This past summer, I spoke at an event about my journey of healing from childhood sexual abuse. A few days ago, I received this email from a fellow survivor, just as he wrote it:
You and I have much in common and I thank my brother for telling me about you, your book and your story. I too was sexually abused as a child. My uncle (my father’s baby sister’s husband) would take me fishing and that is when it happened. It has taken almost 50 years for this secret to come out but when it did come back it almost devastated me as I was dealing with cancer, loss of job (construction engineer) and very bad problem called conversion disorder.
God allowed me to have cancer in order for me to focus on him and to rid myself of the poison that was haunting my life. Although Satan thought he had me whipped down he didn’t know that my faith in God would be victorious in the end.
I am a media minister, photographer, writer and an advocate for the disabled person. My passion is to tell the people I meet about the amazing and healing love of God.
Thank you for your bringing to light the affects of sexual abuse. It has helped me today for sure as I deal with this, cancer, PTSD and not being able to work to provide for my family. But God is good and no matter what happens I still will praise Him. God Bless
I wrote him back and said I would be praying for him. I wished him well on his journey. He immediately wrote back and asked if we could talk when I had time.
I paused before I responded. I am very cautious in making sure no one is thinking I am a professional counselor.
I wrote him back and told him that I am just a fellow survivor who shares my story of healing. He said, “I know, I just need to ask a few questions.” A few days later, I called him.
One reason I decided to speak with him was the loneliness I felt in 1992 when I finally told my wife that I had been sexually abused as a child. I wanted to help another survivor know he was not alone.
He shared with me that he was having panic attacks. I shared my journey of healing and dealing with panic attacks and psychological “triggers” from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
I closed our call by telling him that he was on the right path for healing and that healing was possible. I suggested that he stay in counseling and never give up hope. He thanked me for my time and he told me he really enjoyed my book, FIGHTING THROUGH THE FEAR.
Our conversation confirmed some things I learned from many survivors I have spoken with over the years.
- The abuser is usually a family member or someone close to the family.
- When the abuser is a family member or someone close to the family, the survivor will just keep it quiet. This man was 57 years old. Like many survivors, he had to keep seeing his abusive uncle at family events until the uncle died. He waited until his parents and the abusive uncle died before speaking up. He was afraid no one would believe him – another reason so many survivors remain silent.
- It can take decades for many survivors of childhood sexual abuse to finally speak up and decide to get counseling.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that childhood sexual abuse affects all races, religions, genders, and income levels and that it can devastate the survivor.
Remember, we not only survive; we can thrive. Enjoy the journey of life. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to take the first step on the journey of healing, as long as one day you take the step and never look back.