I don’t have the statistics on sexual assault and abuse. I don’t know the numbers in my age group or the percentage of victims in my state.
But I’m guessing you don’t care about the numbers.
I wish I could tell you the three steps to recovery from sexual assault and abuse, but it’s not that simple. I’m guessing you knew that too.
In all honesty, I’m not even the most qualified person to talk about sexual assault and abuse, fortunately not ever experiencing it or not even knowing anyone close to me that experienced it. But I know grace and I know healing.
I see it in you as you get up each day to take on the world and move on from your past. Because if you’re reading this, you’re moving forward.
In my work as a newspaper reporter, I’ve come across jail records of people arrested for sexual assault. My job has been to write stories about them or print their name in black ink for the world to see. We don’t ever print the victim’s name. We just call them ‘victim.‘
But that’s not who you have to be.
And I’m ditching that label starting with myself. From now on, when I have to cover or write about those cases, I’m going to stop and pray for those involved. I’m going to stop and pray for you.
For you the girl with dreams of dancing.
For you the girl who wants to be a first grade teacher.
For you the girl trying to grow up.
Grace means you don’t have to be a victim. Grace means you get to be you. I encourage you to ditch the label, too, but know that it will take time.
No, I’m not an expert in sexual assault and abuse cases, but I know what it means to be broken. And in my brokenness, I’ve tried to cover the bruises with sarcasm and hate. I spent too long loving the label of “broken” and living a life that was bitter because of it.
Even when I decided to ditch the label, I couldn’t understand why those that hurt me weren’t hurting either, and I spent even longer worrying about them. Then when I stumbled over that obstacle, I kept facing what seemed like awful reminders of my brokenness, and each time I had to learn to face them head on. I had to stop being broken and start being me.
This is why healing takes time. It’s a long, mistake-filled and sometimes painful process. But you don’t have to be the victim anymore. You don’t have to be broken anymore.
Ditch the label. Welcome grace, and most importantly of all, take your time.