Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘#RapeSurvivor

Courtesy of The Kelly File

Courtesy of The Kelly File

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?

Grace.

Forgiveness.

Mercy.

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 .

Forgiven.

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?

Victims forgive.

Why?

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.

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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.

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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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.