by Chris Stump
I never thought I would need to accept this reality. Nor did I think I’d come to a place to admit to myself and others that this happened. I never thought of embracing the fact that what happened to me at ten years old had a colossal impact on how I perceived the world around me, my relationships, and how I interacted with others. I never thought I’d utter these most pungent words — “I’m a sexual abuse survivor”.
I never felt shame as an abuse victim, mainly because I didn’t think I was abused. I just saw those few instances as mere opportunities for an older guy to provide me what I was already hungry for. I was just as responsible for what happened as he was, I thought. It was merely an experience in the past with no
consequences to my soul or well-being. Having gone through a recovery program I should have known better.
The weeks after that I began to come to the point of accepting the fact that I had been sexually abused. It wasn’t something that I had control over. Though the experiences felt good and provided for a need that I had, enjoying it did not make me responsible for what happened. I was a young, naive, ten year old starving for male affection. Understanding this allowed me to see the encounters for what they were.
I began to accept the idea that I had been sexually abused, but I still struggled with the idea of it really having an impact on my life. Of course I had issues, but I didn’t believe they stemmed from the few encounters I had with the older guy. But, as I began to read and learn more about sexual abuse, I was
able to see how it made a profound impression on me. Sexual abuse survivors are usually skeptical of everyone – Bingo! Sexual abuse survivors have a hard time trusting people – Right here!
These two characteristics describe me exactly. I’ve had trust issues with people for as long as I can remember, and I’m always skeptical of people – the ones I know and the ones I don’t know. I really believe this has hindered me from building relationships with more people.
Can there be anything else God? That’s what I’d ask. Why would such a loving God put one of His children into a situation where he’d grow up feeling gay, skeptical of others, and have the inability to trust people? Bitterness that I once had began to well up inside of me again. I was discouraged and fed up with all the stuff I had to work through from my childhood. The homosexuality thing was enough in and of itself – now this?
I didn’t want to go to God. I was tired of being hurt. So I was going to handle everything on my own. This led me into a deep depression, full of hopelessness, frustration, and rage. Why did God fail me? I couldn’t trust Him, I didn’t want to.
Have you ever found yourself in that position? It’s as if you are tired of being powerless and no longer want to be dependent on anyone, because that leaves you violated. I was powerless with the older guy and was violated. I was dependent on God, and felt violated by Him. This put me in a place of turning inward, trusting myself. This was the easier and “safer” thing to do. But instead of growing and healing, I spiraled downwards into my own despair. The very source of my life had become the disdain of my soul. But in
running from the Source, I was running from my own healing.
So many times I hear people saying that the Lord didn’t cause this traumatic experience in your life, He merely allowed it to happen to use for the good of His Kingdom in the future; or He was there in the midst of the pain – He was there weeping tears of pain in those situations. I can’t really say that right now regarding my sexual abuse. I’m not at a place to really see that yet. Honestly the wounds are still very raw, and I do hurt, still questioning why God allowed this to happen. But I’ve learned through the couple of months of pure pain and desperation, that I can’t walk this out alone, and if you’ve been abused you can’t either.
How can you trust when you’ve been violated? It’s a process I’m still walking through. Whether you’ve been abused sexually or not, we are all marred with some kind of violation to our bodies and souls. It’s easy to project our own concept of God on to Him, when in reality He is a being far bigger and mysterious to even grasp, much less label with our own notions of who God is. He’s not a violator like my abuser. He’s not a broken human being like so many that have caused emotional scarring in me, and I in them. He’s a creator of life; He’s love; He’s father; He’s your protector.
Psalm 18:1-2 says this:
“I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.”
I can’t tell you that I’m at peace with the fact that I was abused. I can’t tell you that He allowed this to happen to bring glory and honor to Himself. But I can tell you that I can’t heal from this violation without Him. Though I found myself in a place of unbelief in God’s goodness and faithfulness, I can tell you now that He is faithful and a stronghold for our protection. I know it grieves His heart when any form of brokenness is acted out on His precious children. And I know that He is a restorer. I couldn’t restore myself to wholeness…even if I tried. I need a redeemer to redeem the darkness of my past. We all do.
Trusting is hard when you’ve been violated. But I know the one who was violated himself on our behalf (Isaiah 53:5) is the person to trust in this dark time you may be facing. Believe in who God says He is and allow yourself to fall vulnerable before the one who will never violate or forsake you. Barricade yourself in the one who is your shield, strength, and stronghold. Trusting when you've been violated in the one who redeems will truly bring about restoration and healing in your life.