I’ve been reading Chapter 3 of the ASCA Survivor to Thriver manual, and it is rather discouraging, frustrating, depressing, but more so, it stirs up my anger, and anger is healthy, healthier than the feelings that leave me stuck. Chapter 3 is painful because it reminds me of all my wounds and weaknesses. I suffer from much of what other ASCA’s do. However, I’m to the point in my life (recovery? healing?) where I no longer put myself down, feeling that I am the problem or defective or any negative thing. It’s true I often feel this world wasn’t built for me, but I no-longer feel unbelonging; I just see the rest of the world as screwed up!
In Christian terms, do I recognize that I am a sinner? Yes. But I am forgiven and made whole in Christ. And the really cool and radical thing about Life in Christ is that all my wounds and weaknesses are redeemed — sanctified — made to be part of The Blessing of my life! I bring up the Christian perspective because I want to make clear to my fellow Christians that I do not consider any of my wounds or weaknesses sins. Sin is doing what you know is wrong. Sin is the willful turning away from what I know to be God’s Will. All the crap that happened to me and in me while I was being abused was the sin of the abuser. And much of the crap that I continue to contend with because I am still wounded is to some extent the fault of the abuser. However, I am glad and grateful that God has given me enough resilience and resources to heal anyway. Anyway, the point here is: don’t confuse wounds inflicted by an abuser with any potential sinning of the abused.
I’m glad I feel anger today. I’m glad I can recognize that what the abuser did to me was abuse, and I should be angry about that. A huge impediment to my feeling whole-heartedly angry is all the nonsense I was taught about forgiving unconditionally right away. Sometimes adults are idiots. When why how did Christians begin to think that those who do wrong should bear no consequences? So often, Christians quote Jesus as saying “turn the other cheek.” However, Jesus was talking to adults. Jesus was talking to adults who were in a position to choose following Him. Children, youth, are not adults. Children and youth should be protected by adults. And when someone hurts a child/youth in any way, they should be punished and make some form of restitution. The adult can choose (or not) to forgive the culprit in terms of not bearing any harm towards them beyond the resolution of the wrong, but the adult (parent/ guardian/ etc) should do everything possible to stop the harm and get justice for the child/youth.
I’m still angry that the bastard who abused me was never prosecuted. My father got a restraining order, but that was it. And by the time I was old enough to consider what I could do for myself, the statute of limitations had run out. I don’t think there should be a statute of limitations on sexual abuse. Sexual abuse causes so much harm, especially if you were in your developing years when it occurred.
There are times when I think the man who abused me should have been castrated. He certainly should never have been allowed to have anything further to do with any children/youth. But that’s not what happened in my community. He lost his job in the local school, but he continued to teach privately and sometimes subbed in other schools, as well as led music ensembles that included youth. From my vantage point the whole community is sick.
Even my own denomination took him in. My own pastor led the man and his wife in a renewal of their vows. But does she realize he continued to contact me everywhere I lived after I left here? He’s a pervert. Each time he found me, I told him to leave me alone, but he didn’t stop until I threatened to call his wife. Even after that, he tried to contact me at a work place when I was living again with my parents. What scum.
So do I forgive him? No. The best I can do is to leave him to God’s judgement. And to work on my own healing. My pastor (at the time of the abuse) directed me to and through forgiving him. What idiocy. There were so many layers of spiritual abuse heaped on top of the sexual abuse, it took me a long time to get down to the original wounds to even begin to heal.
I am glad however that I have been able to forgive my parents. And they me. That relationship was worth redeeming, making whole again, and even better than before. Thank You Jesus for that.
One mystery in all of this is that I conceived. That out of all this harm, something good could come; that’s the mystery. I named her Sarah Maria. I miscarried at 8 weeks, but I caught her as I miscarried. I saw her, her head, her spine, her little phalanges that would become hands. I cleaned her up, placed her in a bed of dried rose petals in a corsage box and buried her in the nearby Civil War cemetery. I buried her at the foot of tree since I couldn’t give her a marker. That tree is no longer there. It was cut down around 15 years after I buried her. Sarah Maria would turn 40 next year. I believe she is in Heaven with Jesus. I thank God for Sarah Maria. She is pure innocence. She is praying for my wholeness. Thank You Lord. Thank You for Sarah Maria.
This is all I can write right now. I’ve been not writing because it is so hard to let myself write what it is I really have to say. But I have to let my voice speak, even if it is raw. I have to quit censoring myself. It’s up to me now to put my healing first. And this is part of it. So here it is. Like it or not, here it is.