The realisation that I must have been sexually molested when I was very young came to me late in life.
Like so many people who are unhappy for no apparent reason, I felt drawn to helping others, and so began to train as a counsellor in the late nineties, when I was forty five, thereabouts. There was something very familiar about the descriptions of how people who had been sexually abused as children behaved. I proudly thought my understanding was an extra dose of compassion and supernatural gifting invested in me by the Lord!
One day a description of a case study I was reading was just too apt, too close to the bone.
‘This is me!’
I let the realisation rattle around my psyche for many months, arguing to myself that it was a figment of my imagination. I lived with someone who told me regularly that most of what I thought, discovered or discerned was pure imagination, so it was easy to think this idea must be too. But it persisted until I decided to fast, and seek the answer from the Lord. My parents were long gone, and there was no one to ask but God.
I can’t now remember for how long I fasted, but I remember the day clearly. I was alone in the house, so it must have been a Saturday. I got into familiar position before my Lord, and simply said,
“Show me, Lord, show me what happened.”
And He did. Not all of it, but enough for all sorts of pieces to click into place. I was four or five, and it took place in a hut in the police camp next door to our house. A witchdoctor was involved – it was a demonic harvesting of innocent blood, as is most abuse of children. The bible tells us that every sin committed is outside your body, except those involving sex. So sexual abuse is an onslaught against the very essence of the target, robbing them forever of that which should be theirs alone, leaving in its place a feeling of loss so intense nothing but the love of Christ can fill it, and of course, a wracking guilt.
The devil is very real, and he is the sole architect of pain and suffering. It gives him pleasure to wreck a life, as much pleasure as it brings pain to our Father in Heaven, who ultimately is the One Satan is aiming at. I believe the devil himself is present when a child is molested, and his involvement grants him influence over that life that never goes away. Fighting the effects of childhood abuse, be it sexual, physical or verbal, is a life-long battle.
This does not mean to say it is a losing battle. The opposite is true and each victory brings with it the sweet reward of release.
We have chosen not to to talk about Satan, to pretend he really is a myth, his deeds some sort of mumbo jumbo that only certain fanatics recognise and talk about. We have watered down his power until we are quite comfortably riding along the bus of our lives with him sitting next to us. In the same way, we do not talk about abuse. It’s uncomfortable, and if we play it down maybe it will go away. The news is constantly reporting accusations against icons of entertainment, sport, the church, society in general being disclosed now, and all the cover-ups that have gone on for years – the devil’s plan is perfidious, subtle and clever.
I get so angry when paedophiles are given light sentences: they deserve a life sentence for each child they have fiddled with because they have murdered in a far more invidious manner than if they had slowly strangled each one, choking the life out of them.
The first question I believe every single person who has suffered hardship, tragedy or abuse asks is: Where were You, Lord? The second is: Why? Why did it happen? Why did YOU allow it to happen? Then, much later: How do I deal with it?
When I was a child, no one knew how to deal with abuse, you certainly wouldn’t discuss it with your friends or neighbours, chances are you wouldn’t even involve the police, especially if it was a neighbour or friend, because the shame of anyone knowing what had happed to your child would be overwhelming. My parents certainly hadn’t a clue how to deal with it, they did talk it over with the local doctor who advised leaving it be to minimise the trauma. That was the general trend those days, the child is young enough not to remember, and so everything would be alright.
We know better now, thank heavens, but we still have a long way to go in preventing abuse, and then dealing with the awful consequences.
Sadly, everything is not alright, no matter how young the child is. When a person has been violated, there is always an imprint that stays with them. Not only is he/she left feeling bereft, but also consumed with guilt and shame. I don’t know how the devil does it, but he does – he puts the shame of the perpetrators onto the victim. I don’t like the term victim, I prefer target, but at times victim is the correct term.
Your view of yourself changes, you see yourself as ugly, as bad, your fragile infantile self-esteem lies shattered amidst the gore of shattered virginity, and what happens on the inside always manifests on the outside.
For healing to begin, you need to have an accurate view of what your particular abuse has created in you, the false persona, the cover-ups, the hidden guilt. How do you defend that inner child that was so cruelly crushed? Are you the life and soul of every party? Are you overly religious? Or have you withdrawn to a quiet, introspective lifestyle.
Climbing out of the pit of wickedness caused by abuse is a long, hard journey, and you have to give your consent for every stage along the way. You have to agree to the fight, get down and dirty with God so that He can cleanse you, strip you of all you are, so the devil no longer has any influence over you. There is no miracle cure, as so many would have you believe, because getting free involves confronting the very essence of who you have become, and you have to agree to release those defences in order for God to bring you to a place of peace and stability.
If you are following this because you are plagued by the effects of abuse, take time this next week to seek the Lord, ask Him to begin showing you the walls you are hiding behind, the lies you believe, and make the decision to begin your journey to freedom and healing.