Yesterday, I was faced with having to process things regarding experiences I had as a child. It was triggering and stirred a sense of dread in my gut as I worked through what had happened and how someone was to blame, but no one tangible. Child sexual assault, when not dealt with or seen, reaches beyond the stretches of the imagination. It’s devastating to think about and breaks my heart to a degree that words just don’t do it justice.
Somewhere along the way, a child must have been violated and taught to pursue these same sexual behaviors. It would then go from one child to another, and another, and another… and I don’t know where it ended, if it ever did. I was one of these children and I don’t know where it began or who introduced these ideas into the mind of the children… many of us all acting out things we had been taught.
I recall my mother walking in once and speaking to me and another child, that we don’t play that way… but then she continued to leave us to play alone and she never spoke of the matter again. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I began to see that there was a concern and it had to stop. I felt dirty and ashamed for participating in these things, but without a knowledge of how to really deal with it and address it, so we stopped, we let it go, and we moved on.
It wasn’t until I was 16 that I’d tell someone about it. Sharing what had been happening. First my sisters and then my boyfriend who would later become my husband. I was so ashamed and had no idea what to do with it… no one was to blame but there was such anger and devastation I wasn’t sure where to direct those emotions so I stifled them.
Yesterday, those emotions surfaced. I began thinking of the other children who had been affected. How many of us were there altogether? I’ll never know. My gut turns at the thought of it being introduced to me… it being introduced to others… but another child somewhere had it done to them by an adult. An adult violated and stole the innocence of all of us as they violated the boundaries of safety and innocence of the one or many who would thus go to other children to act those things out.
But where do the emotions go? The other children, we’re all victims. The parents, 9 times out of 10 have no idea it’s happening because it’s someone so well loved and trusted harming their child. So the emotions get directed at a faceless and intangible being… an evil that can’t be named; a wickedness only defined by the shadows in the night.
I don’t know what happened to all the children, or who/where they are today, but I’m praying my heart out as we all wrestle with the damage caused. For me, it left me with a confusion of love, sex, boundaries, and safety… and opened me up to further damage by a man named David. It left me vulnerable to accusations and insults about my behavior from my abusive sister J who continues to exploit what happened to me as though it defines who I am today. It left me ashamed of having been a part of it, but not knowing any better in order to do anything about it, and now the damage has been done. It left gaps in relationships and created wounds that would last well into my adult years.
I know there is healing. I know God is bigger than this. He will get me through and just as He is near to me, He is near to the other brokenhearted children who have had to wrestle through these experiences that tie us all together well into their adult years as well. This too does not define us. Our value, our beauty, and our purpose is found in Christ and the enemy can’t steal that away from us, no matter what his attempts are to do so.
Jesus is enough.