some of those blogs and online journals I read empowered me to open up about what was going on in my life. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I wasn’t alone and that healing was possible. A life beyond being a victim is something I could achieve.
People sitting out their lives in the dark
saw a huge light;
Sitting in that dark, dark country of death,
they watched the sun come up.
Matthew 4:16 (the Message)
The more I speak out, the more people tell me that they too have been abused. Some have reported, some are unable to, as the statute of limitations is now past . I’ve even had a couple of people tell me about a child they know who is exhibiting some strange behaviors and ask if I thought the child might be caught in the claws of abuse*. Sadly, I’ve been right every time when I’ve said that “yes, it’s very likely.” Those children are now in safe homes, away from their abusers. Sexual abuse is so common. It breaks my heart! In the United States, one out of every four women and one out of every 6 men has been sexually abused in some way. In poorer countries, like India, the percentage is even higher, at 47-51% of the population being sexually abused. 60% of sexual assaults in the USA are never reported and 97% of rapists never see a day in jail. Satan is sure running rampant in the world, isn’t he?
We have to be bold and stand strong together. Each of us can find our voice and be bold, speaking unashamed about what happened to us because it is not our fault. We are not to blame.
It is not the survivors who should be ashamed, but the abusers.
You, reading this who is holding something deep inside yourself – you are beautiful. It’s not your fault and you’re going to be okay. Get up and tell someone about that “thing” that is hurting you right now. Report the abuse. You’re not doing the pervert any good keeping it to yourself.
You, reading this, who thinks you’re alone in your shame from what happened to you – you are beautiful, too! I’ve been there. I spent a lot of years feeling ashamed, eating my weight in chocolate and french fries and whatever else came my way. I decided to get fat so no one would touch me again. Then it hit me one day that I don’t have to do that. I can choose healing. You can, too. It’s not your fault. Nothing about the abuse or what happened to anyone around you is your fault. Walk away from anyone who tells you otherwise, even “family”.
You reading this, thinking I’m completely nuts for speaking out – I forgive you for all the mean things you’ve ever said to me or people like me. I know you’re hurting inside and you need help, too. You’re beautiful and I wish you could embrace that.
To those that assist sexual abuse victims in their recovery and provide a safe haven for children, thank you! What you do is hard work and you’re under-appreciated by a majority of the population. Please don’t stop what you’re doing. The kids need you. I still need you. People like me who speak out about their abuse still need you. We need to know that people still care and are willing to fix what the idiots have broken. You are doing God’s work and that is always a tough task when you’re fighting evil.
Share this post, please. Share your experiences. Share your feelings, get them out. If you’re being abused or know someone who is, please, please, please tell someone! You can report suspected child abuse as well and ask for welfare checks on your neighbors if you have reason to suspect someone is in danger. It’s not just kids that are being abused. It’s teens, adults, elderly and yes, even animals. Report, report, report. Be bold! Be unashamed!
Be safe, Sisters and Brothers. If one person doesn’t listen to you or believe you, keep talking to people until you find someone who does!
The following is a list of people you can talk to and places you can call or visit online for help.
If you need help knowing what or how to report, check this link out: Victims of Crime.org – Reporting on Child Sexual Abuse
or this one: Crisis Connection Inc.
- Start with your local police station or county Sheriff’s station. Call 9-1-1 or walk in and make a report. If you do not do this, there is “no crime” in the eyes of the law. You have to report abuse to the authorities for it to be prosecuted.
- A counselor or therapist, if you’re already involved in therapy and repressed memories begin to come out
- School guidance counselor, teacher, coach or any adult who works in the school that you trust
- Your boss. If you’re being sexually abused at work, tell them.
- Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles – any adult in your family, or a close family friend
- Clergy at your house of prayer or worship
- Your friends’ parents
- Your doctor (chances are, they’re going to discover it anyway)
- Your chain of command – the military is changing rapidly so that sexual abuse victims are getting the help and the justice they need!
- A neighbor
*I am NOT a professional, merely someone who has “been there” so please do not replace my advice and blog for real, professional help. I’m willing to help YOU build a bridge, but I’m not able to BE the bridge to healing.