The one thing most Survivors want, more than anything else in life, is to be believed.. We don’t need pat answers — we aren’t looking for answers from you. We just want to be able to tell our story and hear, “I believe you.” We need our story believed.
Sadly, not every Survivor will find such validation.
For the most part, I have not ran into anyone, whether inside my family or out, that questioned the truth of my sotry. Sure, some didn’t understand the length of time it took me to overcome some of the issues associated with my past, but they never questioned my claims. No one accused me of making up a story. Not one of them said, “Hey, I don’t believe you were raped. Why are you making up such a horrific story about a friend of your father’s”?
If you read my last post you know, after 40 plus years, I have begun the journey to bring my rapist to justice. After speaking with NCIS the other day I discovered I needed more information about the man who abused me. I called the one person I knew could help me uncover some of the information I did not know. To my surprise, the conversation turned accusatory right off the bat.
“Why didn’t you ever say anything?”
“Why now, after all this time?”
“Honestly, I do think you made it all up to sell a book.”
Wow. That last one still hurts. Especially coming from a person I should be able to trust.
I hung up.
I couldn’t breathe.
I wanted to scream.
I was literally unprepared for the depth of emotion his response awakened in me. If anyone would have been watching me, I’m sure they would think I had gone completely mad.
I called my sister and could barely breathe enough to ask her if she could talk. I was crying hysterically. Thankfully, my sister was able to get me to take a deep breath and calm down enough to tell her what happened.
Still, days later, if I allow myself to dwell on that conversation, my stomach begins to turn into a knot and all I want to do is cry. I can still hear the venom of those words coming out of his mouth.
Validating a survivor is a necessary part of healing. It tells the victim they are worthy enough to be heard. They no longer have to remain silent. That condemning voice is dimmed.
I recently read a blog post, which I happen to agree with, that makes the statement about those who accuse a survivor: You are the second abuser.
Yes. If you have the audacity to accuse a survivor of making their story up (and yes, I know some stories are made up, but those few in no way make the majority), or, somehow, asking for it, you are just another abuser on their list. You are telling them the voice inside their head is right. They aren’t worthy. They deserve what happened to them. Your accusations tell them there is no hope.
Stop the abuse!
We need to speak out! Just as this blog post states, when we view the past, our brains view it as if it were in our present.
“When you recall something that hurt you, your brain goes into high alert. Your limbic system responds to that memory the way it responds to a real threat in the here and now. I’m talking about full-on flight-or-fight here; elevated pulse, rapid breathing, the works. The more that trauma was reinforced, the stronger the response from your limbic system.”
Speaking out about our abuse lessens the pain and offers relief. We might have to tell our story over and over, again. In doing so, the darkness begins to receive light, and we begin to heal.
That is why it is important to believe a survivor.
We need to heal.
We need to be believed.
You need to believe our story.
I have done it!
Today, because the state of Virginia no longer has a statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault, I have begun the process of bringing my rapist/molester to justice!!
I’m scared out of my mind. I don’t know what to expect — except the phone call from a Norfolk detective. I mean, I’ve seen television shows relating to this, but this is real life!! I have already spoken to a woman at NCIS (since my rapist was a military member when he assaulted me) who took down my information and story. I tried to remain matter of fact in my statement, but my nerves got the best of me and I broke down.
It’s been a long time since I’ve cried.
I hope to chronicle my journey here so that others, who wish to report their abusers in a non-statute of limitation state, will have the resources to do so.
This journey began with an article I read in Military Times (If I can find the article again, I will post it). The author of the article posted her email address and I contacted her. She, in turn, had the right people contact me.
One of the phone numbers given to me is for the RAINN organization. This organization can help you find your starting point if you so choose to bring your abuser to justice. They will also help you find resources in your area for counseling services.
Today, I begin a new journey. While I wait I ask for your prayers.
I enter the Holy of Holies and immediately fall to my knees. There is a peaceful hush underneath the voices of singing angels. Their melody pierces my heart. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! Worthy is He who was, and is, and is to come!”
I am surrounded by God’s glory. It radiates from the center and collides with every corner only to rebound, and fill the center again. The Creator of the Universe shines through this place; his presence, like rays of sunshine, illuminating every particle of my being. The Light of the World. His presence is palpable flowing from the throne. It is breathable. It is all power, it is holiness and all goodness.
I begin to tremble in fear. What am I doing here? Why did I come? Who am I to be in his presence?
His glory penetrates my heart and soul, and I begin to cry.
“Unworthy! Unworthy!” I hide my face. I cover my eyes with my hands. “I am not even worthy to look upon your righteousness!!” I have no excuse to tell. No reason why. I feel so filthy kneeling there, as if every single sin shouts to God, “She is guilty! She is guilty!” I raise my voice in shameful acknowledgment. “Unworthy! Unworthy!” Fear threatens to overtake me. I should not be here in the presence of such holiness! I might die if I stay!
And yet, here I am.
I am in the presence of God, himself. The One who parted the waters of the Red Sea! The Great I AM! His glory covering every part of my body.
As I cowered on my knees a truth entered my mind.
I felt the stirring in my soul. Hope began to rise. Tears flowed down my face as I looked up, toward God’s presence, and began to boldly proclaim, “Only by the blood! Only by the blood! It is only by the blood that I am worthy to be here! Only by the blood! Only by the precious blood of Jesus Christ can I enter into the presence of a Holy God!”
Truly, though my sins were like scarlet, they have been washed white as snow. Because of what Jesus Christ has done, no longer was I a sin encrusted soul, but a Bride, washed clean, dressed in bright linen, pure, and worthy to kneel before him and behold his very presence.
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:51
Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard, two of the victim sisters of Josh Duggar, broke their silence on The Kelly File Friday night. I watched, intently, to see how they spoke about their abuse, and how they reacted to personal questions regarding said abuse. And, do you know what I saw?
I saw tears, too, but not where I expected them.
I expected the girls to break down when they were asked about what their brother did. I expected them to react like I did — like so many of us do when we recount our abuse — with tears, anger, and yes, some bitterness that Josh Duggar stole something precious from them — their innocence.
But, they didn’t.
Their body language was relaxed. They looked at ease through most of the interview. They smiled, laughed, and comfortably spoke about what took place in their home. It wasn’t until the subject of the media was brought up that, at least, Jill’s body language changed. She stiffened up and began to cry as she gave her personal feelings about the release of their sealed report. Jill recalled calling her husband on that day, over two weeks ago, when In Touch Magazine posted the police report for all the world to see.
“We’re victims,” Jill Duggar Dillard exclaimed. “How can they do that to us?”
Jill continued to fight back her emotions as she explained how they felt they were being re-victimized “a thousand times worse” than the original offense. She, and sister Jessa, both said multiple times, “We had already dealt with it, we moved on. Josh confessed to us, we forgave him; we moved on.”
So, why can’t America let it go?
Is it because we are disgusted with this kind of “sin”? As well we should be. As one who has endured years of childhood sexual abuse, I can say first hand that molestation is disgusting. It is vile. It is reprehensible. Repulsive. Repugnant. Vicious. Nasty. Shocking. Appalling. And, yes, contemptible. A lot of the posts I have seen over the past few weeks express those very words. Some would like nothing better than to take Josh Duggar out behind the woodshed and execute him. We have no problem understanding, or accepting, the words that express our disgust of Josh’s actions. We applaud those words. We exhort those words. But, there is another word we’ve heard that makes us just as mad as Josh Duggars actions against his sisters and baby sitter. A word that infuriates us and enrages us, and causes us to strike out in shock and disbelief that such a word could even be muttered over such a reprobate .
WHAT? Forgiven? How could anyone forgive what he has done? He’s a pig. A worm. He doesn’t deserve to live. I’ve seen the words written all over the internet, newspaper sites, blog posts, Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds… they’ve all basically said the same thing. “Josh Duggar is a vile human being, and therefore must be punished in a manner that is acceptable to us.”
But, we don’t get to make that call, do we?
Josh didn’t molest us, he molested his sisters and baby sitter, and they are the only ones who get to determine whether or not he is forgiven. Period. And they chose to forgive him.
Deal with it, America.
I was very impressed by Jill and Jessa. They have given us a peek into something holy. A humble, beautiful example of Agape Love. True love that covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Along with a heart of love, they have given us a clear example of what true forgiveness looks like. A perfect example of how our LORD, Jesus Christ, treats every one of us who repent and turn from our sin to follow him.
The Duggar girls aren’t angry. The don’t exhibit signs of bitterness. They aren’t bashing their brother. Instead, their words toward him are seasoned with grace and mercy. They have said they have dealt with it, they have forgiven him, and they have moved on.
I believe them.
Is it possible, the reason we are so outraged is because we just expect the Duggar girls to feel the same way we do over our own abuses (or how we feel over a family member/friend who was abused)? And, because they don’t we think there must be something wrong with them?
I mean, who does that?
Because forgiveness doesn’t release the offender from the responsibility of his or her actions, rather, it releases the victim from the prison of emotional upheaval and life altering issues caused by the offenders actions.
The Duggar girls understand this.
They don’t need our help. No matter how much we think our two cents (even this blog post) is spot on, they don’t need our help. They’ve got it covered. And, they don’t need the internet counseling sessions. Their family dealt with Josh’s abuse. DCFS cleared the parents, and even complimented them on how they handled the situation. And, certainly, the girls don’t need our criticism for their right to forgive their brother.
These girls have suffered twice now.
It’s time to allow them the dignity to live their own lives with their own convictions.
Jesus was full of it. Every where he went he showed compassion to those who flocked toward him. He was especially compassionate toward children. And, children responded with joy. I can see them giggling and smiling, all wanting Jesus to pick them up or let them sit on his lap. I’m sure Jesus smiled at each child who unabashedly ran to him.
The Disciples rebuked the parents who brought their children to Jesus. But, Jesus rebuked them. He said,
“Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom from heaven belongs to people like these.” Matthew 19:14
In this video you will meet little Judah. His mother shares his story, and how the illness he was born with, inspired her to sponsor a child through Compassion International.
That is why I am writing today.
Those of you who have followed me, and continue to read my blog in spite of the fact I have allowed way too much time to pass from the last time I posted, will begin to see blog posts about Compassion International. I have recently become a Compassion Blogger, and encourage each of you to do a couple of things after watching the video and reading this blog.
Jesus said if we give just a cup of cold water to a child in need, in his name, we certainly would not lose our reward (Mark 9:41). There are so many children who grow up in profound poverty and do not have access to decent healthcare. Many of them suffer with the same ailment as little Judah does. But, you can help.
1. Go to Compassion International and,
2. Sponsor a child today.
Jesus was full of it..
I was 28 years old with two children, ages one and two, and five months pregnant with my third when I met with a counselor. I needed courage to leave my abusive husband and thought I could find some there.
Counselor: “Tell me about your childhood.”
Me: (Thinking what does my childhood have to do with anything?) “Well, it was a childhood. You know… normal.”
Counselor: “It was happy??
Me: “I don’t know. It was… norm… (a dam of memories breaks open in my mind)… wait, no, that’s not right.”
Counselor: “What isn’t right”?
Me: “My childhood. It wasn’t normal. I was mo… (there is a flood of emotions rising to the surface)… I was mol… (I am having trouble saying the word. My throat is closing off my words. Tears are choking me). I was molested”!
As that realization tumbled to the forefront of my mind, I felt as though my life shattered into a million tiny pieces. Each shard stabbing me with it’s truth. As the details began spilling out, my soul felt like it was being ripped apart. The pain was excruciating. Unbearable.
I don’t know how long I cried, but when I calmed down he asked…
Counselor: “How have you handled all of that”?
The truth is, most of us don’t know how to “handle” what we’ve been through. We’ve turned to food, sex, drugs, alcohol, self harm — other avenues to dull the pain. We don’t want to feel that kind of pain so we stuff it further and further down by any other thing that makes us feel better.
The other part of the truth is, this: We can’t heal unless we allow the reality of abuse, and the pain, to rise to the surface. To be validated. To be known. To be released.
No matter how painful it is, facing our past needs to be done in order to heal. Mine pounced on me while looking for an ounce of courage. I’m glad it did because today, the pain is no more.
What God has done for me, he WILL do for you!
Many nights, throughout my life, were filled with deep sorrow, hours of shed tears, and my mouth open in silent screams. I didn’t know how to verbalize what I felt inside. Dead. Betrayed. Hurt. Shattered. Alone. Desperate. Needy. Just tears and silent screams. I don’t remember saying too much, except, “Oh, God.” But, God still heard me, and understood. It was during this time I wrote the following:
Whispers in the Dark
The darkest, quietness of night
In stillness as you lay;
The only sound or rhythm heard
Are words your mouth can’t say.
The tears that burn your sleepy eyes
A fist in anger clenched;
The cry that asks “Why me, Oh Lord?”
The soul, in anguish drenched.
And though it can’t be verbalized
Into a single word;
A whisper’s heard with every beat
Your heart is being heard.
God hears you, Beloved. Even though you think he has ignored you. Even when you think he doesn’t care. But wait, if you listen long enough, you can hear it. In the stillest, quietness of night, the heart will whisper the tale of its journey to its Creator. And, there in the darkness…God is whispering back.
Excerpt from, “Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault.