You Are Not Alone
The profusion of recent reports of sexual misconduct among high-profile people in show business and politics demonstrates just how prevalent the problem is.
It is troubling that many times, those who come forward after mustering phenomenal courage to do so are shamed and taunted with accusations like, “Why didn’t you report this decades ago when it happened?”
Feeling shame makes it extremely difficult for those who have suffered sexual abuse to share their experiences. When children suffer sexual abuse by people they love and trust, the abusers often tell them that revealing their “secret” will result in parental anger.
“Rita,” now 70 years old, was only 10 when her much older brother-in-law began abusing her sexually. The abuse lasted for several years. It was 30 years before she told anyone about it. Fifty years later, Rita’s sister died, and the abuser attended the funeral. Rita made a life-changing decision that day: she told the abuser, her deceased sister’s estranged husband, that she had forgiven him. She writes, “It was a huge relief for me! I felt the weight of all those decades of shame, confusion, anger, hatred, revenge, and sadness just lift up from me. I felt truly free for the first time since I was a little girl.”
Rita came to know Jesus at the age of 38 and shared her story with her pastor. She writes, “With God’s grace and counseling from my pastor, I finally have forgiven myself and love myself just as I am. I am finally at peace.”
Returning God’s Grace
Rita shares her story in her church community. Although doing so is difficult, she writes, “I see that it helps people who have been through similar experiences. During a weekend retreat, some people who had suffered abuse as children attended…They told me that hearing what I went through helped them deal with their own situations.”
If you have experienced sexual abuse, claim God’s gift of grace, and allow it to comfort you. Know that He will heal your emotional scars, regardless of how long ago you suffered the abuse. And share God’s message of comfort and strength with others you know who have survived sexual abuse.
A Bible Verse
Isaiah 40:31 is one verse Rita turns to often for comfort.