“Hello, my name is Vickie and I was sexually abused as a child.” I was well into adulthood before I could say those words openly and without shame.
While the exact ages and duration are fuzzy, around the time I was 10 or 11 until I was 13, I was sexually abused by my best friend’s step dad. He also abused my best friend and her two older sisters. His justification was that he would give us money to go get candy at the corner store. I do remember the day it stopped, my friend and I were riding in the back on his pick-up truck and he pulled over to the side of the road and wanted us to come up to the cab with him and I said no, I was not doing that anymore. That was it, it stopped.
My teen years and young adult life were a series of bad choices and looking for love in all the wrong places. I was promiscuous and used whatever means possible to find acceptance with men. I had a messed up view of love and sex. In my late twenties, Jesus got a hold of my life, but it took a couple years before the healing process began. At the age of 35, a friend stepped into my life and saw me for what I was, a hurt and broken woman who did not understand the enormity of the pain that was instilled by the abuse. I looked at the abuse as something that happened to me, like getting a broken arm, not a big deal, you get over it and move on, but abuse of any kind is not like that, it damages the soul. If my friend, who knew the symptoms of abuse, did not step in and show me how to start the healing process, I would never have found the wholeness that Christ offers.
Through the process, I understood how much anger I had at the man who ruined my childhood and how hurt and alone I felt all the time. I had to grieve for the little girl who lost her innocence way too young. I had to learn to forgive when all I wanted was revenge. I wrestled with the idea of a loving God allowing this to happen in my life. Slowly, I started finding peace, joy and compassion in my soul. God showed me Romans 8:28, “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. “ (NIV, 1984) and in 2007, he laid on my heart a passion to see other women find healing from sexual abuse.
In January of this year, that became a reality when I was able to start a support group for women who are victims of sexual abuse. One in four women has been sexually abused. We should be horrified by that statistic! If you are reading this and have been abused, I know how much shame, guilt and self-blame is attached to the abuse, but I know that that is not how Jesus wants you to live your life. There is no shame in what happened to you! Jesus loves you and wants you to live a life of freedom and joy. The process is hard, but it is worth it in the end.
If you have been sexually abused and want to be in a loving, safe, supportive community exploring the healing process, please join our Hope and Healing Support Group on Thursday nights. You can get more information by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest Blogger: Vickie Kerr