Sacrificial Thanksgiving Lamb

At one point I was living in the pastors home for awhile after I was released from the hospital following being burned.

On Thanksgiving Day Cleo and Felix were also invited to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at their home.  They knew of the allegations.  It was particularly known concerning the allegations against Felix because he had also been accused of attempting to molest another little girl from the Christian school.

I was scared.  Why had Cleo and Felix been invited?

Not only was I afraid of Cleo,  but I knew Cleo would most likely be on her best behavior in front of Mrs. Pastor’s wife.

I was terrified of what Felix would do if he had any opportunity at all.

I was not only scared for myself, I was scared for the pastor and the pastors wife two daughters who were minors at the time.  I knew Felix would try to do something to myself and to those girls.

Felix is the ultimate predator.

I followed the two teenage pastors daughters around as if I were glued to their backs.  Being teenage girls they were more than a little annoyed that they couldn’t shake their tale.

During the middle of dinner Felix excused himself to the restroom.  A few moments later Felix calls out that there wasn’t any toilet paper.

I knew what he was planning.  He was planning to “accidentally” expose himself and worse to which ever unfortunate girl was chosen to fetch a roll of toilet paper.  

I volunteered.  I thought I would have a better chance at avoiding Felix since I had become accustomed to his tricks.

I retrieved a roll of toilet paper from the hall closet.  And I attempted to quickly toss the roll inside the bathroom door.

Felix was too quick for me.  He grabbed my wrist and pulled me into the bathroom with him.  He told me to perform oral sex and threatened me….if I said a word, the pastor would kick me out of his home right away.

Within about a week or so, I was back on the farm with Cleo and Felix. At the time, I thought the pastor had somehow found out, but that wasn’t the case.  It turns out the reason  Cleo and Felix were invited for Thanksgiving was so Cleo could “restore” her relationship with me as it was the plan all along I was to return to the farm.

The two daughters didn’t know until many years later that little Fifth-Grade me was hell-bent on protecting them.  Although they remember Cleo and Felix being invited for that Thanksgiving dinner, When I told them as an adult, their eyes glazed-over as I recounted what happened.  I tend to think they still do not believe or comprehend what happened that Thanksgiving Day 1976.

To be honest, considering what I know the pastor knew, it is a baffling mystery why Felix allowed to be within ten miles of the pastors own young daughters.

Psalm 56-8

 

We are nearing the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

We currently have only a little over 2000 signatures.      

We can do better.  

Please sign and share the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address and deal appropriately with the subject of sexual abuse in faith communities.

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

 

 

Does God Love Even ME?

This past weekend was Easter Sunday. I didn’t make it to church.  I wanted so badly to be able to go to church and not be filled with anxiety and literally break out in hives.  To have a “normal” church experience where I don’t need to find a seat on the end of the row and a direct escape route with nothing between myself and my exit.

As a child, my basic needs were not met.  Food was scarce, and what there was, was seldom prepared or served to me. The private Christian school did not offer breakfast and lunch, so I learned I needed to steal or horde food to quell the familiar hunger pangs.  As mentioned before there  was a pizza shop near the farm.  The stop owner had pity on me, and would  “treat” me to a pizza and soda. His gentle smile and kind words are one of the few positive memories from that time.

Clothes were old and worn. In anticipation of the regular spring and fall shopping sprees someone would give me black trash bags with second-hand clothes. The were a few times when I actually found an outfit I thought pretty enough to feel pleased about but my hopes were ruined by the glances of the girls in school who stared knowingly at my cast-off dresses. The humiliation caused a flush to spread on my cheeks..

My body was sold to child molesters. When I was very young one of them used to tell me that God had created me to be his concubine. The way he presented this  I believed this man was talking about a princess.  When I was old enough to learn what a concubine was,  my response was to feel deeply ashamed.

Both the Christian school and church were harsh places too.  Punishment was quick, sure and harsh

As a result I began developing an anxiety disorder. I became paranoid of breaking even the smallest rule.  I worked harder and harder to be good enough, but never could seem to meet it, no matter how hard I tried.

Although in some ways I grew up very quickly, understanding early on that I had to fend for myself, a part of me remained frightened even when I couldn’t show it.  This has extended into my adult life too. 

Success was because I am too darn stubborn for my own good.  I wasn’t going to quit and be the miserable failure some people had informed me I was destined to become.  I’d show them!


After an assault in my early 20’s, I pressed charges and saw a successful prosecution for the crime committed against me.  Shortly after all of it was over my life began to unravel.  I couldn’t keep it together like I had once been able to do.  All of the pain came to the surface. I mentioned before I was hemorrhaging emotional pain from years of abuse, just as if I would have hemorrhaged literal blood if I had severed my femoral artery.  I was a suffering mess.   The abysmal Christian counseling I received made my suffering worse.  Fortunately, I began seeing an exceptional licensed therapist and we began unpacking all the pain in a safe environment.  I still remember staring at her business card the first time I anxiously dialed her number.

The compassionate voice on the other end answered and within a few days I was sitting in her office where  the dam broke of my emotions, and I sobbed out my story to her. The next few months are a blur, as I treated with professionalism and compassion.  She has never broken my confidence.

After a several months had gone by my therapist recommended that I attend a support group for survivors of human trafficking. Sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings in a group setting was something I did not believe I would ever be able to do. However, after listening to the members tell their stories, I realized that my deepest secrets had been experienced by others. Though some of the details were different, the underlying issues were amazingly similar. The looks of understanding that passed between us gave us all strength to move forward as we were restructuring our lives.

 My coping skills were weak, but as usual, my stubborn streak was a mile long. I devoured the information from the human trafficking support group and completed my writing assignments assigned by my therapist with zeal — much to my therapists delight.

But, my therapist continued to point out that the little girl inside of myself also needed tender loving care.

Gradually I learned how I could stop being a doormat. Slowly, I began to make decisions which reflected my own strengths and desires instead of worrying so much about what others thought of me.    I stopped worrying so much about the future. I took it one day at a time.

I am still a care-taker.  Often still tend to second and third guess myself.  I remain somewhat of a people-pleaser at heart but I now realize that the difficulties which I endured have enabled me to see past the mundane chores of daily life, and to appreciate the need to also care for myself.

The thing I lack and desire with all my heart is to feel secure in the knowledge that God really does love me even as a result of my many physical and also emotional scars. Since God is perfect, I was left with believing that I am not worthy of being loved and protected by Him.  I want to rest and be able to truly believe He’s not disappointed nor mad at me.  That I can come to Him just as I am with all of my shameful scars.  With the pain I still hold in my heart….

Maybe someday…

 

Psalm 56-8

Attention: Cathy Has Left the Basement and Is Never Going Back

Warning:  I’m ticked.

There came a time when I finally began to set boundaries on abusive behavior.

However, my abusers are not known for going off quietly into the night.

Suddenly having me grow a back-bone to challenge them,

or even to walk away from them, was an affront my abusers simply refused to accept.

I may be have decided by placing boundaries I would no longer accept their abuse.

Depending on the situation, I either chose I am going to speak up for

myself and others, or chose to walk away.

Although in my mind  the gig was up,

but it’s never over for them.  They always have one more thing to say.

For too many years, I was the little girl in the basement.

First on the farm, and then the girl with her bed in the corner of the basement in

my foster/adoptive parents home.  I was made to be the brunt of jokes

about my intellect (or lack of),  my looks;

my physical scars from the burns; the fact I wasn’t “blood”;

…. the list is seemingly endless.

To survive, I even laughed along but was inwardly crying.

But the biggest thing, other than overt abuse,  I was  invisible.

To this day, my adoptive family members attempt to talk about me in the third

person in my presence.  (I say attempt because they don’t get away with that

one any-longer.)

One of my abusers appears to feel deprived of the opportunity to vent;

to unburden himself all over me. To tell me a thing or two.

But, not to worry.  As the old saying goes necessity is the mother of invention.

The fact that I may no longer in contact with them,

rest assured that my abusers will still find a way to harass by proxy.

He is simply been “forced” to become creative in order to get

their message through to me.

Many abusers either can’t handle a direct confrontation.  They may realize that I may possibly

refuse to speak to them if they contact me directly.

So they will enlist someone else to do their dirty work for them. – a “Devil’s Advocate” since,

despite any claims of neutrality, what he/she is truly doing

Child abuse is a shadowis advocating for an abuser.

One of my abusers has point-blank asked members of his church,  fellow pastors,

another relative, or even attempted to manipulate my best friend to speak with me on his behalf.

Depending on who he is speaking to about me, he might go on and on,

crying a river to anyone who will listen,

pretending that he loves and misses me so much and has no idea why I am acting this way

– in general acting as pathetic as possible.

He saves this performance for church members, fellow pastors;

even one licensed Christian therapist from his flock whom I have never once seen

to “diagnose” me;  select members of his family;

until some meddling busybody takes pity on him and decides to “intervene” (translate:  butt-in)

by volunteering to “help” him patch things up, or criticizing me for hurting my abuser.

When this happens, sometimes the Buttinski may pretend

that she or he just can’t stand to see the two of us are “having problems.”

This Buttinski chooses to take it upon himself to contact me, of course claiming

to be doing so without  my abuser’s knowledge.

This is a lie I’m long-ago been onto. The lie I’m told to make me think the

“well intentioned” Buttinski really is  neutral

and is not taking sides.  That the Buttinski  can trusted not to

repeat whatever I might say.

I can be sure Buttinski will report every detail back to my abuser,

who knows perfectly well that Buttinski is contacting me  because he either

put Buttinksi up to it, or he has otherwise manipulated said Buttinski.

 

Early on, I believed most of the pastors who made phony,  half-hearted attempts

to get my ‘side of the story.’

I was hurting and wanted so desperately to believe the clergy- member-meddlers

really truly wanted to hear what I had to say.

I was hemorrhaging years of emotional pain from years of abuse.

At that time, I wanted badly to believe these people were indeed

interested in helping me. I probably unloaded 20 years on them.

Because I truly did believe them.

I’m by no means the only one to fall for this tactic.  In fact, I know of several victims,

or should I say “escapees”, who did indeed start unloading  on their clergy Buttinskis.

Who told the ugly truth concerning years of abuse, only to have the

clergy-Buttinski  begin giving advice.

Advice such as about how it’s time for the victim to give over to God, not talk about it anymore lest it

damage the cause of Christ and roots of bitterness spring up in the victim and those who the victim told.

Or clergy-Buttinksi start squirming uncomfortably and mumble something about how

it’s really none of his business anyway…

He really doesn’t want to get involved, and maybe throw in,  “Oh, look at the time,

I’m running late- Gotta’ go!”

As soon as they hear what was really going on all those years,

many of suddenly get a bad case of Stay Out Of It.

 

One of my abusers has at least one (most likely more than one)

attention-grabbing narcissist who has been more

than happy to attempt to exploit my heartache, suffering, and distress so that he can

take the credit for trying to “make peace” between me and my abuser.

He bathes in the praise he receives for having the courage

to get involved – trying to “help.”

It makes him feel important to have everyone know about the noble and selfless thing he’s doing.

At the beginning he attempted to pry, asking all kinds of nosy questions

that are none of his business in a sham attempt at “finding a compromise”.

He wants to be the big-shot with the insider information that the abuser

wants to hear. The very first time I discovered he had announced

a very small thing

(unbeknownst to him, I was  testing him)

that I’d confided in him at family gathering,

discussing our conversation, in appropriately

hushed tones and with his a phony look of somber concern,

I never divulged another thing.

The attention-grabbing narcissist thought nothing of breaking my confidence.

And how they love to cluck their tongues at my “trust issues.”

He has use my pain to get attention.   All the while telling himself and anyone else

he is the “peace-maker”in this situation.

Of course he has to broadcast his “selfless acts.”

After all, what good are “selfless acts” if no one knows of them?

This particular Buttinski’s chooses moments with the most embarrassment impact.

Nothing plays into an attention-grabbing narcissists

hands better than having an audience when he chooses to face me.

The audience could be other relatives or perfect strangers in a restaurant.

It doesn’t matter much if I’m present or not.  His best audience of all are friends or acquaintances of

mine who don’t know him because then,

in his eyes at least, he can make me look bad to people who know me.

He has the added plus of telling people he will never see again.

This attention-grabbing Buttinski has even gone on the internet and set up many sites.

Easter weekend he found days-old comments I had authored on a facebook page

of an organization advocating for the sexually abused just

to take a pathetic opportunity to slam me.

When he was banned from slimming his caustic remarks

on that page – he was the victim.

And the fact he was banned was my fault.

His actions had nothing to do his have been banned.  Nope.

In his zeal to put me on the spot, this self-righteous

Buttinski is either completely oblivious,

or he revels in the to the pain he has caused those

unfortunate innocent bystanders on that page.

Narcissistic attention-grabbing Buttinskis aren’t exactly known for their

charm and good manners.

He didn’t spend a lot of time reading etiquette books.

He makes a habit of bulldozing through other

people’s pain appearing to be oblivious to the vulgarity

of causing a scene in public website where many

sexual abuse victims find comfort and encouragement.

 

I’ve learned over time, whatever method a Buttinski may use, Buttinksi’s

are not the least bit interested in the truth.

They just pretend that they are, long enough to get around to whatever points

they want to make. And Lord knows after they’ve been enlightened.

They’re sure not going to be courageous enough to go

back to the abuser nor defend me.

They’re certainly not going to be man or woman enough

to apologize for any pain the Buttinski has caused myself or those around me.

You see, although they pretend to be, they don’t really want to help.

They don’t really want to “do the right thing”.  That is simply not how they work.

If the definition of “peacemaking” is “establishing a state of harmony between people”,

then the place to start is with the one who causes all the disharmony.

If the “peacemaker” were to face the abuser  about his behavior.

Get the abuser to agree to admit to what the abuser has done.

Then the Buttinski can approach as me victim and soothe my anxieties

by being willing to jump through whatever hoops needed to gain my trust.

 

 

My Buttinksis won’t do this because:

***They may too intimidated by the abuser to face him, but have no problem

confronting me as the victim, whom is perceived as the “weaker” or at least too “irrational”

to be deserving of any courtesy.  

I’m but an object. Not a flesh and blood human being with feelings.

***Despite the claim of wanting harmony, what they really want is the status quo.

Some thrive on a constant state of crisis and chaos,

and torturous gatherings suit them just fine.  Perhaps they liked seeing me as a victim stuck

 in a hopeless situation, because they were just a little sadistic and cruel, too?

Or maybe more than a little bit.

Others feel better about themselves if they can view me as still a victim

who is helpless.  And because misery loves company;

feel better about their own miserable  lives if I am as miserable as they are.

***Some Buttinskis may have had issues with me all along

just because jealousy and resentment – I took “their place” in the family.

Or it may be something of just the way God made me. They

like to tell me how “different” I am from the rest.

They do not really have my best interests at heart but often pressured  me accept my

“place” which was remaining willing to keep accepting the abuse.

 They are being holier-than-thou Buttinski.

These Buttinskis attempt to make themselves look good at my expense.

They are trying to prove to myself and to everyone else, that they are a better person than I am.

If they were me they would have long-ago just “gotten’ over it.”

***Some are looking for attention for themselves and gratitude for their efforts.

If they can succeed in smoothing things over or getting information out of me,

then the abuser will be beholden to them. There’s nothing like having

the abuser owe you one.  They like having “inside information”.

They love knowing that their approval or disapproval meant

so much to me as the victim that I was willing

to once again allow myself to be abused rather than lose their love.

If they can convince me as a victim to once again knuckle under then

they get to look like the hero in their mind.

To this Buttinksi, “peace” just means everything

going back to “normal”.  Just like it always was, with the abuser’s behavior

just as bad as ever, everyone else overlooking it and pretending it’s not

really a problem.

Myself and any of his other victims suffering in silence and not rocking the boat.

In this situation it could be said that everyone will have peace except the victims.

Victims peace do not count.

Victims need to be kept in line.

 If only I would just suck it up, stop complaining, plaster a smile on my face.

Shut up about being abused then everything could all get back to normal.

But. I’m not that little girl in the basement anymore.

The solution to achieving peace lies not in convincing

me to accept abuse.

I’m not as I once was – cowed into silence.

A true peacemaker would be willing to defend and protect the innocent;

to have the courage to take a stand up against evil;

to change things for the better.  Then, and only then, will any meddler

deserve to take any credit whatsoever for bringing for any semblance of peace.

 

Psalm 56-8

I ‘Gave Into Abuse’

Serious Trigger Warning!

Someone once told me I was at least partly in the wrong because I had ‘given into abuse.’ 

First of all, I was a child.  But let’s leave that aside for now…allow me to explain.

There were times when I did ‘give into abuse’ for a plate of food and a glass of ice tea.

I remember without food; locked down in that basement. I smelled the aroma of their dinner through the floorboards over my head. It made me feel crazy. I often sat at the make-shift table (an old door that they laid across cinder blocks) and pretended to eat. In my mind, I saw an enormous plate of delicious food and bit at invisible mashed potatoes. That is how desperate I was to eat.

Starvation will make you crazy. It will literally eat away at your brain making your thoughts unclear and your responses erratic; Cleo and Lou knew this and used that knowledge as a tool. They used to lock me a basement (or outside in the barn) after the ‘customers’ were finished.

To fight loneliness I had elaborate fantasies about “The Six Million Dollar Man” crashing into the house to rescue me. Rushing in, he would explain how the earth swallowed him whole and he was trapped inside it. How he battled demons through fire pits of molten lava to save me and that’s why it took so long. But then I opened my eyes and faced–reality. “The Six Million Dollar Man” would never rescue me. I had been forgotten, like a dirty rag in a landfill. No one cared what happened to me, I was the unlovable “damn kid.” “Damn kid” was what Cleo called me.

On occasion I would only get to eat if I ‘earned’ it. ‘At times, it meant I had to beg these “customers” to abuse me so I could ‘earn’ food.

This particular time, there were no customers for a few days. I was in the basement and my Cleo decided a few days before that I would eat again would make me compliant to do a specific disgusting sexual act one particular ‘customer’ wanted. 

I was so hungry. I remember Cleo coming down the basement stairs. She stood in front of me and told me this particular man had arrived.  She asked me if I were ready to eat.  Cleo  took me to the kitchen where she showed me  fried chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans. She put the food on a plate. On the counter sat a picture of iced tea. He said, “and you want this,” he said, (motioning to the food).

As I reached for the plate he said, “Tell me you want me.”

I gave in and said yes to him. When he finished with me, he placed the plate of chicken, mashed potatoes and string beans and a glass of ice tea on the table.

I ate too quickly and vomited.

Yes, for a plateful of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans, and a glass of iced tea I ‘gave into abuse.’

For those who would criticize me of “giving into abuse,” I dare say if it he or she were the one that were locked in that basement, given the “choice” of dying from hunger and dehydration, they would choose to ‘give into abuse’ too. 

This wasn’t the only time I had to choose between eating and ‘giving into abuse’ for this customer.  I think it was part of his fantasy.’

It wasn’t about giving into abuse. It was about survival.

Psalm 56-8

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

 

 

Victim Blaming in So “Cool!”

A person or persons has created many (at present count around a dozen) facebook pages with variations of “BJU Truth.”  The person or persons responsible takes down one page and then just as quickly opens up another.

Last night, this person(s) took aim in an apparent attempt to libel old me into silence by posting the following on this facebook page.
They say a picture paints a thousand words.  How about four screencaps?

 

 

BJUTruth-1

 

BJUTruth-2

 

BJUTruth-3

 

BJUTruth-4

Bob Jones University is this the kind of behavior to which your sycophants resort in an attempt to discredit a witness who’s involved in an open investigation?  Where did they learn this behavior?  Are you okay with this type of behavior?

Is this idea of Christ-likeness by ridiculing a child rape survivor okay with you?

Decided to publicly expose this behavior:

victim blaming

 

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

Can You Hear Me Now?

Coming to terms with the abuse is one of the most horrific and confusing things I’ve ever done.  For many years I worked hard to avoid thinking about it because of intense emotions – shame, guilt, sadness, anger, isolation, and complete and utter despair.

Why did I remain silent for so many years?

First of all, I was never completely silent. There were times I had attempted to tell what happened.  Every time I opened up–even a little–I was blamed.  I tried to tell one of my elementary school teachers.  She told me she was going to take me to the pastor.  I knew I would be in trouble for telling those secrets, so I tried to take back what I said, and then was severely punished for lying. As a young teen I tried to open up to a male Christian Counselor to whom I was taken. I had just gotten out I was ‘touched’ when he asked if I’d ever taken part in the sin of masturbation.

So, I shut down.  

Silence became the only “solution,” the only “safe-place”- even though there is nothing further from the truth. The silence turned into the worst tormentor and filled me with pain of the utmost intensity.  But mostly I hated myself.  I believed I was unworthy of love as a result I became a magnet for abusive relationships.  Abuse was what I deserved.

I shut down to up to the point my body and mind could no longer contain the secrets they were holding.

In my twenties something triggered it all and the fact I was molested and sexually abused as a child, not once, but several times, by several different people came pouring out like I was hemorrhaging emotional pain much like if I were to hemorrhage literal blood from a severed artery. I was a suffering mess. I begged for help. One of the things the Christian Counselor did was ask me if I’d enjoyed any part of the sexual abuse that I needed to ask God to forgive me for those feelings.

I was quite young when I was first molested and was completely horrified, shocked and confused.  I was left with guilt on top of guilt– I was responsible for what happened.  

One of the most shocking aspects of my abuse are the identities of the abusers, because they were all those people believe “could never” abuse. They were well-respected married, fathers, and the two farm hands. These were not only people I should have been able to trust, these were the ones who, due to their positions as Christian leaders, had others trust.  As a result when I divulged most of their names, speaking of it would damage the cause of Christ was flung in my face.   I was labeled and rejected and it was incredibly painful for me. I was treated as the cause of the problem.  I was the one destroying their blissful reality that these things just didn’t happen in this corner of Christianity.  The abusers walked away unscathed and scot-free, their sick behavior was defended – while the child I was who had been so brutally violated was accused and left to suffer.  I am the one, even today, many Christians attempt to shut me up by screaming that I’m “just”….bitter, angry, an unbeliever and a laundry list of other labels because I am at last telling of these unholy acts.

It matters not if you dislike my ‘tone’; nor how I respond to your accusations of anger and bitterness.  It matters not if you think I’m doing this because I ‘hate’ the Church or Christianity.  Although those accusations are false there isn’t much I can do or say to change your opinion.  If you truly believe these things, isn’t it best you grant that same love, forgiveness, grace and mercy toward me that you are so keen on granting abusers and those who covered for my abusers?

The facts are; there are no excuses for defending the abusers. Yes, maybe they are ‘nice’ guys, kind fathers, or the all-too-familiar attempt Christians use as justification “he is a man of God” – but this is not an answer and in no way changed the situation. The facts remain that they were my abusers. They are accountable for their actions. The little girl I once was and whom they chose to abuse could not and should not – in any way – be held guilty.

Psalm 56-8

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

Some of Her Secrets

There are times when she returns to the farm in her dreams.  She is once again locked in the basement listening for the sound of people walking about her knowing if she hears that sound she only has a few moments before someone is coming down to retrieve her….to do other things.

Although she looks like a very capable and stubborn 40-something now, but she keeps a secret. She experiences nightmares so terrifying that she awakens with a start, sweating, shaking and disoriented in the middle of the night.

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There are times when she re-lives being given the special treats she loved by a man….but then there was more he did.   There is confusion. The seven-year-old submits because she is unable say no.

Although she looks like a very capable and stubborn 40-something now, she keeps a secret.  She is still terrified of trusting, because it so often meant getting tricked and assaulted.

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There are times when she re-lives being an eleven-year-old, and Felix is still holding her down and doing whatever he chooses. She is still hearing his voice, and feeling his hot breath on her face and his cruel hands hurting her as he held roughly….but there was more he did.

She may seem to be a capable and stubborn 40-something now, but she keeps a secret. There are far too many times she still feels herself being violated.

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I was just a child when the abuse took place, but I never forgot. Never.

I knew no comfort. My survival depended on being as quiet and invisible as possible. My worth was non-existent, except for…..

Then there were voices that that told me what happened was my fault.  I’m still aching inside wanting desperately to shed the sign that I was once sure was branded on my forehead: “Damaged Goods.”

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I try to imagine what life could have been like for me. I even get a glimpse from time to time of the person locked inside. I’ll tell you a little secret about her. She has this delightful way with animals and sick children. They gravitate to her as if she is one of them. I think she longs for the innocence of childhood that was stolen so long ago. And adults, well lets just say she can make their blood pressure rise– but when they look, really look, they can see her if they will take a chance to get past her think wall she’s built to protect herself.

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To say that trauma has affected me mentally, physically and spiritually would be an understatement.  It is extremely hard to recover from its effects. Recent advancements in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), however, have demonstrated the neuroplasticity of even the lower brain, proving physiologically—that healing, though clearly challenging, is possible.

But how can you help?

You don’t need an advanced degree in medicine or psychology to be there for someone who is suffering. The awareness alone of how survivors are haunted by flashbacks and are trying to avoid certain triggers can help you respond with sincerity and compassion.

Here are some examples of things that are usually helpful (if done with sincerity):

● “I’m sorry.”

● “If you ever feel like talking, I am here to listen.”

● “I care about you.”

● “How can I be of help?”

● Don’t betray confidence.

Most importantly.  Don’t feel like you have to know the answers. Don’t be afraid to just be there and say:

● “I don’t know what to say.”

Psalm 56-8

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).