by Mary DeMuth
I kept it silent a decade. Ten years of nightmares. Remembering. Seeing their faces.
When I was five, neighborhood boys took me from my babysitter’s house and raped me over the period of a school year. It took me a long time to tell the babysitter because I was afraid to say a bad word. Once I told her, she said, “Oh! I will tell your mother.”
So when the next day came, I expected everything to be okay. I expected those boys wouldn’t come by. But they knocked on the door, and the babysitter delivered me back into their clutches. Although she didn’t tell my mother, I didn’t know that. For ten years I thought my mom knew about the rapes, but didn’t care a lick.
I learned how to protect myself, finally. I learned how to sleep all afternoon. And when I slept, I was safe.
But during those ten years of silence, my sleep was anything but sweet. The boys would chase me in hellish nightmares. I ran home from school, worried someone was after me. And more boys tried to steal from me. Thankfully, I ran and saved myself.
Unfortunately, I realized that it wasn’t true that I could save myself. When my family was going through another divorce, I became suicidal. I had a special hall pass in 8th grade where I could get out of class at any time if I fell apart. I fell apart a lot. And thankfully, my school counselor loved me, listened to me. He saved my life.
At fifteen, I met Jesus.
I heard about how He bled and died, naked on that cross. How He’d been tortured and abused. I thought, “He understands. He knows what it’s like to be hurt, betrayed, stolen from. He knows.” I wept a prayer to Him. In that moment, I felt uncanny peace. Not long after, Jesus gave me the courage to break the silence about the rapes. It didn’t go well. At first folks didn’t believe me. But eventually I told the story enough that they did.
Thankfully, God started populating my life with adults who loved me, who asked questions about what went on that year. They prayed for me. Listened. And when I got to college, He provided some amazing friends who prayed me through four years of crying. In college, my painful child, which also included the death of my father, came roaring back to life. Had it not been for those people who prayed, I don’t think I’d be so healed today.
The truth? Healing from sexual abuse (and all sorts of other difficult issues) never comes in isolation. It comes in the warmth and circle of trustworthy friends and adults. It comes by crying and sharing your story with safe people. It comes from Jesus who knows what it’s like to be naked on a cross. I’ve experienced that healing in every possible way. I pray, too, that you’ll start down that path. Dare to let out what’s bottled up inside you.
Mary DeMuth is a worshiper, wife, mom, author, speaker, home chef, gardener, and sometimes triathlete who loves to see God turn trials into triumph. She has written many books including her memoir, Thin Places. To order Thin Places or many of the intriguing books of Mary’s that I have enjoyed and have in my library, visit Proverbs 31.org. Connect with Mary at www.MaryDeMuth.com. You can also purchase “Thin Places” at http://www.marydemuth.com/store/thin-places/