I received and email from an individual who follows my blog and it was not nice in regards to me as a person and what I’ve posted.
It seems as though someone doesn’t agree with my decision to speak out. They questioned my faith, my knowledge of God and the validity of my cause or my intentions in telling my story. They questioned my character or shall I say they attacked my character, never having met me or having had a single conversation with me.
I published a post titled ‘Convicted’ dated December 1, 2008. It’s a decision by me to pray and it has caused quite a stir for one individual that does not agree.
I published this post from my heart with every word of it being typed in love but this person didn’t see it that way and fired off an email blatantly calling me a liar, accusing me of making up an outrageous story for the purpose of seeking attention. It stated that no one would publish that kind of outrageous post for the world to muse over without it being for the purpose of seeking attention.
This individual stated that my post was dripping with anger and un-forgiveness because I called my brother a coward. It said that my post was published to generate sympathy and disparage or belittle my birth mother, the person that raped me and my brother and that if I was going to pray from them, I should leave angry, unforgiving remarks out of my post because such remarks are uncalled for and run counter to the offering of prayers for salvation and healing. This person questioned me, asking me why I’m reciting their sins against me, if I have in fact forgiven them. It stated that if in fact my story was true then I have not forgiven them because I am choosing to still carry the cross and in order for me to forgive and be forgiven I must throw that cross down, dust myself off and walk away.
This person even said that my post was literally describing my abuser and that I was misguided by what the bible had to say about forgiveness.
Because I am a rape survivor and was blatantly called a liar, I will point out that the main reasons why rape victims don’t speak out, and sometimes choose not to report the rape all together is because of individuals that give responses just like this. Victims are afraid that they will not be believed and that they will be looked down upon for having been raped so they don’t report it leaving a rapist on the streets to rape again.
Working as a volunteer through Crisis Services of North Alabama, I know that there are individuals that make up stories of rape for whatever reason but the percentage of those individuals is very small. According to statistics, and depending on a lot of other information provided, that percent nationally is at 2%.
Included in that two percent is not a person, like myself, who tells his or her story at the tender age of four and continues to tell that same story throughout their life while struggling to make sense of it all.
When it comes to those that make up crimes of rape for attention or to get themselves out of trouble, I have no patience. I do not condone this type of behavior and feel that such a person should be lawfully charged and should face some sort of punishment for this type of fallacy.
I also feel that when a child or individual comes to an adult seeking help because they are being raped at home or somewhere else and the response of that adult is to accuse them of being dishonest and then shame them, that adult, like my own mother, should be held responsible for their actions or shall I say “lack of actions” and they should be punished – subject to the same laws as that of the actual abuser because that is the same as turning a blind eye to the abuse without first finding out the facts. Raping a child is a heinous crime but covering it up – allowing it to happen in my opinion is twice as bad – it’s twice the evil.
Not punishing these individuals, the one making up the story or the one covering up the crime, is a terrible disservice because in each case there is a victim – one being falsely accused and one being raped. This is not just an injustice to the individuals involved but to society as a whole.
In regards to it being said that my post ‘Convicted’ drips with anger and un-forgiveness. Jesus taught us by telling stories, stories that we know as parables. He tells us these stories from his own life experiences and the experiences passed down from our father, God.
And each author of each book in the bible is telling a story from their own life experience. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell stories of witnessing the life – the brutal beating and the crucifixion of Jesus. These books are written in detail, telling us the sins of others. It is stated that Jesus was bound, led away and delivered, handed over to be crucified. He was flogged and beat – his skin torn from his body and a crown of THORNS was shoved onto his head and then he was nailed to a cross where he hung until he took his last breath.
So I have to ask, we’re all of the authors of the bible “dripping with anger and un-forgiveness” because they are telling us a story – a story of a life experience? A life experience told in great detail in many writings – greater detail than anything written in my post. Or are these authors telling their stories to educate others – others meaning us, all of God’s children.
We tell our stories because telling our stories is a part of healing. It’s a part of acceptance; it’s how we learn but most importantly it’s a part of forgiveness. It‘s a human’s way of coming to terms with something in their past that they cannot change. It’s what’s needed to fully heal and for victims to move on with our lives. Abuse does not end when the punches stop or when the victim is no longer forced to submit sexually. It ends when the victim accepts the situation for what it is. Often times this is after years of silence, struggling with the memories – using drugs and drinking alcohol to cope with the pain, sometimes falling victim times and time again. That is why we have brothers and sisters in Christ. God made us family and we are to reach out and help each other. Just like the bible. The authors reached out, telling their stories – repeating God’s words – to help each other – to help us. If they hadn’t done that – we wouldn’t know about God today. Can you imagine not knowing God? Where would the world be without God?
It’s because of God and the authors of our very own bible – a bible that documents the life of Jesus that we as humans are addicted to stories. No matter what mood we are in, our reverie, our expectations, panic or peace, we are always putting together our experiences, unfolding our hearts, turning our pain into a narrative, talking with each other so we can bear it – to help one another. We tell our stories to live.
That is why I’ve made it my mission in life to expose one of the darkest parts of our world. Like the great authors of the many books within our Bible, I’m using my experiences – my words towards the good of others. I tell my story and I share my pain to encourage healing, compassion and understanding in others. I also tell my story of rape because the more we talk about this crime the more fear we put into these perpetrators.
I do not feel that God endorses our going passively or aggressively through life. Through his own stories, He encourages us to assert ourselves when it’s appropriate and to take action. Passively praying in a closet while your child is playing ball in the middle of a street with a fast truck approaching will not save him from being the victim of a hit and run just like my silence in a room full of rape victims will not bring those with limited faith to God.
Society teaches us to look at rape as a sexual act. They look at it more intimate and personal than a life threatening illness or disease. This is because rape is the only crime of violence that masquerades as sex. It’s Satan – a death disguised as a part of life to which all humans are drawn.
From the time we are born little girls are taught to never let a boy touch them – we are to remain virgins until marriage, staying pure while little boys are taught to wait and to pursue a girl – a virgin girl, one with morals – one that will make a good wife. This is the biblical way – the proper way and I believe in this way but we also need to educate our children about rape because with this mindset when a crime of rape happens, we are not able to see it for what it is, an expression of anger. It’s not motivated by sex. It’s an act of hostility, control and power. Rape like domestic abuse is violence. One abuser commits the crime with their fist or legs, physically punching or kicking. The other use’s a sex organ – physically raping, forcing their ways and themselves on another person. This is not just men raping women or young girls; this is also the women out there, in the world today, coercing these young boys. Its rape – physically, emotionally and spiritually – it’s rape.
So Exposing crimes of rape shouldn’t be any more personal than talking about being mugged or beaten while shopping downtown and we hear those stories on the news as often as they happen – the victims aren’t ashamed and the stories aren’t too personal to broadcast but because of the mindset of society, rape is rarely exposed.
Crisis Services of North Alabama handles on average three rape cases a week. How many have you heard about this week on the local news?
This is why so many rape victims feel ashamed for having been raped. When individuals tell a victim that they don’t want to hear it – when they block these crimes from the news and organizations refuse to hear us speak – they are telling a victim that they’re at fault – that they have something to be ashamed about.
Victims shouldn’t be made to feel this way. Victims are just that – victims. We haven’t done anything wrong; we are not responsible for being raped, for being forced to do something that we did not want to do, not as adults or as children. I will not stop talking because the mindset of society emphasis that a victim should morally feel ashamed. Instead I will work to make the world a more caring, compassionate place to live.
Telling my story is only the beginning. There is a law passed to punish rapist phrased “sexual assault.” The intent was to put violence into the crime of rape and it was the first step in taking the blame off the victim and putting it on the abuser. This is good in the sense that we need laws and severe punishments for these types of crimes but the problem with this is that there is no “sexual relation” in rape. The only relation in rape is one that involves power – one side has it and the other side doesn’t. It is sexual only in the sense that all humans have sex organs.
How about a law named; “Rape Violence and one named Child Rape Violence?” That is in-fact what it is. We don’t like to tell our stories just like others don’t like to hear them but talking brings exposure to these crimes and with that we can work together, creating laws that define rape for what it is making punishments severe – to protect future generations – boys and girls – men and women alike. That is what I want to see in my lifetime.
We need to live in solidarity to one another and we need to work towards changing this distorted idea of how society over the years has defined rape because as long as rape is viewed as sex, victims are going to feel trapped in shame that will silence them.
In 2008 there were 160 rapes reported in Madison County alone. 147 of them were female victims while the other 13 were male victims – yes there are male victims. Ninety two of those cases were victims age eighteen and above and the other sixty-eight cases were victims that were children in the age group of seventeen and below. Thirty eight of them were under the age of twelve.
Out of those 160 rape cases – 39 of those victims did not know their attacker. They were raped by total strangers, someone they had never seen before in their life. The remaining 121 victims were raped by someone who they knew, an acquaintance, someone they thought was their friend and then in some of those cases the victim was raped by their own father or another family member, sometimes a relative living in their own house.
A weapon is not always used, especially when the victim is a child. Instead the child is held down, with their lives threatened or the lives of their family members threatened. Often times with adults a weapon is used but we are seeing in more and more cases of these victims, being grabbed, sometimes strangled unconscious, physically kicked and beaten and then they’re are case where a child or adult get kidnapped, tortured and sometimes even burned but they survive.
With all of this said, I have to ask – Why should victims be made to feel ashamed and why shouldn’t we talk about it?
Rape happens across America today. It happens to innocent children and adults and we as parents needs to consider the possibilities and educate our children before it’s too late because while most people think that this type of violence would not happen in their family – the reality is this – it could happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. It happens in our families, in our schools, in our churches, in our organization and in neighborhoods. It takes place on every street and it happens to someone in every family. We are all at risk, especially children. Not just from strangers but from relatives also. A rapist that goes after children usually targets children in their own family first so as adults it is our responsibility to talk to our kids; and to educate them about this type of behavior. It’s our responsibility to talk about it.
Society uses the words sexual Assault, sexual abuse and child molestation but victims are not abused or molested, they are raped. Any time someone touches another person, forces themselves on another person or makes another individual do something sexual that they don’t want to do or experience – its rape. Society can call it whatever they want, but its rape. They are not sexual predators or child molesters; they are rapists and they should be labeled as such.
There are some truly amazing people in this world. People who genuinely care, people who exist and who are willing to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk in making the world a better place. Each of these people, are a wealth of wisdom full of valuable life experiences they are willing to share with others.
This is fantastic because there will never be, and never has been another person who sees the world exactly like you do. Another person’s point of view is the best way that a person has to learn, grow and evolve never don’t be afraid to stand out, despite what others in our world today may say or think. Share your story; make a difference in the life of someone else.
Every time I speak it takes me back to some very painful places but I know that what I’ve lived through – my scars – they will make a difference in the world – they will be healing to others. Telling the truth about dreadful events in our lives is a “prerequisites both for the restoration of social order and for healing and its individual stories like mine that play a huge role in changing the attitudes about rape.
God has used events in my past to not only to mold me, but also so that He may be glorified. When I think back on the past now, I see it differently. I am able to find the good in it and I’m grateful for that. I’m not proud of being raped but because of it I’ve learned something. My past and the people who have hurt me – they taught me how to be more of a person, and how to set my own boundaries. Because of them I became disciplined, self reliant, and independent .and they helped me to see myself for who I really am. They have also helped me to see them for who they really are.
The last thing that I want to address in today’s show is the comment about my calling my brother a coward. My brother, who is just fifteen months older than me, witnessed the abuse and acknowledges it to me while denying it in the face of everyone else. I’m not sure of his reasons other than knowing that he lives in fear. He feels that he will look bad for not standing up for me knowing that the abuse was going on. He carries around a lot of pain and guilt that has beat him up emotionally over the years and has landed him in an out of jail and on a few occasions rehab due to both drug and alcohol addictions.
I don’t blame my brother at all but call him a coward because courage, I believe, is where your heart is, it’s your beliefs, it’s acting according to your beliefs, and it’s facing your own convictions. That’s courage and it’s expected by God. Living our lives honestly and with integrity is our way of showing God our appreciation. God promised us forgiveness but in order to receive it we must show him gratitude for giving us the life of his son, for setting us free and that is reflected in our deeds. It’s our behavior; it’s in living right, forgiving and doing right by other. My brother is not doing right by God, me, or himself or anyone else in our family by only acknowledging the abuse to me but covering it up when talking with anyone else.
Isn’t that choosing Satan over God? It’s that being a coward? He’s bowing down to the demon of fear. That is Satan and when bow down to Satan you allow him to control your life – you are being a coward.