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I AM 1:4

By Erika

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I previously shared that my husband and I wanted to start a blog so we could share our stories, the stories of others, and provide hope to those in need of it. I know firsthand what it’s like to be in a dark place and be desperate for hope. I was that child, teenager, and a young woman who desperately needed it throughout my life. At a young age, I was the victim of childhood sexual abuse.

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I buried my secret for years until I was at a period in my life where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I carried around guilt and shame because of it. I can remember lying on my apartment floor as an adult weeping because I felt like I was at the lowest point in my life. Typically, I could solve many problems, but this was something that I could not fix on my own. Through resources, counseling, supportive friends, family, and God, I could work through some painful issues and find healing in areas I never thought would be possible.

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During my season of healing, I learned that 1 in 4 girls have reported being sexually abused and 1 in 6 boys have reported it. I’ll NEVER forget the day I was EX-POSED to that information. It was overwhelming. I envisioned the Dallas Cowboys Stadium filled with people and imagined every fourth seat a woman had been victimized or every sixth seat a man was the victim of such a horrible act. I remember crying as I was thinking about the number of people that could be. That was just a stadium! Can you imagine how many in people in your community, state, or better yet in the world that has been impacted by childhood sexual abuse? It still overwhelms me to think about it but often I remind myself of the number because it’s a truth we all should be EX-POSED to so we fully understand the impact.

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After spending a few years in counseling and working through a lot of tough stuff, I’ve always known that talking about it with others would be what I commit to doing for the rest of my life. I may not help everyone, but I can help someone, and that’s what I set out to do daily. It may be sharing with a co-worker, chatting with someone on a plane, or catching up with someone at our local coffee shop. You would be surprised at the number of people that open up after I’m vulnerable and share my story.

I know many of you cannot relate to this, and I’m so grateful that you can’t. However, based on the statistics, I’m confident you know someone that must be EX-POSED to what I’m sharing. If you were a victim of abuse, I want to let you know that you’re not alone. Others have experienced the horrible impact of childhood sexual abuse, and we’re in your corner! We are cheering you on to take one step towards healing. For those of you reading this and you’re currently being abused, you don’t have to keep it a secret any longer. Tell a trusted loved one, a licensed counselor, or your local police. You did nothing to cause it, and you don’t have to go another second in the situation.

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Part of what helped me heal was journaling. I wrote this poem after one of my counseling sessions. When I wrote this, the abuse was like a pair of invisible handcuffs that had me bound. However, I always had hope, that one day they would come off, and I would be free! I'm so glad I never gave up on finding freedom. I discovered freedom was worth the work and most importantly, I was worth it! Over the next few weeks, I’ll share my story of the impact childhood sexual abuse has had on my life and the steps I took and continue to take towards healing. Healing is a journey, not a destination so I’ll continue on my path until God calls me home.

Before I EX-POSE you to my poem, I must ask you, “What pain have you buried? What is causing you to carry guilt and shame like childhood sexual abuse caused me to carry around for years? What painful experience caused you to minimize your worth? I know, from experience, it's difficult to dig deep and face what’s caused your greatest pain. It requires EX-POSING truth, dedicating time to work on healing, and deciding that you’re worth it. It’s not always easy, but the mental freedom you gain is worth it!

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I hope this poem encourages you never to lose hope of finding freedom. After you read it, I invite you to share this blog with your friends. Remember, 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys are impacted. I promise you that someone you know will appreciate receiving this information.

Free Indeed

Darkness surrounded the little girl as she experienced so much pain.
She often thought if the abuse didn’t stop she would go insane.

She tried to give her mom a clue, as she cried and wrapped her arms around her mother’s knee.
However, her mother did not understand the clues and did not know what she could not see.

Each time she experienced the abuse, her hope slowly slipped away.
She often thought life would be better if only she could escape.

She did what she thought was best and buried all the pain.
She was convinced that was how to cope and the only way to stay sane.

Years passed, and she realized what she thought helped her cope only put a mask on the pain.
Over time, the internal pain grew stronger, and she knew things had to change.

One night she cried out “Lord, the pain is overwhelming, and I need you so much.
Father, do you hear me? I need your healing touch!”

As tears filled her eyes that night and her heart overflowed with pain, God touched her with his love.
Her life slowly changed.

She knew that night she was in bondage, but soon she would be free.
God promised that “whom he sets free will be free indeed!”

My prayer is that you remember your worth and when you have no words, you can pick up a pen and speak! You can purchase Purple Sparks to help support hundreds of people that decided to pick up their pen.

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