Even on a normal day, I am not very active on social media, so “viral” things usually pass right by me, unnoticed. On Mondays, however? I am even LESS likely to notice something “out there” in the land of memes and hashtags, etc. because my Mondays are spent with a classroom full of teenagers discussing the topics that I assume you all know are easily the most favorites for teens: Philosophy of Theology, Epistemology, Worldview, and Apologetics.
(If you think I’m kidding about how much teenagers love these topics, you are mistaken. Teenagers are natural philosophers! But back to my goal with this article …)
Today I could not help but notice all of the #MeToo posts on my dearest friends’ FaceBook pages. There were so many that I stopped to read the backstory on this tragic, good, horrific, and beautiful hashtag. And finally. At 10:00PM, I added my own #MeToo to my public FaceBook page with a link to my posts on my sexual assault and recovery:
A few minutes after I posted it, however, I was overwhelmed with a desire to reach out to any recent survivors of sexual assault who may be suffering in particularly acute ways this evening.
The truth is, I had to pray and think before I posted my story today. But it didn’t hurt me to share it. Sure, it certainly isn’t pleasant to talk about. But oh! I would guess that for some of you, just trying to type the six characters of #MeToo was like having rusty nails scraped over your chest and acid poured immediately on the wound. I get it. I really do.
Please hear me! You are not crazy. You are not overreacting. Fear. Pain. Fury. Numbness. Whatever you are feeling? Feel it. If you are not yet ready to feel anything? That’s OK too.
When someone overpowers you or takes advantage of you when you are in a vulnerable state—
When someone who has no right to even come close the private parts of your body and the most intimately you parts of your soul, pierces you—
When you scream and no one hears; or you are silent to just try to survive, but the violation only increases—
If you have furiously tried to scrub your body and bleach your mind—
You may be feeling like there is NO hope and there never will be any hope ever again.
If this is you, PLEASE. I beg you. Please HEAR ME:
It gets better.
Not right away. Not all at once.
Not necessary with the people you would have previously sworn would be the people to love you, pray for you, care for you, believe you. Some of these people are going to break your heart by their indifference. Silence. Or literally by just walking away from you.
LET. THEM. GO. You can’t force people to be faithful and kind. Plus? You never know how a person is suffering. They may be extremely faithful and kind—but your assault may have triggered something deep inside of them—something their mind hasn’t allowed to conscioussness since a slumber party in junior high, 30 years ago. A bus ride. A roller rink. Their own childhood bed.
People will love you imperfectly. So first turn to your Heavenly Father who is the only One who can and will ultimately comfort and vindicate you. Restore you. AND who is the One who will bring into your life people who GET IT. People whom he has prepared in advance to LOVE YOU TODAY. To not abandon you in this, your hour of most profound neediness.
Right now, there are men and women whom God is going to bring into your life who understand you and help you to understand you.
People who know that this wicked, warped, intentional violation of rightness and goodness and beauty and light will be answered for—and they are committed to helping you to know this, too.
You may not see it now. But even if you never have complete justice in this life, there will be ultimate justice for this crime against your body and soul. Your assailant will NOT get away with it forever.
This assault will not define you for the rest of your life.
You will laugh again.
You will not always be afraid.
You will stop vomiting. You will stop shaking. Hot tears will not constantly flow.
If there are words that you think you will never say again. Parts of your body that you think are forever distorted by the ripping of this violation. Don’t believe it! You will regain your voice. You will find peace with your skin and the thought of your beloved touching your skin.
Yes, you are going to have to do some hard work. But real friends will help you. Real friends will be there for you. Imperfectly, but faithfully. And I truly believe that new friends will come into your life. At just the right moment. In just the right way.
For most of us? Friendship alone will probably not be enough. Most of us need to reach out for professional help.
For me, I have benefited from trauma counseling, medical help, and biblical counseling. Oh. And GREAT lawyers too. Man! There is nothing like having the protection of an advocate stand between you and those who would further take advantage of you in criminal and civil matters.
I remember the very day that I went from being a woman alone trying to survive the unsurvivable to a woman under the protection and shield of a counselor at law.
With one letter, my lawyer stopped ALL of the unwanted contact. No more harassing telephone calls or emails. No more FEAR of harassing telephone calls or emails.
Someone bigger and stronger than us comes over us—but this time, not to hold us down and violate us, but to protect us.
We get help and we learn to breathe again. We get help and we find an anchor for our otherwise spinning mind.
A good lawyer. Wise counselors. Faithful friends. All gracious provisions by the One we need the most.
And so. I pray for you HOPE. Not hope as the world gives—but hope that is founded on the Eternal, Perfect, Holy, Compassionate God. The God Who Keeps His Promises. The God Who Sees. Cares. And one day, will split the sky in two and forever right every wrong. Forever ensure that #MeToo is over.
No woman. No man. No child. No adult. No college student, teenager, infant, preteen. No human being will ever be hurt in this way again.
Praise God and Maranatha! We long for that day. We NEED that day.
It will come. Guaranteed by the One who makes the covenant and keeps the covenant.
In the interim? Remember the words of C.S. Lewis:
“Courage, dear heart.”
Oh. And if you can’t have courage right now? That’s OK. No problem. Let your friends and family encircle you and protect you and hold you up and give you time. Every day for this rest of your life will NOT feel like this. Things will get better. YOU will get better.
Those words might sound ridiculous to you today. That’s OK!
Courage, dear heart. You are not alone.
With much love and many prayers—
Your fellow survivor,
The painting at the top of this post hangs in our home and reminds me every single day to have hope. It was created by one of my dearest friends in the world, Samara’s beloved husband, Taylor Lynde. Please enjoy more of his work (and consider a commission or purchase) on his website.