Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘molestation

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”?

Until now.

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.

Talking helped.

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.

Thank you!

Courtesy of ShutterStock

Courtesy of ShutterStock

“It’s in the past, get over it.”

How many times have you heard that?

Exactly what is meant by “get over it”?

Do they mean:
Stop being so needy?
Quit crying?
Act normal?
Quit being a drama queen.
Stop rehashing the same old story?

Throughout my journey to heal people quoted that exact phrase to me. People, who did not understand the process of healing. Well meaning people who didn’t understand why I couldn’t let go the past. They didn’t understand the underlying issues associated with sexual abuse. I was accused of being a drama queen. Of loving attention. I heard, “It happened such a long time ago, Cheryl, you just need to let it go now.”

They were well-meaning, but they were wrong.

Most of the time, when I heard those words, I became angry. Angry because, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t “get over” what happened. I couldn’t flip a switch to turn off the internal roller coaster. I tried to get better by reading self-help books– I devoured them. I tried talking to myself positively and ended up berating myself for not believing. I did bible studies only to believe God must intend pain and suffering for my life. I did everything I knew in order to “get over” the years of rape and molestation. Yet, my pain and anguish of yesterday still ruled my today’s.

I couldn’t “Get Over It.”

For the longest time I felt as though something was mentally wrong with me. I thought, “I must have some kind of psychological problem, and that is why I can’t “get over” my abuse.” How many times have we told ourselves that very thing? That has to be the reason, right? Otherwise, I would be strong enough to overcome… wouldn’t I?

Isn’t that what we are taught?

Ignore it, it will go away.
The past doesn’t matter, it’s over.
Don’t talk about it, it just brings up bad memories.
The past is just that; past. It’s over, don’t dwell on it.

Those phrases almost sound like good logic. And there are plenty who talk a good game, but you know what? The past doesn’t stay in the past. It resurrects itself in the present. The past creates problems now. It oozes into your relationships, and spills out into every aspect of your life. In reality, your childhood trauma not only affects you, but it affects everyone around you. Maybe that is the real reason we’re told to “get over it.” If Childhood Sexual Assault stayed in the past, where it belonged, those of us who have been abused would lead happier, more productive lives. But the past doesn’t stay buried, does it? The pain of childhood rape and molestation does not understand it should not show up in the here and now.

You can’t just “Get Over It.”

Childhood Sexual Assault is not an illness one recovers from quickly. There isn’t a prescription we can take to clear it up. We can’t wash it away with a few scented baths. We can’t talk ourselves out of the pain. We can mask it, we can cover it over and think we have healed, but unless we experience true healing, our past will continue to affect us. It isn’t easy to just “Get Over It.” It takes real healing, not to “get over it,” but to overcome every single issue of Childhood Sexual Assault.

Healing is a journey — a series of small steps — lasting years. A journey designed to uncover every issue affecting our lives, and one that must be walked out day by day. One step at a time. One issue at a time. One layer at a time. Peeling back each layer and inviting God to deal with the wound.

My hope, through the things I post here on Whispers, is that those who have never been assaulted at any time in your life, will find an understanding into the heart of the one who has. Maybe a post will help you understand your sister, your mother, your friend, your neighbor or your co-worker. Maybe you will have more patience when you hear their story for the one thousandth time. Maybe, by reading this blog, you will find more compassion for the struggles and set backs those who are overcoming sexual abuse face. If nothing else, maybe the words, “It’s in the past, get over it,” will never be said again.

Cheryl Thompson is an award-winning poet, and author, and single mom to Trey, Charlie, and Brett, and “Gammy” to Dillinger. She’s got a few degrees, but most of her learning came from very difficult seasons in her childhood, and adulthood. Through it all, Cheryl learned an importance for keeping a heart tender for God. She is a freelance writer and blogger, who has been published in the FaithWriters quarterly book, FaithWriters online magazine, the 2009 Christ For the Nations—60 Years of Service coffee table book. She has published articles in Heart Magazine 2012 and WHOA Women Magazine 2013. Cheryl’s first book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, was published in November 2009 and awarded the Christian Choice Book Award 2010.

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I was on a rampage last night.
I had read an article stating the American Psychiatric Association was going to re-define pedophilia as a sexual orientation.
I saw red.
I wanted to blast the APA.

Then today I read this:

“APA stands firmly behind efforts to criminally prosecute those who sexually abuse and exploit children and adolescents. We also support continued efforts to develop treatments for those with pedophilic disorder with the goal of preventing future acts of abuse.”

You can read the entire article here:

I made a huge mistake.
I let my emotions take over instead of researching it totally.
I let my anger rise up and wanted to lash out.

Especially when I read things like this: An Italian Appeals court reverses a 5-year prison sentence against a 60-year old pedophile because the 11-year old girl professes to love him. They were found in bed together, naked, at his seaside cottage. What makes this worse is, the child is from a disadvantaged background and the man, who works for social services took her in.

The Italian court will further victimize this girl if they allow this man to go free.

Then I read this: Where a convicted pedophile has YET to serve out one day of his 43-year sentence due to a rare bond that allows him to remain free while the case is tried on appeal, which could take years. Meanwhile, the victim lives in fear and the father anguishes.

And then there is this one: where a judge gives such a lenient sentence for a convicted pedophile, even after the judge heard letters from the girls and how the abuse affected them.

I don’t understand this.
It boggles my mind.
Not to mention what it does to those kids who were brave enough to break the silence in spite of their fear.

What kind of message do we send the victims when Judges are lenient? Or worse, when they ignore the abuse altogether?

I know eventually there will be a judgement seat where all sins are judged righteously. There will be no political correctness; no media spins; no threats, just God requiring of every man and woman an account of their lives. Then true justice will be served.

Until then we must speak up.
We need to take the power away from those who abuse little children.
The silence must be broken.

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(Courtesy 123RF)
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed
Psalm 139:16 (NIV).

It was a struggle for me to understand.
Before I was ever born, God knew what would take place in my life… and he let it happen. He knew what those men would do to me, even before they were ever born… and he allowed them to be born. He allowed them to grow into men who would sexually abuse little girls.

Why?

That question plagued me for years. It was the source of my discontent with God. The wall that separated us.

Why? God seemed distant. Cold. Uncaring.

Why became the reason of disbelief.

Why? You must not love me. If God loved me, he wouldn’t have let this happen. He would have protected me. He would have answered my pleas for help.

Why became my reason for rebellion.

Why? If you don’t love me enough to keep me safe, then I won’t love you. God doesn’t deserve my devotion. I will live my life for myself. I will do what I want to do. I will use men the way they used me.

Why became self preservation and protection.

Why? Since you don’t love me enough to protect me, then I will live for myself. No one will get close enough to hurt me that way, ever again. I will keep relationships at an arms length. I won’t be vulnerable again.

Why became the fuel for my anger.

Why? You don’t care! God doesn’t care, so why should I? God doesn’t protect people, he is a distant, angry, uncaring deity that doesn’t deserve me. In fact, I hate him! If I could, I would slap him in the face for tricking me into thinking he did care about me.

Funny, even in my anger I didn’t deny God existed…

It’s hard to reconcile a loving, caring, personal God with the bad taking place our lives. One who knew everything there is to know before we even existed. We associate love and protection together. We love our own children and we protect them… or, we love our brother, sister, spouse and we protect them. We do everything we can to make sure they do not suffer. So, when bad things happen to good people (especially) we can’t wrap our minds around it. It is almost unfathomable to us that an All-Powerful God, who certainly has the ability to stop bad things from taking place, doesn’t.

It’s taken me the majority of my life to come to terms with it. Why? no longer haunts me. Sure, I still have questions, but those questions don’t stand in a gulf between God and me. God really doesn’t mind the questions.

In all of the days God saw for me, before even one of them began, just as our verse states, some one else was making plans. Someone who did not have my best interest at heart. Someone whose plan was to destroy my life with God before that relationship ever had a chance to begin.

The scriptures tell us, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is the god of this world.

Look at what I John 3:7 & 8 says:

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you. Whoever does what God approves of has God’s approval as Christ has God’s approval. The person who lives a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does.

By his Word, we know those who are not following God — obeying his commands — follow Satan, whether they accept it or not. Those men and women under Satan’s power are influenced to behave as he would have them behave, to accomplish his end. He [Satan] used those men, in their sin, to create havoc in my life. The ultimate purpose was to destroy my relationship with God (See John 10:10). To thwart the good plans God had for me (See Jer. 29:11).

God gave those men in my past a choice. They chose to sin against God by disobeying his command. And, they chose to sin against me by giving into their sin. Their choices had no bearing whatsoever on God’s intention for me and my life. Not then, and not ever.

Does that make sense?

One of the greatest things God gave us, other than his Son dying for our salvation, is the ability to make choices. We aren’t robots. We have a conscience that should help control our actions. But, when sin has such a grip on us — and child molesters are definitely held in the grip of that sin — personal control may or may not be that easy.

In my opinion — and this is just my opinion, I haven’t done any research to back this up… yet — Sexual sins are harder to control because of the physical pleasures they produce. The chemicals exploding in our bodies during sexual pleasures are very intimate and personal, and once they begin, are hard to get back under control. This is how I view my rapist, and my molesters. Men, so deeply trapped in their sexual sin, unable to resist the urges that plague their minds and their bodies.

Even though I understand what happened back then, it neither excuses their behavior, nor does it absolve them. I believe, with every fiber of my being they will be held accountable, and if the blood of Jesus has not covered their sin, that particular sin of rape and molestation will be the nails securing the lids on their coffins. They will have to stand before the Living God and answer to him.

Yes, God saw every one of my days, including the ones where terror and pain existed, before even one of them ever came into being. He saw them and provided the way in which those days could be overcome.

Isaiah 61:1 Jubilee Bible 2000
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound;

That is the message today. God saw every one of your days, before they ever began. He knew the pain and terror that would fill some of those days, and he provided the way for you to overcome. He provided Jesus, not only as salvation for your soul, but as healer for your heart.

Be Blessed and #WalkInTruthToday

Boy, it’s hot!
Are we there yet?
I’m thirsty.
The sand is burning my toes!
It’s really hot.
And, I’m really thirsty… and hungry.
Why can’t we go back?
I want to go back!
We should have never come!

The children of Israel had witnessed miracle after miracle in the few short weeks since they left the confines of their prison. The land of Egypt. Pharaoh. Forced labor. Cruel taskmasters.

God showed them his might and power. His strength. He had parted the red sea. He went before them in a cloud by day, and a column of fire by night. In this time, he had provided them and all of their livestock with enough water to keep them hydrated. God went over and beyond what was necessary while leading the children of Israel around in the desert for forty years.

And yet, they grumbled.
They weren’t satisfied.
They were hot.
They were tired.
They wanted a Big Gulp.
Well, okay, there weren’t any 7-Eleven’s back then, but they were thirsty.
They wanted to go back to Egypt.

Wait.
Why would they want to go back to a place of slavery? A place of turmoil and hard, cruel labor? A place of sadness? Where taskmasters beat them for any and all reasons? It certainly couldn’t be for the pots of meat they said they missed. Ok, well, maybe the did miss the onions and the leeks… they didn’t have a garden in the desert. And, Safeway wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind at this point.

They grumbled and complained.
They weren’t satisfied.
On a trip that should have only taken them ten days, they wondered for forty years. Round and round and round they go…

Why?

Why wouldn’t they make a straight B-Line to their land of Promise? Why drag over a million people through the desert sands?

Deuteronomy 8:2 tells us:
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way these 40 years in the desert, to humble and test you in order to make known what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (ISV)

Ew.
We have the privileged of hind-sight for the Israelites.
I’m pretty sure they flunked that test.
With flying colors.

Egypt, and its paganistic way, was revealed to be deeply ingrained within the heart of the children of Israel. It’s idol worship — as evidenced by Aaron making the golden calf so they could “worship” a god they could see, even while Moses was on the Mountain receiving the ten commandments. You can read the account in Exodus 32.

The children of Israel may have left the land of Egypt, but Egypt did not leave them.

The bible goes on to tells us an entire generation perished in the desert because of their disobedience (See Numbers 32:13 – the NIV states: until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone). They were not allowed to enter the Promise Land. Only those born in the desert, save a few (See Numbers 32:12), were allowed to cross the Jordan. They grouched and complained that Moses had drug them away from Egypt… the entire forty years. They held on to their idols… they complained… they demanded to go back to Egypt…

They couldn’t let go.

I liken the prison of Childhood Sexual Assault to the slavery of the Children of Israel in the land of Egypt. CSA is cruel, harsh, and demanding to the one who is enslaved by it. It becomes ingrained in the heart of its captive. A parameter of what is known. A way of life. Those of us who are survivors learn to adapt to our surroundings.

Once we begin to walk away from our cruel taskmaster, and believe me, God wants us to walk out, everything that once was taught to us as normal or acceptable must be released. God will deliberately take us through our own desert in order to reveal all that is in our hearts. We cannot allow even a remnant of ground for our former taskmaster to gain another foothold.

We must let go.

The length of our journey depends on us. Our attitude. Our reluctance to let go. Our idols.

What did we pick up along the way?
Fear?
Low-self esteem?
Anger?
Hatred?
Bitterness?
Pornography?
Identity issues?
Sexual Promiscuity?
Prostitution?
Or, the fear of the opposite sex?
The list could go on.

What idols do we trust in more than God?
Self?
Ritual?
Jujitsu?
Revenge?
Religious practices?
Christian books?
Whatever we insert into the place of God becomes an idol to us.

When God begins to work on our hearts, to reveal everything we hold on to and trust in, our job is to let go. Let it go.

It hurts.
I’m afraid.
I don’t want to re-live that nightmare.
I don’t want to cry.

But, in letting go you become free. There is an entire land flowing with milk and honey on the other side of this desert…

I don’t want to let go of my anger.
I don’t want to release my bitterness.
I want to hold on to revenge…
I’d rather stab him in the eyes…

It’s hot.
I’m thirsty.
I wanna go back.

Let the children of Israel be a lesson to you.
Don’t be like them.
Don’t hold on to the past so tightly that you can’t enter into your Promised Land.

It’s going to be hard.
It’s going to be tough.
It might take you longer than a few years to get there, but with each step forward, you will get there.

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The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will take me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory belongs to him forever and ever! Amen. II Timothy 4:18 ISV

I’m drowning.
Turbulent waters cover my head. I fight against the current but I’m not strong enough to push through the water. Dark, murky water swirls around me. All of my senses tell me its no use to fight. These chains drag me down, entangled around my limbs, but I can’t give up.

Insecurity chokes me.
What if my strength completely fails? What if I continue to fight when I should just give up? What if this is what I deserve? Is God disgusted with me, like I am with myself? Everywhere I turn I seem to fall into some trap. I can’t find my way out. It’s too dark. There is no light to follow.

God, help me!

It is the prayer I have cried out many times before.

Help me overcome.
Help me escape.
Help me to be stronger.
Help me to be wiser.
Help me to not fall again.
Help me to not be a disappointment to you.

I am here.

What?

I am here with you.

Why are you here? In this place? With me?

I have come to lead you out.

Me? But, look what I’ve done!

I know. I’m here to lead you out.

I do not deserve it, LORD! I am too sinful. Too dirty. I deserve to stay in this place… in my shame. Look what I allowed myself to do! Don’t you see it?

Yes. I have seen your struggles long before they took place. You have been hurt in many ways, and through that hurt you have searched for healing and acceptance in the wrong places. You sought comfort in the arms of another human being, when it is My nail scarred hands that hold the ointment to heal.

Do you know what has been done? They told me I didn’t deserve better.

It is a lie, My child. The enemy wants to confuse you. To complicate My Word. He has been doing so for many generations. Using circumstance of this earthly life to convince you that I am angry with you, or that I do not care. But, I am giving you eyes to see those things are not so. That is why I am here with you right now. I have come to show you the Way — the one true way to the Father. I am here to show you the Truth — the reality standing right before your eyes. I am here to show you that I am the Life your heart yearns for; the true life in the spirit not the life of this world. This world leaves you in need, but My Life satisfies that need. In seeing those things you will be rescued from the plot of the evil one.

After everything I’ve said and done, you are still willing to help me?

Oh, my dear one! What you have said, and what you have done are small matters compared to eternity. My Blood — the Blood I poured out through the cross — the very first time you came to Me, as a trusting child to give Me your heart, I covered your sin. All of it. From the moment you were born until the day you leave this earth, your sin has already been covered. I am here to help you, not because you are perfect, but because I love you. Because you have given your heart to me.

I crumple to my knees.
Tears stream down my face.
How could such forgiveness and love find me? Me, of all people? Here in this place?

I let His love wash over me.
The load has fallen from my shoulders.
I can breathe again.
I stand and turn, and walk away.
As I leave I hear the distinct sound of chains falling. Crumpling to the ground. I hear the sound of prison doors opening.

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Psalm 109:22 “For I am afflicted and needy; my heart is wounded within me. (NASB)

I don’t believe there is a single human being on the face of the earth, who can say, “My heart has not been wounded.” Sometime, throughout our lives, someone, somewhere, will do something or say something that affects us deeply. So deep, our hearts feel the impact of their action.

In the Hebrew, the word used for wounded in this verse is “Chalal” and it literally means, one has pierced my heart.

The Psalmist cried out to God in the middle of pain and anguish. Saul was after him. He wanted David dead. Ahithophel, David’s trusted friend and advisor, betrayed him in favor of Absalom. He knew God’s favor was on him. David did what he thought God wanted him to do, and yet, horrible things happened to him. He was so wounded of heart that he prayed for God to repay them. Sure, David offered several suggestions in verses 6-13, and again in verses 19, 20 and 29. “Here is what you need to do God… cut him off from the face of the earth… let his descendants be cut off… may there be no memory of him… may a curse be attached to him…”

Harsh?

Maybe not.

David was being afflicted from every side. He was at the end of his rope. Saul hunted him to kill him. His heart hurt over his friend’s betrayal. He was starving. His body was weak from lack of nourishment. David needed help, and he needed it now!

He spoke out of his wounds.

I think about the prayers I prayed before my wounded (pierced) heart was healed. Many times I, too, prayed for curses to be on my abusers. I prayed for their demise. If I could have hunted some of them down, I would have. I wanted more than just their descendants to be cut off… and I wanted to be the one to do it. I not only informed God how he should “repay” them, I fantasized ways of how I could repay them.

I spoke from my wounds.

I think we all do that.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts for out of them flow the issues of life.
In my book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, Proverbs 4:23 is a key element. Childhood sexual assault creates a number of issues that overrun a person’s heart. Those issues are life altering. They drive our emotions. The afflict us. Make us needy. They flow out of our hearts and affect everything we do. We are weak. And, we know there is only one who can truly help us. One who can save.

David called out to God in his time of need.

In verse 20 of Psalm 109, David prays, “May the Lord repay my accusers in this way, those who say evil things about me! “ Again, in verse 26, “Help me, O Lord my God! Because you are faithful to me, deliver me!” David knows God is his source. His hope. His help. Notice that David acknowledges God as the one who repays. Not David. He knows the faithfulness of God to deliver him, and he counts on it.

We can each take a lesson from David. No matter what we have been through. Whether we have been sexually abused, maligned, betrayed, misused, lied to, or cheated on… no matter what, God is the one who can restore us when we are needy and afflicted, and he is the only one who can heal us when our heart is pierced within us.

Psalm 109:22 “For I am afflicted and needy; my heart is wounded within me. … 26 “Help me, O Lord my God! Because you are faithful to me, deliver me!

I am an over – comer. 

Through the struggles of a traumatic childhood and an abusive marriage, and entering another abusive, albeit brief, relationship 13 years later, I discovered a set of attitudes and mindsets that had conditioned me to accept abuse as a normal circumstance of my life. 

These attitudes and mindsets had been taught to me as a 7 year old, and continued to be enforced throughout adolescence as a victim of childhood sexual assault.  The circumstances of my childhood/adolescence carried over into my adult life and continued to be the driving force behind my actions and reactions.  After my second failed relationship, a wonderful thing happened as a result.  God allowed me to finally understand the answer to my question, “Why?” 

The prevailing attitude of the heart is one that believes what the lie teaches.  My abuse taught me a distorted perception of truth.  It gave me a false perception of value and worth, but since the circumstances of my life seemingly upheld what I percieved, I believed it to be a fact.  The Proverbs teach, “As a man thinketh within his heart, so he is.”  Or in modern day language, “You are what you think.”  Unfortunately statistics prove that 1 in 3 girls will be, or has already been sexually assaulted by the time she reaches 18 years of age.  That is a staggering figure, and that doesn’t even include those assaults that go unreported.  My own assault had crippled me emotionally, as well as spiritually, for well over 30 years, and robbed me of some valuable things; the right to remain innocent and the right to have a childhood. 

The truth is some of these women who are labeled, “Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault” will seek help in one form or fashion. Sadly, and realistically, many of these women will never find release from the past.  They will continue to fill the pews in their prospective sanctuaries on Sunday mornings with a smile pasted on their face, while inside they wonder what is so wrong with them that they are kept an arms length away from God.  Like the woman with an issue of blood for 12 years, these women will continue to believe they are unclean, and unworthy, of God’s love and help. 

My purpose is not to simply bring up horrible memories from the past, but to simply bring the promise of hope for those who remain locked in the emotional prisons of their past abuse.  To declare their freedom, here and now, from those things that keep them shackled to the past emotions.  My purpose is to let women know their lives are worth so much more than just what they can do for someone else.  My purpose is to inform women they can find freedom from the past, not just a cover-up.  My purpose is to bring women into health and healing within their hearts, minds, and souls so that they too can understand who they are in Christ Jesus, how much their Heavenly Father loves them and how much God does care about what took place in their childhood.  I am here to tell them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don’t ever remember not being abused. The memories I do have are sporadic, with gulfs of darkness spanning the length from one memory to another.

However, I will never forget him.

He was supposed to be my father’s best friend. He was married with 3 daughters. I was friends with his oldest. Our families lived in Norfolk, VA. My father was stationed aboard the USS John King, just like he was.

I was afraid of him, *JP. Apparently he had already done something to me the night his daughter asked me to spend the night. They were eating dinner at my house. NP and I were upstairs playing Barbie wedding (Barbie married G.I. Joe since I didn’t have a Ken doll).

“My dad said I could ask you to spend the night.” NP casually told me.

Immediately I stiffened. “Oh, I don’t want to.” I told her.
She understood, “Okay.” NP said and we continued playing.
My father called up the stairs to tell NP her folks were ready to go. I followed my friend down the stairs to the living room.
“Cheryl,” my father looked at me. “Get your stuff to spend the night.”
Fear gripped my heart.
“Why?” I asked, petrified.
“Because you’re spending the night.” My father said.
“But, I don’t want to.” I said, silently pleading my father would take notice of the fear on my face, and forgive me for even thinking about disobeying what he told me to do.
“Why not?” He asked, already irritated that I would make a fuss in front of company.
“Because, I don’t want to.” I said. My heart was pounding in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I’m sure the whole room could hear the fear running through my veins.
“Don’t be stupid.” My father said sternly, “go get your things to spend the night.”
Fear took over and I began to run from the living room, into the dining room and into the kitchen screaming and crying. “I don’t want to go, I want to stay home!” I pleaded with my father when he came to pull me back into the living room.

He was angry.

“Give me a good reason why you don’t want to go?” My father asked.

Did I tell him what his friend was like? Would he believe me? Would he protect me? Would he still make me go? So many questions went through my mind at that moment. I looked from my father into JP’s eyes. Was he afraid I would rat him out in front of everyone? Would he say it was my fault? Would my father believe JP over me?
“I just don’t want to go. I want to stay home.” I finally told my father with tear filled eyes.
My father swore.
“Cheryl Ann, stop acting like a @#*#@ baby, you’re going and that’s final, now, GO GET YOUR STUFF.”

There it was; I didn’t matter.

I walked up the stairs to get my nightgown. NP followed me. “NP, I want to sleep on the top bunk. Is that okay?” I asked my friend. Since my father wasn’t going to save me, I had to find a way to make it difficult for him to get me.

“I’m sure it will be okay,” NP told me. I felt a little better.

Walking to their car was like a death march. My heart continued to pound. I apologized to my friend for making a scene; she held my hand the whole way to her house.

By the time we were told to go to bed I began to climb to the top of the triple-decker bunk bed. NP stopped me. Her father said I was too big to sleep on top. I had to sleep on the bottom because he didn’t want my weight causing the bed to fall on top of his daughters and suffocate them. I was big for my size, but not that big… maybe this is where my weight struggle began?

I felt doomed. He was going to get me and he knew there was nothing I could do about it. He had won. “Maybe, just maybe, I could fall asleep really fast and he would leave me alone.” I thought. “Maybe I would be okay.”

I heard the soft sounds of sleep from the girls above me. I prayed he had fallen asleep too. “Please God, keep him away from me. Just make him fall asleep.” I prayed. “Please, don’t let him get me. Save me, God, please save me.”

I don’t know where I learned about God. Mom didn’t take us to church that I can remember. Although, there was one time, I can recall standing on the stairs of a Presbyterian Church mom wanted to check out. The Pastor, in his flowing robes, stood there and told me how much God loved me. I remember a hatred welling up in me, and thinking, “If God loves me so much, then why does he let men do bad things to me? Why won’t he protect me?” Other than that, I have no other memory of being anywhere near a church.

About an hour had passed by when I heard the creak of the floor coming from his bedroom directly across the hall. “Oh God.” I thought. “NO. God, please, let him just be going to the bathroom!” I was prepared to beg God, to promise God anything in order to save me from this man.

It didn’t matter. My prayers hit the ceiling and fell like lead around me.

His foot steps were now in the room. Fear choked my breath. My mind, screaming silent cries to a silent God, whirred: “What can I do? Where can I go? Who will save me from this horrible man?”

He sat on the bed. His weight causing my body to turn toward him. I pretended to be asleep. I felt my nightgown go up and my underwear come off. He spread my legs, I closed them. He opened them, I closed them. He cursed under his breath and opened them with more force.

He took my hand. I became frightened by what I felt. More prayers hit the ceiling.

Pain. Hot searing pain.

 
I cried out.

He ran out.

After a few minutes I went to the bathroom and locked the door. I checked to see if I was bleeding. I held myself as I sank to the floor in the corner. I wanted my mom, but I was too afraid of what my father would say. I didn’t think he would want to come and get me… no, I didn’t think I mattered to him.

I froze when a soft knock came on the door. “Cheryl, it’s me.” NP whispered through the door. I unlocked it and let her in.

“I’m sorry my dad hurt you.” NP said. I cried as I told her how much he had hurt me. I told her I wanted to go home, but was afraid of my dad. NP told me not to worry, that her dad would probably leave me alone for the rest of the night.

We stayed in the bathroom for a good 15 minutes when JP knocked on the door. By that time she had been able to revive my spirits, but his knock and voice caused fear to well up in me.

“It’s time for you girls to quit playing around and go to sleep. N., your mother has to work tomorrow so go to bed.”
I think I flipped him off through the door. N.P. laughed.

The next morning, Saturday, was hot. I had brought my swimsuit so we could swim in their pool. NP’s mother was at work and her dad was inside. All three of the girls and I were splashing in the pool when they said to go ask their father if we could have some Pepsi.

“You ask, Cheryl. He’ll let you have it, he likes you.” They begged me.
After a half hour of begging, I gave in to their request. When he came out to check on us, I asked. They were right. He said only I could come in to get them. Once inside he made me open the Pepsi bottles and pour them into each glass. The whole time he fondled me under my swimsuit.An hour later I was allowed to go back outside.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That took place in the summer of 67 or 68 (I thought it was the early 70’s, but I was informed my dates were wrong) but I remember it just as if it happened yesterday.

My whole life was affected by the abuse I suffered, not only at his hands, but also at the hands of four other friends of both of my parents during the same time period. One taught me how to masturbate so I could “think of him” anytime during the day or night. The other took pornography pictures of me.

I went from being a straight A student to struggling. Teachers sent notes home about my decline in school–those that dared to notice.

My parents never noticed my soul had died that night. I don’t blame them, they were broken and trying to survive with 6 kids in a hostile marriage.

We moved numerous times, but, I seemed to attract the pedophiles.

At the age of 14, I became a Christian. Too many issues associated with that to list, but, I struggled with “being good enough” for God.

After an abusive, short lived marriage I turned back to God, and eventually, in my late 30’s, sought counseling. I had wanted to just die, but I couldn’t take my own life. God seemed distant, harsh, uncaring, oblivious to my pain. I could barely be both mother and father to my three boys. Through a wonderful woman, God slowly began to peel back the layers upon layers of wounds in my soul.

Today, I still struggle with who I am and God’s love, and I continue to experience some depression, BUT, I am just about 100% healed. It took almost 5 years before I could talk about my past without breaking down, and another 5 before I begin writing about it.

Currently, my book “Whispers” (which was published in 2009) chronicles the issues I dealt with during my walk toward freedom from the past. The above story is found in chapter 8, “Dear Daddy Know You Know.”

I maintain a Facebook page under the same name, dedicated to helping survivors overcome the issues of abuse.

2 Corinthians 1:4 gives my suffering purpose.
“…who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ESV

As well as, Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes.” I look at it this way; What Satan meant for my destruction, God is using to lift up other women (and men) whose souls are devastated because of what happened to them.

There is hope. That is my message.

Be Blessed and Walk in Truth today.
~Whispers
Cheryl A. Thompson

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