Friday, April 15, 2011

It is April. There is hope.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

I keep seeing banners and tweets and updates about it. It seems to be in my face everywhere I turn.
When I was 16, I was a victim of sexual assault.
It's taken me years to talk about. 10 years, to be exact. I've lived with this big, painful, paralyzing, dark secret for 10 years. Nobody knew. And that's how I wanted it. I carried so much shame. So much guilt. I thought people would judge me if they knew. I thought they would leave me, betray me, reject me if they knew the truth. So, I kept the secret. Until almost exactly a year ago. That's when I had possibly the hardest conversation of my life. Unveiling the truth that I'd been hiding for 10 years. There were a lot of tears. And there was a lot of fear. But, once the truth was out there, out in the light, out of the darkness it had been living in for 10 years, everything changed.
The shame and
fear and
pain and
guilt began to disappear.
And were replaced with truth and
joy and
victory and
God began to speak truth and life back into the most broken and wounded places in me. He began to restore and redeem and heal. It was a long, hard road. One that I'm still journeying down. But one that I choose to take every day. I choose to believe the things God says about me. I choose to celebrate and press into God's words for my life. I choose to see the progress I've made. I choose the hope I have in God. Part of healing is a choice. You have to choose to tell your story. Even if you've been keeping it a secret for 10 years. You have to choose to be vulnerable and real. And to trust God.

I'm choosing to tell this part of my story, not because it's fun (it's actually still kind of terrifying to tell... especially in such a public way), but because awareness needs to be raised. One in four women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.
One in four.
The numbers are shocking, but what's even MORE shocking is that many of those women won't report or even talk about the assault.
I'm telling this part of my story so that people know they aren't alone. And so they know that there is hope.
Deuteronomy 31:6 is my constant reminder that there is hope, that God doesn't leave us, that we don't have to be afraid or terrified or fearful... "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
That is his promise to us. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. There is hope.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. That's why I'm choosing to tell this part of my story.


Mimi Moseley said...

So proud of you. You have moved from a position of fear to a place of power. The enemy no longer has that power. You do & you choose expose it. Thank you on behalf of the women/girls who need to be freed of this shame. They did not ask for this scar but you can help them see Jesus has a purpose for that show what He has done with that pain.
You are so courageous. Don't give up.

Anna said...

Yeah, what Mimi said. :)
But in all seriousness I had no idea. I missed your testimony at the woman's night and I have always meant to ask you about it. I think it's awesome that you are taking something satan tried to use to destroy you to help others, to free others and to bless others. Life can throw us some pretty crappy curves sometimes but God will always use it. You are an amazing and powerful woman. I'm so blessed that you are a part of my life and of Malea's life.

Sarah said...

tears. of course.:) God speaking through you is amazing. always. love you. so much.

stuckinmypedals said...

Big time brave points to you, friend. Thanks for sharing. Your testimony is beautiful because your share it scars and all.

Amy @ Increasingly Domestic said...

Wow Emily, I had no idea. You are such a strong and beautiful woman and I am so proud of you for stepping out into the light with this! What a big step...but i believe that God will use your testimony to help other women.

You are amazing!

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