If I had been recovering from cancer, rather than childhood sexual abuse, I never would have heard statements such as:
Just don’t think about it.
How long are you going to milk this?
Maybe you just need prayer.
That was in the past.
Well at least it wasn’t your father who abused you!
So how long have you been in counseling?
Why do you cut yourself? That makes no sense!
And the endless Bible verses thrown out at me such as – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Everything works out for the good for those who love the Lord.” Romans 8:28
Imagine telling someone suffering through chemo – all your pain, nausea, vomiting, surgeries, and the hair loss is a good thing! The looming threat of death is according to God’s purposes. When I was 16, a church member told me, “The Lord allowed all those men to abuse you so that He could use you later.” What!!!!
I’m glad the Susan Komen Foundation was able to help provide support and to rally help for those suffering through the painful effects of cancer. I love that people all over the world wear pink to show support for the victims of cancer. I love that millions of people speak out about their anger over the fact that cancer is killing people. I’m so thankful that billions of dollars are going into research to find a cure. This is all wonderful, but what about the billions of people suffering from a different kind of cancer?
Definition of cancer:
- a serious disease caused by cells that are not normal and that can spread to one or many parts of the body
- something bad or dangerous that causes other bad things to happen
Since the beginning of time it seems, society has been telling survivors of sexual abuse either, “It didn’t really happen,” “That was a long time ago; stop talking about it.” “You wore the wrong clothing; you must have wanted to be raped,” “Did you go out with him?” or “Did you have any alcohol that night?” and on and on.
I tried willing myself to, “just let it go,” “leave it in the past,” “just forget about it,” “forgive those who hurt me, and move on.” Just like cancer cells destroy healthy tissue, I had cancerous lies embedded in the cells of my soul that prevented anything healthy from thriving. As long as I obeyed my abusers, my family, and societal rules, the ignored secrets festered to a point of near death. The cure for my “shameitis” included:
- Telling my secrets over and over so that others can pick up on the lies I was believing and help me acknowledge the truth.
- Forcing myself to remain in the healthy relationships God provided, even though I wanted to run.
- Allowing myself to feel the love others offered.
- Seeking an ongoing and more intimate relationship with God.