There are residual effects of abuse. Long after the manipulation, the coercion, the mind-games stop, the mind retains the synapses and every new relationship gets filtered by abuse colored glasses. I grew up in an abusive home, and I have worked to change the color of my glasses ever since. My husband, God bless him, has shown long-suffering love as I have been on this journey to heal.
Of course my history is not as dark as others, my memories may not be as horrific as others, but the effects of our histories are very similar, if not the same. We just can’t see “normal” in anyone. And in the end, we can’t see ourselves in a true light either.
I grew up seemingly happy. I remember being the clown of the family, the class achiever and defender of the under-dog, lover of animals, and rowdy enough to play flag-football with the boys. I remember being at church and all the grandpa’s that would talk to me, give me some gum, or pat me on the head and chuckle at my verbose conversations.
Yet when “the change” began to happen I remember a dramatic shift in how I was looked at – quite literally.
I spent my 7th grad year trying to manage the onslaught of butt-grabbing that seemed to be an epidemic in my school. I could not get in my locker, or look through a microscope without getting handled. My sister and I walked home one day, back-to-back as a group of 7 or so guys followed us home. And that was just at school! At home I watched my Dad’s eyes scan my legs as I was ironing clothes. And in my first job cleaning bathrooms at a print shop, I worked hard to ignore the grown men that would by-pass the “do not enter” sign while I worked in order for them to splay themselves before me. There are more stories, worse stories but I think you get the idea.
To say that I was assaulted when I became a young woman is the truth. I may not have been raped or had to endure more devastating sexual assault but the fact remains that I was assaulted. Couple all of this with some wrong teachings on submission from the church, a father who repeatedly told me I was responsible for men’s attention toward me, along with another Christian organizations who believed women had to wear dresses all the time and no make-up in order to be the woman God made me to be, and the knot of the lie only tightened.
In that time a switch turned in my head. I no longer felt like Eve who took part in sin and needed redemption. I began to feel like the apple, the forbidden apple. I started to feel that being a woman was the sin.
Yes, I know in my head that I am not responsible for others choices but freeing my soul takes the healing hand of God. It will take the truth moving from my head to my heart. So I apologize that my post today is so dark. Memories have been coming back and I am wrestling to implant the truth within me. My posts have been inconsistent at best lately and this wrestling is the reason. I decided that my blog was supposed to be about the real me. Today you have a glimpse of the real me struggling to heal from real memories of long ago.
So today I pray for myself and for the millions of other women who have suffered sexual assault:
Father – our True Father, Be present with us today. Fill each of us with your eternal love, your unconditional love. Thank you that your love reaches farther and drives deeper than any abuse we have suffered or are suffering.
As we have suffered may we put you in remembrance. May we see where you were in those times of distress and fear.
Help us to identify the lies and give us your truth to replace them. May our faith in you be enough to free our souls and live as truly free women, born to fight for you!
In the power of the Name and Blood of Jesus Christ, Amen!
- The final straw (theage.com.au)
- Mark Driscoll Gets Emotional in Sermon on Sexual Assault (mindfulconsideration.wordpress.com)