Tuesday

Letter to an Abuser

As you may know, I run a support group at my church for women who have been sexually abused or assaulted called Beyond the Silence. In this group, one of the many difficult things that we do is write a letter to our abusers. We don't give it to them. We write it for ourselves. We write it because while naming and describing the evil done to us does not ensure automatic personal healing, it does however provide clarity. If it is not defined, named or described, then it remains hidden. Telling the truth about sexual assault by acknowledging the traumatic experience is one important aspect of healing. The only way to move from denial, isolation, and self-protection is to look honestly at the assault that has been committed. Healing begins when the secret is disclosed and the shackles of silence are broken. I say this letter is for ourselves because, while confronting your abuser may seem like the right thing to do, it is different for each person. For some it might be a great thing to do. They may confront their abuser, receive an apology, and feel a sense of freedom or closure. However, for others, confrontation may only worsen the effects of the assault. For example, I wrote a letter to the man who kidnapped me but I didn't give it to him because I know that he isn't remorseful. Confronting him probably won't lead to an apology, but I don't need one from him. Would it be amazing if he suddenly was remorseful and sincerely apologized? Yes! But I don't need it to move on and continue my healing. That is something that every survivor must come to realize someday in order to continue their healing as well.


Writing this letter to your abuser is never easy. Many women find it too difficult to do. Even though they're writing it only for themselves to read, they're still reliving details from their pasts that they've desperately kept hidden for a long time. One of the women in my group wrote a letter to her abuser and she gave me permission to share it with you. I hope it touches your heart the way it did mine.



Emily,
It has taken me 34 years to be able to deal with the pieces of broken glass you left me with. To be able to look in the mirror and not hate what I see; not hate how I feel; not be suspicious of everyone who tried to hug me, to love me or be my friend. It's sad to think that you may not remember what you did. I cannot fathom that a predator like you would forget the pleasure you found when you sexually assaulted my sister and I at the ages of 8 and 10. Now that I am a mother of four I have thought back to when they were 8 and 10 and it made me sick to the core of my being that someone could look at them in the perverse and unnatural way you looked at us. I couldn't bear the thought of what you did to us being done to them. But enough of that. This letter is to share some very important information with you. If you'll understand or even care is irrelevant, but I need to return to you what you left me with back in 1980; back in my sister's bedroom, on the bottom bunk of their bunk beds as you muffled my cries with your nasty hand.  
I return to you the shame, feelings of unworthiness, anger, bitterness, sexual dysfunction, fear of the dark, fear of intimacy, and self-loathing. These feelings have now been replaced. My spirit, my body, and my heart now speak a language that is foreign to you.....strength.
I return to you the 100 billion tears I've shed; the 100 billion sleepless nights; the 100 billion thoughts of hate towards you and replace them with steps towards being made whole and feeling free.
I also return to you the pain and angst that penetrated the core of my being every day. That made me question everything and everyone; which left me trusting no one and hating my future because I couldn't see anything but your face smirking at me.

I return to you that ache that sat in my womb at the thought of someone doing to my kids what you did to me.
Now that I've returned all these things to you, I am also going to give you something; something that isn't for you Emily, but for me.....forgiveness. Forgiveness because although I am working on being a better me, I cannot do this without exorcising this hate I have for you. It's been the cancer that has gone undetected and undiagnosed for years. It's the cancer which almost ended my life on many occasions. But I have found the perfect physician who offered me a cure. His name is Jesus Christ and His cure for my disease is forgiveness. You should make an appointment with Him and ask Him to forgive you too. Maybe then, when your time comes, you won't rot in Hell with the other pedophiles and sexual predators. Make no mistake, I would love to see you squirm and suffer; to hear you scream and know that no one is coming to your aid; to see what your life would be like after an experience like that, but, because of you, I've been brought to a place with some amazing survivors. With a group of women who have endured and who aren't willing to let people like you destroy our futures. I've learned that everyone isn't cruel; that I'm not abnormal; that I'm not meant to be a shell taking up space.
Writing this letter to you is me making the assumption that you're literate and capable of recognizing and admitting what you did to me and my little sister. But it is also my way of saying goodbye to your unwelcome existence in my life. I'm learning to pick up my mat and walk by faith, one step at a time.
Anne
Daughter of a King

Thank you Anne for letting me share your letter. And, yes, all that's dead inside can be reborn...even if you're worn.

"But you be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work." - 2 Chronicles 15:7



 

WORN by Tenth Avenue North


♥ Diana
(aka Jurney Eve)

Monday

Forgiveness-The Prisoner That it Really Frees is You

Forgiving someone who's done you wrong is one of the hardest things to do. I know because I've done it. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with my story, I was kidnapped by a stranger when I was 17 years old. It took me a very, very long time to forgive that man, but with God's help I finally did

Just to give you some perspective on how long it took me to truly forgive; I was kidnapped in 1991 and I didn't forgive him, I mean truly forgive him until 2007. It took me 16 years to forgive the man who kidnapped me, sexually assaulted me and tried to murder me. 

I must have said "I forgive him" about a dozen times before 2007 but the hurt was always there proving to me that I hadn't, even though I wanted to. I tried. Over and over again I would pray and ask God to help me forgive that man but over and over again I found myself bound up with all the pain of my assault that I hadn't dealt with yet. It wasn't until I started releasing that pain that I started experiencing forgiveness.

"Total forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling-at least not at first-but rather an act of the will."

I had made a choice to forgive and that's the first step. You've got to want to forgive the person who's wronged you. And maybe, like me, you'll have to forgive over and over again until you "feel" like you've forgiven. Maybe you're holding onto something that's keeping you from truly forgiving, like I was. I was holding onto my memories of my assault. I was keeping them locked up tight inside of me. But I've learned that you've got to let "it" out so you can let God in.

Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting. It doesn't condone that person's actions against you and it's never as easy as you think it's gonna be.

Today, I'm going to take my forgiveness one step further by praying for the man who kidnapped me. This is actually something I've been doing for some time now but today I feel led to really focus on him. Maybe this sounds strange to you but I know that only through God will this man be healed. Only by experiencing Christ's love will he be free of the demons that have ruled his heart for so long. So, if you feel compelled to pray with me, I ask that you say this prayer with me now.

"Dear Jesus. I lift up my perpetrator to you. I ask that you touch his heart; surround him with your presence and love. I ask that You extend Your grace and mercy to him. Let him know that I forgive him. For every wrong he's committed against me, I forgive him. I pray that one day soon he'll come to know and love You the way I do. I give thanks in advance for everything You're doing in my life and in his life and in everyone's life that has been touched by this sin. In Jesus' name I pray...Amen"



Forgiveness

It's the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don't deserve

It's the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word...

Forgiveness

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It's always anger's own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It's the whisper in your ear saying 'Set It Free'

Forgiveness
 
Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness
 
It'll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it's power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness
 
I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
 
Forgiveness

BY MATTHEW WEST


Thank you.

♥ Diana
(aka Jurney Eve)

Friday

Glee Tackles Sexual Violence

Glee, FOX's hit show, has done it again, tackling an issue important to teens: sexual abuse and assault. 

In this week's episode, two glee club members — one male and one female — disclose that they are survivors of sexual violence. Working with RAINN, Glee stars Becca Tobin and Blake Jenner filmed a PSA for the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which Fox aired at the end of the episode.

The episode, "Lights Out," is timely, with the Steubenville case still in the news and new reports about teens that have committed suicide following sexual assaults in Canada and Los Angeles. The recent spotlight on the correlation between sexual assault and suicide emphasizes the importance of survivors getting help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE or online.rainn.org).

Glee has been celebrated for taking on important social issues relevant to teens. Since its debut in 2009, the show has tackled topics such as bullying, mental illness, LGBT issues and now sexual assault. Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted; nearly half of all victims are under the age of 18. Survivors of sexual violence are at higher risk for suffering from mental health issues such as depression, PTSD, self-harm, substance use and eating disorders.
Glee, which has single-handedly made glee clubs "cool" again, has won a Golden Globe Award and a Peabody Award. The series enjoys critical acclaim, a die-hard fan base, two Grammy Award nominations, two platinum and three gold albums, more than 43 million songs and 12 million albums sold worldwide, two sold-out concert tours, a 3D movie, four Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes, including the award for Best Television Series — Comedy or Musical.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it’s never too late to get help. Talk to someone who understands what you're going through. Visit online.rainn.org to chat one-on-one with a RAINN staff member 24/7.

Learn how to help a loved one affected by sexual assault here.
“Like” Glee on Facebook and download the Facebook Fan Page app. Follow the series on Twitter @GLEEonFOX and join the discussion at #glee.

About Glee GLEE is a musical comedy about a group of ambitious and talented kids who escape the harsh realities of high school by joining a glee club where they find strength, acceptance and, ultimately, their voice.

About RAINN
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. The hotlines have helped more than 1.8 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.

 ARTICLE TAKEN FROM WWW.RAINN.ORG


You Go Glee!
You make me proud to be a Gleek!


♥ Diana
   (aka Jurney Eve)

Tuesday

Diana Oakley's Story
VIDEO MADE BY JEREMY HARMSEN

God I Need You Now

 Are you struggling with something right now and you feel like you keep praying and praying but nothing seems to be happening? How many times have you cried out, "God please take this!"?

 Most of us are standing at a road we didn't plan but that doesn't mean we should give up. I know from experience that when we pray to God sometimes He answers with a 'Yes', sometimes He answers with a 'No' and sometimes He says, 'Not yet.' 

I don't know why God does the things He does but I trust Him and I know that He knows what's best for me...and what's best for you. Please don't stop reaching for Him. 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
 Ecclesiastes 3:11



Need You Now - by Plumb

VIDEO MADE BY BRENTON BECK


♥ Diana