Call a truce on the effects of sexual abuse.
I didn’t do this.
For far too many years. I resigned myself to let the rapes from the past mess with my head and heart. Flashbacks invaded my sleep. I startled far too easily. Sex within marriage became scary and complicated. I often wondered if I’d ever be normal. I even disconnected from those I loved the most.
The mark that sexual abuse gave me felt indelible, permanently inked with a Sharpie pen. And no matter of scrubbing erased it. (Have you ever felt this way?)
The problem was, I felt that I should be “over” it (and well-meaning people said those same things to me.) After all, I became a Christian, and I heard all those sermons about everything being made brand spanking new. I believed that when I met Jesus, all those scars and marks and fears would instantly leave.
But they didn’t erase.
The pathway to healing came when I realized I needed to face the past again, to choose to heal for my sake and for the sake of those who loved me. I desperately needed freedom. Have you had this same ache?
You are not alone.
Here’s my story:
This is how I looked when the neighborhood teenagers raped me:
Your Abuse Hurts Others Too
I wish I could say that sexual abuse only affected the little girl in that picture, but the truth is, other people are hurt because we’ve been hurt. It’s so not fair, but it’s reality.
That’s why I felt it extremely important to add Patrick’s voice to this project. After every chapter, he shares his perspective as the spouse of a victim, how he coped, what he did right and wrong, and how we healed together. Here’s what Patrick has to say:
I wrote Not Marked for those who have been exploited, but I also wrote it for those who want to help the person in your life who can’t seem to get beyond that painful memory.
Articles Around the Web
I have not been silent about this journey–I just haven’t published an entire book about my healing process–yet.
I’ve written about my struggle in marriage in this viral post, “The Sexy Wife I Can’t Be.” in A Deeper Church
Patrick and I also wrote a post for Christianity Today (Today’s Christian Woman) titled “Opening the Door to Healing.”
And I stuck up for victims in the Her.meneutics post, “I’m Sick of Hearing of Your Smoking Hot Wife.”
Here, I’ve exposed sexual abuse in the Amish community in “Bonnets, Buggies and Sexual Abuse.”
And recently, I read a letter to those boys who molested me:
I wrote Not Marked because it’s the book I needed to read (and I believe it’s a book many need to read).
I did find solace in a counseling-based book, but since it hadn’t been written from an abuse-victim’s perspective, I had a hard time believing the tools shared would help. I asked for a lot of prayer. I went to counseling. I read anything that pertained to healing from sexual abuse, but to be honest, I often felt utterly alone. I believed no one understood. I kept wanting to GET OVER IT, but couldn’t.
Not Marked is the book I was created to write. It’s tearing back the curtain from my healing journey–the good, the bad, the
frustrating, the victorious. It explores the multifaceted way we get well–spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally. It gives practical guidance, mixed with story and hope.
I sit here writing this as an unmarked girl, one who has healed so beautifully from the past that many don’t even know I walked that trail of tears.
And yet, I still ache…not as much for me and that abused little girl, but for YOU.
I want to see you find raucous, wild healing, to be set free from what has marked you. I want you to hold this book in your hands, read the message of hope, and then start down your own freedom path.