“I am damaged at best, like you’ve already figured out…
I’m falling apart, I’m barely breathing;
With a broken heart that’s still beating.
In the pain, there is healing;
In your name, I find meaning.
So I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on, I’m holdin’ on,
I’m barely holdin’ on to you”
Broken – Lifehouse
The last few days have been pretty emotional, with last night being the worst. It’s getting close to the anniversary of my really good friend’s death. And I’m getting sadder as the day approaches. And as much as his death impacted my life, that is not what made my night terrible. It’s not why I am broken.
Last night, my friend Alexander spoke in the high school service that I intern at. We had the ever awkward, the ever inevitable, and the ever “why do I have to be here?!” talk. The sex talk. While he was talking about how sex is more than just a physical act, he brought up how sexual abuse victims aren’t told, “Hey, get over it. It was just physical.” We realize that it affects them to the core. After he brought that up he spoke to the victims in the room.
“I want you to know, and the leaders want you to know that what happened to you wasn’t from God. It wasn’t your fault. It was an act of evil. That was Satan. You are not at fault. If you need someone to talk to, come talk to me or one of the leader.” As those words entered my ears, I felt my body shudder. I felt myself turning red. I felt my eyes get watery. I began to think on all the times I was abused. And I utterly felt broken.
Alexander doesn’t know what happened. None of the leaders know. Sitting there, hearing the words that it wasn’t my fault hit me hard. For years I believed that I was at fault because they made me believe that. I believed that I deserved the abuse. This has affected me in every way, especially in my relationship with Taylor.
When I first met Taylor, I was dealing with one of my abusers being around. I told him what had happened, and I was afraid that he would look at me differently. I thought that he would see me as damaged goods. I figured that he wouldn’t even want to associate himself with me because of what happened to me.
I was dead wrong. After I told him what had happened, he saw me as a young woman with a lot of strength. He was amazed that I trusted him so much since men had abused me in many ways. And now, he even sees me as his future wife!
But the feelings of being broken come and go at times. I still struggle with it, and it might be something that I struggle with for the rest of my life. I can tell Taylor when these feelings come. He reminds me of who I am, what I mean to him and our families. I am loved. I am made whole in Christ. The love and support I have from him and my family will get me through this.
If you have been abused in any way, please talk to someone. Tell a family member. Tell your best friend. Find a counselor. You can even email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Whatever has happened to you, please talk to someone, don’t go through it alone
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/ 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline 1-800-656-HOPE(4673)
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home 1-800-422-4453