I have already shared this on Facebook as a note, but I wanted it on my blog as well. It is important that the message that every life, no matter how it was conceived be fought for and valued. To all my readership, please like and share this on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you.
I started this blog back in November of 2016. It has been sitting in the draft folder all this time as I worked through the deep emotions that stirred it up. I am not as emotional as I was when I first wrote “When ‘The He’ Won’t Go Away”. I believe with all my heart that this blog still needs to be shared. So often survivors of sexual assault (sexual abuse, incest, rape, sexual exploitation, sex slavery, sex trafficking, sexual harassment, etc) are shamed because we struggle with our triggers. If we claim to be Christians, we are shamed and judged that we are not trusting in Jesus or not forgiving enough because of our struggles. For this reason, I have kept much of the raw emotion in this blog. So without further comment…
Recently, the face of my rapist of six years has been thrust in my face! My younger brother and sisters have decided to have a relationship with him. In doing so, they took individual pictures with him and posted them on Facebook. One sister even had it as her profile picture. My deepest grievance with them is that they didn’t talk to me, warn me or anything. I knew the day would come when they would reach out to this man. I just can’t help but think if they realize the depth of evil he put me through. I am not angry with them, just hurt. This will take time for me to process. I don’t know if I should even bring it up to them or not. Will they even listen or understand why I am hurt, scared, or sick at heart?
While I have forgiven all of my abusers and rapists, the fact is that, what they did to me will have life-long impacts. They stole my very dignity, my childhood, my ability to trust, and my ability to be loved without suspicion. These are just a few of the surface issues. Often the struggle of survivors of domestic violence, and sexual assault get labeled and then overlooked by those around us. We are told to get counseling and get over it. If we are Christians, we are told to forgive and forget. Jesus did! God chooses to remember our sins no more, but we as Christians are commanded to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. We are not commanded to forget. Jesus sure didn’t forget his scares. Actually, he pointed them out to his disciples.
Let me list some of the impacts that will never go away. My father forever changed my family tree. I will never, on this earth have a God-ordained father and mother as my children have. Even though my biological mom is alive and we have a good relationship, she wasn’t able to be a mom to me. My bio father took that from her and me. In my most honest moments, I feel like an orphan. There is a deep whole where the love of a father and mother go that is empty. (Christians, before you start, I know I am loved by the Father.) My father took that from me. My rapist of six years, whose face has blown up my Facebook, ruined any hope of an earthy father’s love with rape and sodomy. I will only ever have half-siblings. This is my reality. Because of what my father did, I fear guns and male strength. This is my reality. Am I healing? YES by the blood of Jesus! I know that I am loved. The emptiness is filled with Christ. The wounds and scars are still there!
My step-father changed my view of intimacy. To be loved, I had to perform sexual acts. When I wouldn’t, I was raped. I felt worthless, dirty and that I must have deserved it because I was conceived from rape. He pitted me against my mother. That I know of, he still blames me. He stole my body over and over for 6 years. He said that he would never let me go. His face appears when I least expect it. Writing about what happened during these six years is still the hardest for me. This is my reality. Am I healing? YES. For each thing I have put, I choose to forgive. I rest in the arms of the Father and trust that He is good.
I have often felt shame for sharing these parts of my journey. People have told me that I should be over it or not so emotional about what these men did to me. I have been asked how come I am still triggered after all these years? Shouldn’t it be easier by now? I have been told that I shouldn’t be a victim. I should JUST trust Jesus and it will all be okay. I am not a victim. I do TRUST Christ! He is my LIFELINE in a world that feels like it could crash around me at times. He is my cornerstone, my ROCK when the ground shakes beneath me.
Please don’t give me christianese when I start talking and shedding light on what one my rapist did to me. Sharing the abuse that my father and step-father did to me brings freedom not only to me but to others as well. Jesus is my Healer, and Redeemer, and He has made me whole.
I want to remind you of this: When I share that I am triggered or that my PTSD is screaming at me, it might make you uncomfortable. I don’t need polite platitudes, or inspirational quotes. A simple “I am sorry you are triggered.” or ” I don’t know what to say.” is okay. Just being there to let me process is what I need. Talk to me. Don’t hide what is hard. My life has been hard. As a survivor, I just want to be validated and believed. I want to be listened to and loved. And when “THE HE” won’t go away, I just want to be reassured that I am safe and that I am able to fight for me now. (My husband tells me that I could take HIM anytime.) Be my friend and lead me to the cross where my salvation comes from.
Finally, this all is a reminder that my rapists are guilty. Not me! None of them have “served justice” for the crimes committed against me. One died having never served a day in jail and the other “plead to a lesser charge”, serving only a fraction of what he would have been given. Please understand I am grieved today because of this injustice. I have forgiven. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that they will stand before God, and they will receive eternal justice. My father has died. I do not know if he was a repentant Christ follower or not. I do not know if he is in heaven or hell. My heart’s prayer is that He was covered by Christ’s blood and stands in Heaven. I don’t know. My step-father is alive and looks well. He has not repented for the crimes that he has committed. Because I have forgiven him, I hope that he is saved. I know that he will either suffer for eternity in hell if he rejects Christ, or will receive redemption, if he repents and follows Christ.
Because Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED!”
I want to share a page from my journal. For the past three weeks, I have been on a roller coaster of emotions. I faced a deep-rooted fear that was planted when I was around 4 years old. In the process of working through my healing, I had another blow that involved my rapist of 5 to 6 years. I know that the talk of rape and its effects is very uncomfortable for most people, but it is a very real horror with real, long lasting consequences. For the first time in 22 years, I may see a few of my rapist children. Even writing those words sends shivers down my spine and causes my stomach to turn. I share this because it occurred to me that there are other survivors of long-term and short-term rape/sexual assault who might have or will struggle with this very issue. Often, we are told that we are just emotional or taking things to personally. Well, I will tell you that it is very personal. So please read and share:
How one man can cause such deep pain and rifts breaks my heart. It has been 22 years since he got caught in his crime. His crimes against me went on for about 6 years. His crimes grossly affected me, but they also affected my loved ones. Sitting here, I have new realizations of how Christ protected me from a certain future. I am in anguish over the place I am in. My heart cries out words I can’t write because they are to graphic to repeat. I long to be understood but only He really knows. I forgive! I forgive! But the pain is real. The struggle is real! The wounds are real. The story isn’t fiction; it happened over and over, day and night. By His stripes, with His nail-scarred hands, beneath His blood, I am overcoming, but the pain, the choices I face, the choosing to feel! It is real!!! Sorrow, horror, anger, heartache, distress, pain: they are real for a crimes committed against me over and over again. I rest in His peace but must sit here in tears as He continues yet another open heart surgery on His redeemed daughter. No pain-numbing meds for me. I must face this. I must make this choice for my good and my children’s good. He is for me. He is protecting me. I only need His validation. He is with me. Release everyone else, their thoughts and choices and cling to Him for dear life! He is the only one who can know intimately the crimes that caused this heart attack.
~ The Heart Cries of His Redeemed Daughter
Thank you for sharing in my healing. Encourage the survivors in you life.
This is a copy of the speech I gave yesterday at The Courage Conference. I hope it is a blessing to those who read it.
Good Afternoon. My name is Rowena. It is a privilege to be here today. Let us begin with prayer.
I would like to start with a story of a young man, sentenced for crimes he
didn’t commit. Here is a list of his perpetrators:
A.) A friend betrayed him
B.) The rest of his friends abandoned him.
C.) Religious and Community leaders conspire against him to murder him.
D.) Government officials use the legal system to sentence him to death, knowing he was innocent.
What did man say about forgiveness?
As we continue our time together, we will explore how forgiveness is the day to freedom from the strongholds that bind us tightly. We will discover the Author of Forgiveness and His commands to follow in His footsteps.
You might be wondering if I know what its is like to be told the I must forgive. My life story is one of redemption and forgiveness. Let me share with you parts of my story. I will start with a list of sinful actions that I have had to ask forgiveness, followed by a list of sins committed against me.
Here is the list of my sinful actions for which I have had to confess and ask to be forgiven of:
>Being a sinner in general. My salvation was at age 5.
>Hating my dad for abusing me.
>Hating my childhood mom because she didn’t protect me.
>Hating my real mom because she didn’t believe or protect me.
>Hating my step-father because he raped me.
>Being unfaithful to my husband by having sexual conversations with
another man online.
>Giving in to same-sex attraction desires by participating in inappropriate
behavior with other women while being married to my husband.
>Threatening to leave my husband and children in anger.
Here is a list of the sinful actions of others against me which I have extended forgiveness:
>The first 10 years of my life consisted of sexual abuse by my dad, older brother and uncle.
>At age 4, it was revealed that my older sister was actually my mom.
>At age 10, I was told the truth of my dad also being my
grandfather because he raped his daughter and got her pregnant.
>My dad was a pastor of a church.
>When I was 10, we escape my dad’s grip and move to a small town in
>During ages of 10 and 11, sexual abuse started by my future step-father.
>The pastor of the church we were going to, blamed me for my future
step-father molesting me, saying that I had a demon that made men
>Molestation turns to rape and all types of sexual assaults at the hands of
of my step-father from ages 10-16.
>Raped at age 20 by a stranger, in my home, while my husband away for
>After my 30th birthday, I found out that my husband struggled with porn
This list isn’t complete, but it give you a glimpse of the path of forgiveness in my life.
I share this list with you to give you a foundation to help answer the question, “You want me to forgive ‘Who’?”.
I will demonstrate four key points on forgiveness. The are:.
1. How Christ extends forgiveness on the cross and commands us to forgive too.
2.What forgiveness is not and what it is.
3. Name the “Who” (and “What”)
4. Practical way to work through forgiveness (Pray, forgive, bless)
To move forward, let’s start wth the young man in the introduction.
Main Point 1. He had plenty of wounds inflicted on Him. Have you guessed who this person is? It is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Here are verses from the Bible about forgiveness:
A. Mark 11:25
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
B. Matthew 6:14-15
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
These verses are commands from Jesus. He commanded forgiveness, but do we
see Him forgive? YES!!! Let us look at the Scriptures. Luke 23:33-35 says,
“33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”[a] And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”
He forgave them in the middle of causing him harm.
Now that we have examined Christ forgiveness and His command to forgive…
Main Point 2. Let us dig deeper into what forgiveness is not and what it is
A. Forgiveness isn’t saying that sin is okay or allowing it to continue.
Jesus died for the forgiveness of sin, so the sin did happen and was wrong. It was so wrong, that Jesus shed His blood for it on the cross. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” Other verses that speak to Christ forgiveness through the shedding of His blood are Hebrews 9:22 and 1Peter 3:18a.
Forgiveness comes after repentance. Repentance is “turning from sin.” Mark 1:4-“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
B. Forgiveness isn’t waiting to receive an apology. Refer to Luke 23:33-35 and
Jesus forgave having no apology extended to Him.
C. Forgiveness is not forgetting.
example: How many of you have heard “Forgive and forget!”? I have
heard this from family members who harmed me. I have forgiven them,
but I cannot forget.
D. Forgiving doesn’t stop the pain.
example: I can tell you that the pain of my sexual assaults is very real.
Feeling pain from your memories doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven. I will discuss forgiveness and painful memories in a session tomorrow.
E. Forgiveness isn’t trusting again quickly or reconciliation.
example 1: I forgave my father for sexually abusing me. Should I let him
meet my children and hug them? NO WAY!! There is not trust there.
example 2: My older brother molested me. I have forgiven him, but
do I have to have a trusting relationship with him? Nope. I can be kind
and love him with the love of Christ and my relationship ends there.
F. Forgiveness and Justice
1. In talking about forgiveness, justice is not neglected. Although I
forgave my abusers and rapists, I pressed charges on them and
pursued justice through the legal system.
2. Ultimately, justice will come through Christ Jesus. The person
who you forgive will either come to faith in Christ and justice will
be met at the cross of calvary, or they will receive the ultimate justice
in eternal separation from God in hell for being unrepentant.
G. Forgiveness is an ongoing event.
1. Sometimes you forgive someone and they keep on sinning, so you
continue to forgive. (Remember Jesus said seventy times seven.) Now if
you or your loved ones are in danger, remove yourself(s) from danger.
2. Other times, you forgive a person or persons, but then memories or
triggers happen. Forgiveness may be needed again to block bitterness
from taking root.
example: My husband puts is hand on my knee when he is driving.
All of a sudden I remember my step-father hurting me. I quickly
pray a prayer to forgive him in that memory. I release him to God
and pray for his salvation.
Main Point 3. Where are you on the path of forgiveness?
A. New-never herd about forgiveness before.
B. Informed-You have heard about forgiveness but haven’t
put it into action
C. Starting to apply the knowledge of forgiveness to your life.
D. Been forgiven and following Christ command to forgive.
E. Walking in freedom.
Main Point 4. Name the “Who.” (and “What”)
A. As you have listened to me talk, “who” came to mind?
B. What was the circumstance?
example: I choose to forgive my dad for raping my mom and getting her
pregnant with me, for causing me to have a huge hole in my heart,
and for sexually abusing me too. I pray that he finds faith in you,
Jesus, for his salvation.
Thank you so much for your attention.
I know that this topic has been intense and painful for many of you. My heart is with you. I love you and have prayed for each of you as I prepared to speak on this topic. I can attest to the fruitfulness of forgiveness. I have been forgiven by God and my significant others for many things. It is freeing to have the debt for those wrongdoings forgiven. Because I have experience forgiveness, I know that my key points are a way of working through forgiving others. Again, these points are : 1.) Christ forgave and commands us to forgive like He did. 2.) What forgiveness is not and what its is. 3.)Where are you on the path of forgiveness? and finally, 4.) Name the “who.” (and “what).
I hope that this session has been a benefit to you on your journey with Christ. Thank you for taking the time to attend this session. If you would like more information on my story or have questions about forgiveness, I will be available after this session. You can also email me at email@example.com. More of my info is on the slide above.
I pray the peace Christ dwell with you.