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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!