Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘rape

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!

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On January 28th, Casting Crowns will release their newest album, #Thrive (See video below).

As I watch the promotion of their album, and the “month of giving” on their Facebook Page (here), I began to wonder, “How can we thrive in life if we live in brokenness”?

We all face brokenness at one time or another in our lives, but for those who have lived through childhood sexual assault, brokenness becomes a way of life. The norm. Many times, just the thought of living outside the realm of “broken” is scary. It’s all we know. But, if we choose to move forward, is it possible to actually thrive while still in the state of brokenness?

I believe so.

Thrive is defined as:

to grow strongly and vigorously, to do well; prosper.

Growing Stronger:
In order to grow stronger one must be willing to seek healing. As long as the past continues to control the present, becoming strong isn’t possible.

When I first began my journey to healing, I could barely speak of my rape and molestation without breaking down. My past would suffocate my words and choke them off in my throat. As I allowed God into those broken areas, something marvelous began to happen. The intensity of the pain began to lessen. I could talk about my past easier than before. Today, as I look back, my past does not hold the same emotions it once did. I am able to speak to a group of women without breaking down. Oh sure, I still get choked up every now and again, but it does not cripple me. I have grown much stronger than I was on day one.

Growing stronger doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have bad days. You will. Growing stronger means, on those bad days, you work through the emotions — cry, journal, pray, talk with your counselor, etc. You aren’t content to stay and wallow in your pain.

During the early period of my healing it was tough. My emotions were out of whack, to the point I could barely function. I viewed myself as an empty shell then. My counselor encouraged me to begin writing down what I felt. She told me to be honest; don’t hold back but to write down everything that came to mind about my abuse (she also encouraged me to find a hiding place so my thoughts were kept private — I encourage you to do the same). I followed her advice. One look at my old journals will tell you what stage I was in. There are a lot of angry entries. Hateful entries. “Why me?” entries. But, there are entries that show improvement. Entries of forgiveness… hope… encouragement. Growing stronger meant, I didn’t remain in my anger, or hatred. I worked through them to forgiveness. I worked through “Why me?” to hope. And finally, to encouragement.

To Do Well:
Part of healing is being broken. Broken enough to allow those emotions to come forward. To seek God, and seek wholeness from him.

This journey to healing isn’t a quick trip. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Time and a willingness to continue forward is a sign of doing well. Sure, you’ll have setbacks, everyone does, but those setbacks don’t hold us back.

Do you remember this quote?

it doesn’t matter how many times you fall .. what matters is how many times you stand up, shake it off, and moving forward .- Unknown

It’s true.

You can hit the dust 1,000 times, but as long as you get back up, dust off, and take another step forward, you are doing well. You are moving forward. God isn’t looking at how many times you’ve stepped backwards. He isn’t worried that you fell. He is interested in you getting up… He’s cheering you on. He is beside you, whispering in your ear, You can do it! I believe in you!

Thrive

3 John 1:2 says,
Our beloved, I pray for you that you will prosper in all things and be well, just as your soul prospers (ABPE).

God wants us to do well. He wants us to thrive.

In order to thrive, we need to know who we are in Christ Jesus. We can’t understand who God says we are if we aren’t reading his word. Our soul prospers as the word permeates our insides and changes us. Changes our hearts, our minds, our thought process, and our actions.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Cris Corzine, counsels sexual abuse survivors every day. She believes in teaching her clients about their spiritual identity.“Because knowing who we are in Christ is the key to victorious living.” “My favorite scripture for all time” Cris relates, “is 2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (NIV).”

We are righteous because of Christ. Accept it. Embrace it.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Each time we allow God into those areas of our heart that are wounded and hurting, we heal. As we heal, we grow. As we grow, we get stronger. As we get stronger we begin to #Thrive…

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Award winning poet and author, Cheryl A. Thompson, has been a single mother to Trey, Charlie and Brett since October of 1989. Through the trials of her childhood, and the struggles of single-parenthood, Cheryl has learned the importance of a heart attitude toward life and God, and how that attitude impacts a person’s soul and their relationship with God. She is a 1983 graduate of Christ For the Nations, Institute, in Dallas, Texas, and a 2012 graduate of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. Cheryl has been published in the FaithWriters quarterly book, FaithWriters online magazine, and a contributing writer for the Christ For the Nations—60 Years of Service coffee table book released in October of 2009. She has published articles in Heart Magazine 2012 and WHOA Women Magazine 2013. Her first book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, was published in November 2009.

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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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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