Re: Rape, sexual violence, molestation, and child sexual abuse
I can very easily recall my last suicide attempt.
It was years ago, but my mind always remembers it like it was just the other day or something.
I remember coming home from the hospital. They had pumped my stomach, again. I was a burning furnace.
I was angry. I had been trying to end my suffering here on this earth since I was a child. Rape killed part of me. I wanted to just kill off the rest.
I stormed into the physical center of my home, the kitchen. I just had it out with God. I am 4’11 but I looked up at that ceiling and tried to throw my words to heaven. I yelled and screamed until I ran out of words.
Until I only had these left, “Why are you making me live?”
God was being so cruel to me. How could He force me to live this dreadful, miserable, existence. What did I do? Why me?
Now, I am not one who can say that God speaks directly to me. I’ve always been extremely intuitive. I’ve always felt a leading. But, not many direct conversations from God. You understand.
But this was God Himself. There I was a mess on the kitchen floor. An un-scrubbed kitchen floor. I wasn’t ready.
I want you to get up from the floor and walk like when you were a baby.
Just take baby steps.
One step at a time and I will be there.
That was it. I had questions. And then what? Where are we going? How will we get there? What?
I suddenly felt a bit of hope to get up and do just that. I never made another attempt to take my life again. In those next few years, a lot of healing was done and a lot of accomplishments were achieved. It was like turbo boost. Now I did fall. But it was alright, somehow.
No happily ever after
I’m like most Survivors of sexual violence. There really is no happily ever after. There is one day at a time.
Today, I have fibromyalgia, among other chronic illnesses. It means that every single day I am in one type of physical pain or another. It means that every single day I am physically exhausted.
I am writing this letter as a servant. Being raised by a southern mother one does not delight in putting their business in the street for the heck of it. But the time has come for us who still have a voice intact to speak up. Because, we are the only ones who know the terrain of the journey.
Oh, I gave up on that advice about “getting over it.” Did the same thing with people who wanted me to try harder by forgiving more. Forgiveness.
You know, I am all for forgiveness. I practice it often. I have to tell you though, it is quite different with sexual violence.
I think folks mean well with their advice. But it just doesn’t always work. I’ve counseled people near the edge of madness trying to implement that stuff. Heck, I’ve been on the edge of madness trying to implement all of that advice.
Today, I am at great peace. I found my own individual path to forgiveness. For me, forgiveness means surrendering all feelings about the rapists to God. I don’t have to have positive feelings about those folks. I don’t have to wish them well. I don’t even have to pray for them.
I have done that for other people in my life, but for these folks, I release that to God. I just concentrate on being the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, servant that I can be.
I have a wealthy life because of God’s blessings.
I laugh heartily daily. I am filled with joy. My husband and I are loving this marriage journey. My family, friends, mentors, fellow Survivors, colleagues; each beating heart-blessing.
And my son. My “son light”. Even my son had a couple of close calls in his childhood with attempted sexual violence. But because we had talked openly about sexual violence prevention, he smartly avoided them.
We co-wrote a book when he was just 17. It was his idea. He now works with me. I am amazed at what he knows. We are proud of him. The feedback that we get from others is confirmation that, “we done good”.
Still, I am like any other Survivor, night terrors, flash backs, sensory triggers, sadness; they know where I live. We have to track down the hidden reason. It is usually a signal that we have arrived at the moment in our lives that we are strong enough to handle an important matter.
Out of Balance
One of my favorite scriptures is Luke 11:42 that reads in part: this ye ought to have done and not left the other undone. I use this often because I can get out of balance.
Saints, you might also be familiar with 2 Samuel 13. Yes, those pages in your bible might be a little crisp. A lot of churches don’t address this section often.
Why is our society still the voice for certain abusers and perpetrators. Why are we as communities supporters for Amnons?
What do you do for the Tamars? When do you lend your voice to us? When do you lend your time?
We need your support.
Folks, we can’t continue to say on the one hand, “God forgives” and “don’t judge” to the Amnons. Yet when sexual violence victims Survivors get in trouble say, “that’s no excuse.”
Sexual violence is a global EPIDEMIC. It is an American EPIDEMIC. Males and females are harmed daily by people who are known to the victim.
There are so many lessons in the story of King David. (Especially 2 Samuel 13)
Sexual violence against Tamar hurt her deeply. Even worse was David’s failure to properly respond to it. Here is a man who could take on Goliath and do all of these great things. Yet, his own family was destroyed due to his failure to properly respond to the rape of his daughter.
Action speaks and heals
Well now, that sounds familiar to me.
Listen, sexual violence continues to destroy individuals. It continues to destroy families. It continues to destroy our communities. Our failure to respond to sexual violence effectively is the cause of that. We will not discuss it. We will not support victims/Survivors.
Folks, God has already provided the scriptures. It is up to His people to put His words into action. We must now gain accurate knowledge so that we can prevent sexual violence. Heal it. End it.
Otherwise, the fate of David’s family may be the fate of our nation and our planet sooner rather than later.
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LEARN what you can do in your community to help victims & Survivors of violence and abuse.
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“We’ve been there, experienced that. Trauma, Pain, Abuse & Rape. These are the lessons that we brought back.”
–Tonya GJ Prince has been a leading subject matter expert (SME) in domestic violence and sexual violence.
For over 25 years she has helped people heal, prevent, and overcome domestic and sexual violence.
In order to accomplish this mission, she founded several diverse & inclusive platforms designed to allow Survivors to use their own voices including;
WESurviveAbuse.com, SurvivorAffirmations.com, & BraidtheLadder.org.
Tonya is an author, activist, advocate, Survivor, speaker, counselor, & mentor.
B.S. Organizational Management & Development/Bluefield College
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