Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To Those Who Are SURVIVORS of Sexual Abuse

Dear Sexual Abuse Survivor,
I'm praying for you today. I'm praying for you because I don't know who you are, but I know that you are probably feeling much like I am. You see, I am just like you. I was sexually abused too.

My perpetrator was 10. He lived in my house with me the entire time that I was abused and no one knew about it. I promised not to tell. I lived for many years not telling my parents or anyone else that it had happened because I had told him I wouldn't. He never received any justice. He never showed remorse. No one ever advocated for me.

I grew up feeling like I was alone and worthless.

I'm sure you know that feeling.

I'm sure you have heard the news that a famous "Christian" family had sexual abuse in their home. Committed by one of their children against other of their children.

I'm sure you have seen the news stories, blogs, Christian leaders, etc coming out in defense of the perpetrator.

"He asked for forgiveness from those he abused." they say.

"Jesus has forgiven him." they say.

"Why can't you just move on?" they say.

I'm sure the words of those defending this man have stirred up many different emotions in you, like they have in me.

I'm actually jealous that they apologized publicly because I never got an apology. I actually used that as an argument on a friend's facebook page. "It's more than what I got." I said.

And yes, I am very glad he apologized. He should apologize. He should never stop apologizing. But that isn't enough. That doesn't wipe the slate clean. That doesn't mean we all move on and forget what he did.

I've actually stepped away from Facebook some because I can't handle the people saying "Jesus forgave him, we should too!" I can't handle that battle cry any longer. Can you?

Let me answer this in case you are wondering. YES! Jesus died on the cross for that sin just like he did every. other. sin.

But just because Jesus died on the cross for that sin and EVERY other sin doesn't mean that we do not face the consequences of our actions here on Earth.

Jesus died for murder, but that doesn't mean that murderers don't go to jail for their crimes. We don't stand on courthouse steps and scream "Jesus forgave him, we should too. Don't send him to jail."

Why is this the issue that we stand and say it is acceptable for forgiveness of sin to be enough? Why is this the issue that the church stays silent on? Why is this the issue that we tell victims "you need to forgive and move on."? Why?

Christians, THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! This is a crime that cuts to the very core of the person affected by the abuse, and walks with them daily throughout the rest of their lives.

Should we encourage and walk through forgiveness with survivors of sexual abuse? YES! But this should not be INSTEAD OF sending them through the justice system. This shouldn't be the issue that you say (often years later) "Just get over it!"

If I could "Just get over" my sexual abuse then I would have 27 years ago. I wouldn't be in counseling 27 years later. I wouldn't be terrified of it affecting my two precious daughters. I wouldn't be taking anxiety medication because I wouldn't be having panic attacks and becoming physically ill when these issues arise in the media because they wouldn't affect me any more.

But they do. They do because sexual abuse is very personal. Sexual abuse takes a part of you that you don't even know exists, and then it heaps guilt and shame on you because for some reason you, the victim, must have done something to tempt the abuser. We don't simply stand up and say that there is evil in this world and that's why the abuser abuses. We blame and bring shame upon the victim, and fall prey to the abuser's lies that they [the abusers] are the victim.

Survivor, I am with you. I am enraged, I am hurt, I am sad, I am anxious, and I am physically ill over this story. Over the many stories that are not brought into the media about sexual abusers getting off without paying for their crime.

I am very sorry that you are walking this road. I am here with you. I am trying to navigate this life with sexual abuse as part of my story. And I ask you to use your voice. Don't live in fear. Don't let others silence you. Demand that you are able to tell your story. Know you are not alone. Don't believe the lie.

Let's use our stories to change this world so no one else will have to be shamed into silence.