“Just Be Quiet.”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
Many young ladies hear these words in their lifetime. The Center for Family Justice1 reports 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual abuse in the United States. From my experience and research, in those moments of sexual abuse, young ladies and women hear variations of those three terrifying words. These words potentially strike terror in their hearts for years to come.
I recently watched the movie Beautifully Broken, and it accurately portrayed the impact of these three terrifying words on a young life. Those three words keep numerous women from reaching out, seeking support, and finding healing for deep wounds in their hearts and lives. When women are terrorized by words that silence, their fear reaches far beyond their faith. For many of these women, questioning their faith is normal. Many ask how a loving God could allow such a traumatic event in their lives, and it causes them to let their faith slowly slip away. Without even realizing it, their fear becomes the center point of their life.When women are terrorized by words that silence, their fear reaches far beyond their faith. - Karen Smith Click To Tweet
I know a 15-year-old young lady who had it all together. She loved Jesus, made good grades, and was loved by many. She came from a great, well-respected family. One sultry, summer day, her youth pastor stopped by her family’s home to deliver some of his garden-raised vegetables. The young lady was alone but never feared this youth pastor and close family friend. The youth pastor and the young lady visited for a few minutes standing right inside the front door. Very unexpectedly, as the youth minister was exiting, he turned around and pinned the young lady tightly against the door. He rubbed her hair and said, “I have never kissed a girl with braces on.” In an instant, that statement quickly became false. First one long passionate kiss and then another. The shocked, young girl stood helplessly pinned against a door. This family friend and treasured youth pastor taking advantage of a situation and a young lady took her breath away and left her feeling powerless and helpless. Unexpected trauma quickly paralyzes its victims.
And then the three terrifying words came, “Don’t tell anyone.” Your parents would be so disappointed if they knew this happened. They would not even believe you if you told them.” Lies. Pure lies now believed by a 15-year-old girl. Paralyzed by unexpected trauma and silenced by three terrifying words.
This experience was the first time something like this had ever happened to her. Unfortunately, it was not the last. She became a victim for years to come. All the while believing the lie that she just needed to be quiet. No one would believe her.
She became terrified every time the doorbell rang.
Terrified at the thought of being alone with this man who had been such a godly influence in her life.
She was afraid when personal interactions occurred between the two of them in public or at church.
A young life overflowing with fear.
A young lady with nowhere to turn.
A girl learning to endure.
She quickly learned what it was like to be alone.
I don’t know about you, but my anger is rising, and my heart aches. This is a real-life story. This 15-year-old is not alone in her story of abuse and fear. Other young ladies face similar circumstances on a daily basis.
What happens to this young lady?
Does healing ever come?
This particular young lady buried her pain and shame. When marriage came, her relationship with her husband suffered because of the abuse. She grew into an adult with a distorted view of love. This distorted view kept her from understanding God’s unconditional love. She believed she had to earn love from others. In her 40’s, much healing still needs to occur in her life. Fear still reigns in many places. However, instead of a 40-year-old, I see this 15-year old girl finally experiencing healing in her life. I see a lady gradually releasing her fears and allowing others to love her. I watch her sob as she begins to understand the hurt and pain she has in her heart. What a blessing she is learning to experience God’s unconditional love and to love unconditionally. A healing journey has begun.
Healing journeys are painful but beautiful!
I have been awakened in understanding how difficult putting your faith beyond fear is in the face of significant trauma.
Trauma is an unwanted visitor that shows up unexpectedly and causes undesired hurt and pain in your life. Trauma is not limited to sexual abuse. I have experienced trauma in times of medical crisis. I walked through trauma with the death of my mom. Trauma happens to us all. And sometimes it is not men who silence us, but rather the enemy whispering three terrifying words in our minds.
Have you been silenced by your trauma or have you talked about your trauma? If you are being terrorized by silencing words, I ask that you reach out to someone today. Talking through trauma is the beginning of the healing journey in your own life. Please, put your faith beyond fear and reach out to me or a trusted pastor and let someone walk with you as you begin your healing journey.Trauma is an unwanted visitor that shows up unexpectedly and causes undesired hurt and pain in your life. - Karen Smith Click To Tweet