The moment I saw the first "Me too" post I copied and pasted. This is a social media campaign to bring awareness to sexual abuse in any form.
I went to bed and woke up the next morning with severe anxiety. Stories running through my mind in a circular motion. Negative feelings overtaking my body. I deleted my post and went to work on my thoughts.
I am not ashamed of my story. I've told it to audiences. I'll tell it now, super short version..... When I was 19 I dated a guy I was in ministry school with, he sang in a worship band. I went to visit him one night during Bob Larson, he worked at the Christian radio station. As Bob ranted about demonic activity this boy raped me. I was hysterical. He immediately said, "let's repent and it will be okay". So we did. I kept dating him. It happened 3 more times. Each time forced. Each time we repented. Eventually, I realized that it wasn't going to stop. I broke up with him. He said scary things to me on the phone. I told his pastor. He was not allowed to lead worship for a month.
I spent the next 20 plus years filled with shame. Those circular thoughts, same then as now with a different message. "I stayed. It happened more than once. What was wrong with me? I stayed. It happened more than once. How was I a victim when I stayed and it happened more than once?" Over and over and over for all those years.
That's the thing with sexual trauma, we, as women, can convince ourselves that we shouldn't speak up because for one reason or another it was our fault. Then when we do speak up we are told to be quiet. Don't embarrass anyone with your pain.
Eventually, I was able to forgive him. Much later I was able to forgive myself. Now I am free.
If you are a victim and you haven't worked in the area of forgiveness please soften to that. I felt anxiety over sharing my "me too" because I didn't think before doing it. I needed time to process what that would be like. Privacy is sacred and by exposing this to the world of Facebook my privacy felt a bit defiled. But here I am, writing shamelessly. I needed a second.
My power is no longer owned by a boy that has no concern for my "NO!".
Shame no longer drowns me into a silent abyss. Sinking darkness.
Sweet woman that is hurting and nodding your head without moving it, "me too", open your mouth, my love. Find someone you trust and speak your truth, it needn't be on the interwebs, but truth does need to be spoken. If you expose darkness to light it CANNOT survive.
I pray that you find healing too. That one day you aren't triggered by smells and songs. A name that you wish you could forget. A memory tied to something you see too often. I pray that when you are touched by someone with pure and loving intentions that your brain doesn't trick you into thinking that you are in danger again. That making love touches your brokenness just enough to expose your need for healing. Recognizing that what hurt us may very well be a tool to heal us, as counterintuitive as that may be.
Whatever happened to you is part of your story but it does not define you. You are beautiful and loved. You do not have to carry the shame. That is too heavy. It is not worthy of your energy. You were made to shine. May you let go the cloak that prevents your light from seeping into the dark corners of the world. We are a powerful force for good when we show up to the work of healing. Come on, sister, lets do this work.