Gentle Recovery

Hope and Inspiration for Overcoming the Damaging Effects of Child Abuse and Rape

Archive for the ‘rape’ Category

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 14, 2009

“Love is not a feeling. It’s a behaviour.” Oprah Winfrey

‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he beat me and called me filthy names. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he locked me alone in the car for hours in the worst part of town. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he shoved his fist in my face and forced me to eat even when I kept throwing up. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he held me down on the bed…….

‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he punched me so hard, my spleen ruptured. ‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he held me down and did what he wanted. ‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he locked me in a cold dark room and wouldn’t let me go.

‘I love you,’ God said. Then He patiently waited until I was ready to trust Him. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He broke the hold of the drug addiction. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He calmed my anger and hatred. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He healed my heart with His gentle touch. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He freed me from the shame and fear.

Just because someone claims they love you, doesn’t mean they really do. I think the wires in my head got all mixed up when I was a kid. I thought what happened was normal, that everyone lived on edge, fighting to avoid getting beaten, living like someone in a war zone, in chaos, tension and confusion. I believed whatever happened was because something was wrong with me. I didn’t know what was being done was wrong. I didn’t know they had no right to do what they did. All I knew was it made me crazy. It made me want to punish myself in ways that nearly killed me. It pushed me over the edge, making me act impulsively, full of anger and not caring what happened.

But then I learned love doesn’t hurt. I learned it’s patient, kind and forgiving. I learned it’s not jealous or full of pride or resentful or rude or demanding of its own way.

I never knew. No one had told me or showed me the truth about love. I figured it out as I went, but I had figured it out all wrong. Then God touched me and He showed me. He brought safe people into my life, but I resisted them, pushing them away, still needing to hide, afraid of getting hurt, not trusting. It took so long. But then I got it.

When love is real, not only does it not hurt, but it’s like a balm that feels soothing on the inside and brings amazing healing and relief. I learned love doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, so I chose to forgive and move forward. I want to shine so others can feel the touch of love from me. I want my life to reflect the truth of what love really is and find healing and freedom in their lives.

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Posted in child abuse, drugs, faith, freedom, God, healing, love, rape, recovery, truth, women | 4 Comments »

Overcoming Hatred

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 1, 2009

“Hatred can be overcome only by love.” Mahatma Ghandi

For years I walked around with so much hate and anger in me. I hated what my parents did to me. I hated the way they shamed me, beat me, made me feel less than human. And I hated the system that claimed they could help me. They were like my parents,- shaming, punishing, bullying.

I was arrested for drug possession. My social worker convinced the judge to let me do the time on a locked pysch ward instead of prison. Being on that ward,- that place of misery pushed me further into myself and broke me even more. Their methods of forcing me to conform were brutal. The chemical and physical restrains took away any shred of dignity I may have had. My brain became dull from the medications, the fight in me subdued, but the hatred grew. Hatred for them, for me, and for everyone who had hurt me.

One time they strapped me to a bed by my arms and legs for some minor infraction. They kept me there for two days like a chained animal, allowing me up only to go to the washroom. At mealtimes, they wouldn’t untie my arms. A staff came in to feed me. Humiliated; I refused to eat. I hated them. I despised them. My anger grew. I wanted to hurt them, punish them in some way like they were doing to me.

Instead, I cut into my flesh, trying to rip myself apart, desperate to pull out the bad, the part of me everyone kept telling me was horrible and wrong. Scars formed on my body, but I didn’t care, because they were already in my heart and soul and mind.

Hatred and anger became a way of life. It drove me. It fueled the fight in me. I turned on myself with a vengeance. My arms were full of bruises and marks from biting myself and cutting my skin open. The blood oozing out was my salvation, the thing that released the building tension inside me. My blood, a proof of life, that I was still alive.

Blood? That’s what finally turned my life around. The blood. His blood. The blood He shed for me so I wouldn’t have to hurt myself anymore. Like me, He too was beaten, shamed, ridiculed. He never opened his mouth. He never fought back. That amazed me. How could He not? They laughed at Him, mocked Him, and He said nothing, nothing except, “Father, forgive them….”

Hearing that, my anger began to subside. Thoughts of revenge slowly became thoughts of forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive, to let go of the brutality of what some people did – but to not forgive is worse.

I want my life to reflect His love. He loved me when I couldn’t love myself. He loved me when I was wild, out of control and bent on self-destruction. I don’t fully get how He did that, but I am so grateful for the gentleness of His love that broke the chains that kept me stuck.

Posted in anger, child abuse, christian, cutting, faith, God, hatred, healing, Jesus, mental health, rage, rape, recovery, self-injury, shame | 10 Comments »

Taking A Stand

Posted by A Write to my Voice on April 1, 2009

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controvery.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Taking a stand and speaking out when we see or hear an injustice being done takes courage. It’s not easy to get involved, to have our voice – it’s so much easier to walk away; to kid ourselves into believing we didn’t see, we didn’t hear, we didn’t really know…….

Whether it’s standing up for the rights of a child to be free from harm, or a nation to be free from unjust rule, or a cause that we know we cannot look away from – taking a stand tells the world we will not be silent, we will not allow wrong to be be perpertrated – whatever the cost to ourselves.

I have struggled recently with family members who knew my sister and I were being abused. They said they didn’t know how bad it was, but they admitted they were terrified or our father and that many times they pulled our mother off us when she was beating us so badly. And finally they said, “we didn’t want to interfere in someone else’s family problems.” So they walked away and left. Left us to fend for ourselves against adults who bullied and terrorized us.

Then they said we should have asked for help. They blamed us. They said we didn’t reach out. It’s hard for me to understand their reasoning. We were children who had no voice. They said I was quiet, that I never talked, never spoke. I had no words. No voice. How could I have asked for help?

To protect myself, I tried to disappear, first in my head, then through drugs, throwing up and cutting myself. I willed myself to not be present. Once, while at the park, it started raining. I ran to the store to look for my sister. She wasn’t there. I ran back to the park. Everyone had left. Alone in the rain, thunder and lightening, I ran home. As soon as I got in the house, my mother attacked me – punching, kicking and slapping me. She put her hands around my throat and two of my aunts grabbed her and pulled her off. I slipped away and made it to the bathroom, locking the door. I dropped to the floor, soaking wet. Her screams filtered through the door. I closed my eyes and forced myself to pull away in my mind until I couldn’t hear her anymore.

I became lost. I never talked. Teachers told me I was the saddest child they had ever seen. But nobody did anything. Nobody helped.

When God wrapped His gentleness around me, poured out His love – I knew I needed to be a voice for those who had no voice. I couldn’t do what my relatives had done, look the other way and walk away from anyone experiencing any form of injustice or cruelty.

I went back to school. Got my degree. For all the drugs I did, the many times my head was bashed against the wall, for all the times I was called stupid, retarded, garbage, an idiot, I somehow managed to get on the Dean’s Honor List.

God empowered me. He gave me my life back, then my voice. I will never keep silent again. I will stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I will not turn away. I will be a voice for the vulnerable, the weak and those unable to stand up for themselves. I want to make a difference, regardless of the cost to myself. With Him in my corner, I will not be silent anymore.

Posted in abuse, Christianity, courage, faith, free, God, injustice, rape, silent, speak, voice | 4 Comments »