Tag Archives | sexual abuse

I’m afraid to write the next memoir

When Thin Places released this year, I felt naked. And rightfully so. I shared my story stark on the page there, my heart displayed for all to see. The pain, the neglect, the sexual abuse, the divorces–all these damaged me and my heart. Hints of those injuries haunt me today still.

One thing that really surprised me was how hard this book was to read for those people who knew me well. Not just painful, but anguishing. I found myself in the place of consoling. I needed to comfort those who knew me, to reassure…

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Answering: Are you disconnected? & Why would God allow abuse?

Yesterday Trudy wrote: Do you sometimes feel disconnected when or after you tell your story – kind of like you’re another person outside of yourself, not wanting to feel the pain? How do you deal with it? My counselor once said that the more one shares the painful story, the more empowered one becomes. Do you find this true for you?

Yes, there are times I feel that way, and if I really listened to myself talk, I might just cry. Sometimes it’s good to have an emotional distance…

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Giving grace to people who violate (and don’t recognize their sin)

I’m thankful to have a blog post up on The Washington Post about the Belgium Catholic Church scandal. You can read When Sex Abuse Isn’t Taken Seriously here.

I can’t describe how angry I get when I hear about victims being ignored or shunned or silenced. Something akin to a holy roar rises up inside me. I remember a time in my life when a well meaning friend excused a man who may have been perpetrating (we couldn’t prove it). “You need to offer more grace,” he said. (more…)

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How Sexual Abuse Affects Us Today

Note: This post is part of the Idea Camp’s exploration of sexual abuse.

It happened so long ago. Nearly forty years now. The picture at the top of this post is me, aged five. The year the boys came and took me away. Stole a year of my life. In ravines. Under trees. In a sheet-canopied bunk bed. With their friends in increasing number.

By grace, I faked sleep so they couldn’t take me.

By grace, we moved away from those boys.

By grace, though others would try to attack through the years, God gave me legs…

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Sexual Abuse: Choose Your Enemies Wisely

enemiesYesterday on my run, the song “Cedars of Lebanon” by U2 came up. The last stanza stunned me. It’s taken me a day to digest it, but I believe there’s deep truth for the victims of sexual abuse hidden there. The lyrics:

Choose your enemies carefully, ’cause they will define you   Make them interesting ’cause in some ways they will mind you   They’re not there in the beginning but when your story ends   Gonna last with you…

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The Mark Part Four: The Idol of Victimhood

This is a hard post to write and admit to. But it’s true. You’d think that someone who was a victim of abuse would shun that victimhood status the moment she realized it, flinging it as far as the East is from the West. Nope. I coddled it. Nursed it. Loved it to ragged death.

At first I said nothing of the abuse. For ten years, I kept my mouth shut. I had nightmares, waking with sweat and fear and heart pounding, but I still didn’t reveal what had happened to me.

Then I met Jesus, and…

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10 Ways Sexual Abuse has Shaped Me.


In no particular order, here are ten things I’ve dealt with in the aftermath of being raped as a five-year-old:

  1. I have believed I have no worth, other than to be used for someone else’s pleasure. I’m thankful this has faded quite a bit, and Jesus has healed me of so much. Still, it lingers. I can easily feel used in so many different areas of my life.
  2. I have been extremely afraid of the dark, of sleep, of storms, of scary situations, of…

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The Mark: A Locating Device for Predators


This came from a reader recently:

A thought for your blog sometime… I would be really interested in hearing you talk more about this idea that those who are abused are”marked.” I read about this and believe that it’s true, but I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on it.

I’ll answer this in the next several posts, but I wanted to start with one I wrote about a year ago about the mark and how it’s affected me professionally.


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Where are they now? Haunted? Fine?

Those of you familiar with me or my story know this: at five, two neighborhood boys spent their free time abusing me. Under trees. In their room. In ravines. In parks.

I’m grateful, so grateful, that I don’t suffer flashbacks anymore. I’m glad their yearlong actions no longer inform how I live my life. They tried to break me, but Jesus healed so many broken, awful, raw places. They meant harm, but now I’m free.

But sometimes, like right…

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From a reader of my recent posts about boundaries in relationships . . . about predators

From Iona–a guest post by a blog reader:

Here are some lessons I’m finding must be taken to heart. These apply to perpetrators in general.

1. Touch Tests: A perpetrator will test your reception of his presence. A perpetrator may be attentive to the story of your past. He may wink as he evaluates your response to his presence. Testing may be in the form of a slight touch of the fingers or hands, or a hug. In I Corinthians 7:1, Paul exhorts man not to touch a woman, and perhaps…

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