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Friday, April 6, 2012

Shatter the Silence

It's been, again, forever, since I've written anything on this blog.  Life just happens.

Anyway - we're on vacation in Minneapolis with our beautiful daughter.  Little man is in Texas visiting his Grandparents.  I've had some time to pick up a book on my kindle called "Rid of my disgrace".  Here are some quotes:

"The refusals of others to speak about sexual assault and listen to victims tell the truth is a refusal to offer grace and healing."

"There is an epidemic of sexual assault, and victims need the kind of hope and help that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can provide.  Tragically, most churches and Christians are woefully unprepared to help the one in four women and one in six men who have been abused sexually.  Worse still, many Christian leaders (including parents) are ignorant of this epidemic because ashamed victims are reticent to simply declare what has been done to them, and untrained leaders do not recognize the signs of sexual assault or know how to inquire lovingly of victims."

I've thought a lot about this in the past - the silence that runs so deep in this topic.  Let me share some of my experiences, without bitterness, of what has happened to me at various times when I have tried to share my past. 

I've had stupidity.  I've been told I must have wanted it if I stayed in the home and didn't run away.  This being told to me by the mother of my first college boyfriend.  I wish I had known then what I know now.  Anyway - without bitterness :)  I've had pity (which I struggle with).  I've had genuine concern - friends who have allowed me to share even though they do not understand.  I've had the loving, gentle touch of my husband who has coaxed me out of my shell, has given me wings to fly, has protected and cherished me and has kissed, so to speak, my scars.  I've had silence.  I've had people who say nothing - but in their saying nothing, say everything.  I've had people who just plain don't know how to respond.

No one likes to talk about the reality of sexual abuse - and especially not in the church.  It hurts too much.  It is graphic - it is raw.  It is very raw.  Most wish to push it under a rug and hope it will go away - hope the victims will stay silent so that they don't make people uncomfortable.  Some think a victims past should stay - in the past.  Christ does, indeed, make all things new - but the making of new things requires the shedding of old.

I talk about my past more than most - but honestly, I don't talk about it enough.  I wonder just how many women I sit next to on Sunday morning who are just waiting for someone to notice, to say something.  I wonder how many women - and men - wish they could just be set free of something that has held them captive for so very long.

Reading this book makes me realize there is more to do.  I don't know what yet, I don't know how - but I really do need to tell my story.  I did, once, and I had a women come up to me and I knew - I knew in 3 seconds - it had happened to her too.  My courage gave her courage.  It was humbling.

I am not good at "ending" posts.  But I guess I would say this.  We really need to blow open the doors of shame in the church.  We need to find a way to make church the place to find healing.  We need to stop acting ashamed of our victims.  We do - we do it by not allowing them to speak, by not giving them a voice, by smiling politely but walking away hoping they will just shut up, by saying nothing.  We need to stop because Jesus offers so much more than that.  Jesus wants so much more for all of us.  Freedom for the captives.  Beauty for ashes.  Prisoners set free.

The doors to the prison need to be blown wide open.  The darkness needs the light of Jesus pouring in to chase the darkness away.  How do we do that?  By breaking the silence.

I'm praying about what to do next - how to create that place - how to be that person.  Trying to figure out what form that will take.  First I have to contact a friend who has asked me to speak but I have been both terrified and waiting for the day I feel like I've - I don't know - I've been perfect spiritually.  But I must find a way - because I am brave enough to talk about what was done to me - I must find a way to allow others to find that strength as well.

1 comment:

Lorna Faith said...

Tami...thanks for being so real and honest. You're right sexual abuse is a topic that is 'shoved under the rug' and there's so many people who need God's healing:) I know my husband experienced this abuse growing up in a Christian we never know what's happening with people. Jesus does set us Tami I'm cheering you on as you step into new adventures of speaking on this...I'm sure a lot of people will be set free because you grabbed onto Jesus and stepped forward in courage :-) BTW following your it!

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