SILENCE IS NO LONGER AN OPTION: 3 Steps to Breathe Again

 

Silence Tape on mouth

As she reached for the door to enter the apartment building, there he stood with mask over his head and a gun pointed straight at her.  He marched her into the woods.  There he forced her to lay down in the grass and dirt.  With the gun pointed straight at her head, he proceeded to violently take what belonged to her, the most private part of her….

According to rainn.org, every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted.  Every 8 minutes, that Survivor is a child.  Meanwhile, only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.  As a Survivor of sexual assault when I was a child and rape as an adult, I know what it feels like to suffer in silence from the emotional scars left behind from those who hurt me.  I know first had what it feels like to suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts (and attempts), fear, low self-worth—I can go on and on.  I remember feeling like no one understood how I was feeling. Although some tried to be supportive, I felt like they just didn’t get it.  How could they?  After all, I was the one raped not them right?  This is not always the case and if we are being honest here, someone reading this blog right now could be a Survivor of sexual violence still suffering in silence.  Silence is no longer an option; you must break your silence in order to heal.  I have listed 3 steps below to help you break your silence:

  1. Pray for assistance and guidance

After the second time I was violated at gunpoint in the woods, I spent a lot of time in prayer, studying scripture and seeking God for answers as to why this happened to me and what did He want me to do with it. Then one night while in prayer, God gave me the entire vision for Phynyx Ministries, which is our Christian-based non-profit organization that supports women survivors of sexual violence.  But we must also pray for strength to get the help needed to heal from the pain of our past.  If we don’t pray for guidance and assistance from God, then we will stay right where we are, in pain.  Aren’t you tired?  I know I was. So we must pray and ask God for guidance.

  1. Acknowledge that it happened to you

Oftentimes, we don’t like to think about, let alone talk about the things that we are ashamed of or, what has sent us on a guilt trip.  But when you take the time to acknowledge that you have been sexually violated as a child or as an adult, it sets you on a path to get help and healing.  Some of us try to act like it didn’t happen in an effort to forget or make it go away. However, when you are just existing in silence, instead of acknowledging it…you feel like you are SUFFOCATING–you feel like you can’t breathe among the other things you feel, right?  I know I felt this exact way before I got help.

I’d like you to do an exercise with me really quickly.  I want you to close your eyes and fill in the blank—say it aloud!

I acknowledge that ______________ has happened to me.

Say it again to yourself, louder:  I acknowledge that ______________ has happened to me.

One more time, say it again to yourself, even louder:  I acknowledge that ______________ has happened to me.

You will find that doing this exercise will not only make you feel better because you acknowledged what has happened, but it will start you on your journey to being silent no more.

  1. Break your silence to get the help that you need

Oftentimes, we don’t want people to know that we are going through difficult times or that we are in pain because we are afraid of how we will be viewed by others.  So we continue to struggle and suffer in silence when we could actually get the help needed if we would cast the fear aside and speak our truth. Believe me, I know that it is not easy, in fact it’s quite difficult to be vulnerable and share what has hurt you so bad and has kept you in such bondage.  Again, you try to suppress your sexual assault, you are allowing yourself to remain in the bondage of your past.  Oftentimes, the pain becomes so unbearable that we turn to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, unhealthy relationships–all in an effort to self-medicate or to make it go way.  It will always rear it’s ugly head in some way, shape or form until you deal with it to heal from it.

So, when you tell someone and not just anyone, but someone you trust–this is one of the first steps to healing and overcoming.  Not only are you beginning to heal, but that trusted individual can perhaps get you the help or steer you in the right direction to those who can assist you in your healing process.  But when you don’t tell someone, you continue to live in fear and suffer in silence.  The bible tells us that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  So we know that this is not of God.  So what are you gonna do?  Speak up or forever suffer in silence?

I want you to know that what happened to you is not your fault and you are not alone.  Help is available here with us at Phynyx Ministries…It’s time for you to Breathe Again.

Please comment below and let me know if this information was helpful to you.  Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

24 Comments

  1. Wow! This post took my breath away. So many people are hiding from the truth. I think this post will bring them one step closer. Thank you for your honesty!

    Reply
    • Hi Janelle, thank you so very much for taking the time to read my post! You are right, there are sooooo many Survivors who are not only hiding from the truth, but they are suffering as well. I pray that this post will change someone’s life.

      Reply
      • So much info in so few words. Totlsoy could learn a lot.

        Reply
  2. Wow Angela, you have my attention! This is such a phenomenal post. Fortunately I have not experienced sexual assault, but after reading your suggestions I think “Silence Is No Longer An Option” can apply to any traumatic experience. Thank you for sharing your experiences to help others breathe again.

    Reply
    • Hi Kemya!!! Thank God that you have not had this experience but there are so many of us out here that have and feel like they are alone. So many are suffering in silence and I pray that at least one will read this post and be empowered to breathe again! Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this commentathon!

      Reply
    • Essays like this are so important to braenonidg people’s horizons.

      Reply
  3. Wow…your post is so heart-breaking, yet powerful at the same time. Though I can not relate to being sexually abused, your transparency and testimony really touched my heart. You being able to speak out, and be brave enough to share your story, will definitely minister to, and help others get through…knowing they are not alone.

    Continue doing what you are doing, no one should have to suffer in silence.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I will continue to share my story to empower others. My story is just one of millions but I am grateful for my experience because it put me in the position to help others! I can’t stop now, I am on assignment! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I especially appreciate the advice to find a trusted person to tell. When someone is going through trauma, one trick of the enemy is to make you feel isolated and alone, like no else has gone through it before. By speaking out, you can start the healing process and also be in position to help someone else in the future.

    Reply
    • Amen Dequiana! Oftentimes, we do feel alone and this is why I am careful to let Survivors know that they are not alone and I share my story. I felt so alone in the beginning as well because I didn’t know anyone else who was raped, but once I felt strong enough to share sooooo many shared theirs as well! Thank you so much for your comment!

      Reply
  5. Thank you for being willing to break your silence. As a minister’s wife, I have had people put their confidence in me and share things with me that otherwise may not have been shared and I’m grateful that they chose to break their silence, there is something freeing about taking that action. Having that someone in your life that you trust is super important. I have been to counselors myself for issues in my own life and I know for a fact that if you don’t trust the person it will not help.

    Reply
    • Thank you for being that trusted individual for so many. You are the catalyst to their healing as acknowledging the experience is one of the first steps. You are correct in that counseling/therapy doesn’t work if you don’t trust him/her. I share with my ministry members that it may take some time to find a therapist that’s the right fit for you. The key is to keep trying!

      Reply
  6. I am so sorry that you have been subjected to violence on more than one occasion. I am thankful that I have not experienced any sort of violence in my life so far. I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must have been. I’m so glad you were able to break the silence and heal from your past. It’s great that you created Phynyx Ministries to help others.

    Reply
    • Thank you and please understand how blessed you are to not have experienced any violence in your life–it happens more than we choose to believe.

      Reply
  7. Thank you for leading by example. Each of us must speak our truth to help others to know that they are not alone and to empower them to step into their power. All of us have faced abuse in one way or another (physical, verbal, mental, sexual or emotional).

    Reply
    • You are absolutely right! We all have faced some sort of abuse and now is the time to no longer hide but to speak up and out! Thank you!

      Reply
  8. As a person who has had a similiar thing happen to them I understand your points.. I was in counseling, prayer and supportive groups for a long time before I decided that I needed to do two things.. forgive and confront my enemy, as it was a family member.. It takes courage to put into words the feelings of anger, despair and heartache from that and I applaud you..

    Reply
    • I applaud you for taking back your power. I takes a great deal of courage to forgive and to confront your attacker–this is huge! It shows that you are a very strong person who realizes her worth. Thank you!

      Reply
  9. Thanks so much for this blog Angela!!! I really miss your Phynyx Ministries sessions. Your sessions are so inspirational. Reading this blog reminds me if sitting in those sessions with my survivor sisters. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey Sister Sat’Ra!!! I miss our sessions as well and can’t wait to start up again in September! Providing that safe space for women survivors to break their silence and be empowered and supported as they journey on their path to healing brings so much joy to my heart and glory to the Lord. Thank you for being a huge part of my joy and God’s glory. You are amazing and I’m so proud of how far you’ve come!!! I Love you and keep pushing Phenomenal Woman!!!

      Reply
  10. Thank you for sharing and being transparent. It is not easy. As a woman and many of us do it, we try to be the strong person and carry everything, but we were not created to do that. Thank you reminding us to speak the truth b/c it might just save someone else’s live. God bless you.

    Reply
    • You are right, it’s not easy but it sooooo very necessary. I totally agree with you, we can’t carry everything–but God can if we only cast our burdens on him. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *