In the Know – A Safe Place

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 Connect with Mary at You can also purchase “Thin Places” at

Do you need prayer for your healing or to be the safe place for another? I would love to pray for you today! Just click on comments below and share your heart – Lynn



  1. Anonymous says:

    I was molested by step-father for 5 years (from 12-17) and my mom knew. It has been 20 years since it happened, but still feel so many feelings toward everyone that was involved. His family knew, but they didn't want to say anything to get him in trouble. Sometimes I wonder why didn't I matter. I am know the laughing joke in the step family, so I just don't come around them. I have a daughter who is 13 and I would protect her with my life, and would do my best to not let someone hurt her. I pray for healing, and sometimes I just pray to forget. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love what you wrote, and will keep it with me and take it out when I need it. Bless you for sharing! Love, Tabatha

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was sexually abused by a 2nd cousin as was my brother. Then we did do each other what we thought was normal. I am surounded by other women who have had other sexual abuse histories and we talk at times about it. I am in the "angry phase" currently very angry with god. But I know he is my redeemer and I need to follow his path and I will get through this diffficult time. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Beautiful words from beautiful hearts. Thank you for sharing! Rejoicing with you in the healing and love of our amazing God. I know Jesus will restore for others many years the locust have stolen through your words.Love, Samantha from P31

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was molested when I was 13 years old by a cousin who was 23 years old. I told no one and slipped down the road of anorexia. I became very sick and my mom begged me to tell her what was going on. I finally told my mom and dad, and my dad asked me what I did to lead him on, and said "well it was not rape, so he did not really hurt you" I am now 29 years old and carrying the scars still. The nightmares, the flashbacks are there when I close my eyes. I am married , yet unable to be close with my husband. I am struggling with some deep hidden secrets in how I deal with this pain, pain that now I have become numb to. Last night, I was thinking that this is hopeless. I have been trying to go to counseling yet can't seem to feel, can't seem to let these walls down, and honestly feel hopeless. I just happened on your site this morning from a link on facebook, and I can see that maybe there is hope. You overcame and healed from your abuse, so maybe I can too. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for showing me it takes people to heal, as I have isolated myself and no one knows about my past. I hope to one day be in a place where I can say like you have, that I am healed. Thank you for showing me that is possible.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When I was 17 I met the man I married and spent 8 yrs of my life with. He was older than me and at that time I thought smarter. So I didn't mind when he chose my friends for me, my clothes and controled how much money I spent (I had an allowance). I was understanding when He said he cared about me and that's why I always had to explain everywhere I went during the day, even when he got mad if I forgot to mention stopping at walmart (one of his friends had seen me). I understood what my duty as a wife was from taking care of the home to other areas. When his name calling, taking my vehicle away and my phone, (when I was miles away from family) was tempered with I love you's and want the best for you, I believed it. When the drinking and violent outbursts where followed by flowers, gifts, and "you know if you hadn't done that" and "I'll stop drinking"…I believed him. It took him pointing a gun at me and telling me he would kill me if I ever left him for me to understand this was not a healthy relationship. I packed up while he was gone to a meeting (he was a witness) and drove 9 hrs through the night to go back home. Through the almost 2 yrs of threats and arguements that followed I am finally fixing to get my divorce.

    You are right, if it wasn't for my friends and my church I probly would have given up a long time ago. I now have my panic attacks and nightmares almost under control; I pick out my own clothes and balance my checkbook like normal people :).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I know that sexual abuse is rampant in this world! Just like a virus, it spreads across many people in many different walks of life! I was molested by my father when I was 13 until the age of 17 when I ran away from home! I was betrayed by the very man I was suppose to be able to trust! He also was a preacher as I was growing up. Needless to say I turned my back on God for many years! Because I blamed him! I felt if there is a God, why didnt he protect me!! I cant tell you how many times I have sobbed over those 4 years! I have just recently this year started to receive healing for this! I am now 39 years old. I have a daughter who just turned 18, and Im sad to say I was always paranoid over her during her lifetime, and still am to this point! I want to protect her from any harm! I know now that God gave man free will to choose, and unfortunately he doesnt always make the right choices, but God is here for us! he aches for us, and I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has a special place in his heart for those who have been abused!

  7. Anonymous says:

    For years I felt like I had a tattoo that said "this is the one to abuse". "Abuse" started in my young years from my adopted father, his brothers & others…"abuse" from a mother who found out, but blame me. It continue into my adult life from others & many things occurred because of all of it. Shame was a constant friend as well as many other spirits of condemnation. Your right, it has been God & many GOOD people that have helped me to the level of freedom I am in now. God has brought so much healing but I will say that you have to have a level of trust in God & others for healing to begin. God has taken me on a journey of freedom, unlike you, I have never confronted those who abused me. I have dealt with all of it with God & those He brought into my life for healing. The Lord had me let go & trust Him to take care of justice. He had me give forgiveness as a gift to my principle abuser to work in him & to bring freedom to him. I can actually say that I love him, because of God's love for me overflowing to him. This is how I know that I am truly healed in that area. I can now LOVE again. There are some things that are still being dealt with but I will continue to press into God. Believing for complete & total freedom from it all. I AM A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST & WHO THE SON SET FREE IS FREE INDEED! May the Lord bless you & thank you so sharing. 🙂

  8. Tabatha, It's very, very hard when the other parent knew and didn't protect. I can see why you felt like you didn't matter. It's not justice. It's not God's heart. And as you know as a mother, it's not normal for someone not to want to protect.

    I'm so sorry this happened, and I'll be praying for your healing. Can you talk to a trusted friend and walk through this? It won't heal unless you bring it to the light.

  9. Anonymous, I'm so sorry to hear you were abused by a cousin and a brother. That's just plain awful. It's natural to be angry at God. However, He is big enough to hear and shoulder your anger. Eventually, as you heal, you will become an agent of healing for so many. God will redeem this, even this awful thing.

  10. Anonymous,

    Wow, what a difficult marriage–and scary. I'm thankful God surrounded you by friends who loved you well.

  11. Anonymous who was abused by her father from 13-17, wow. Yes, I agree that God has a special place in His heart for those who are abused. I'm so sorry your father abused you. That's just plain wrong. May the healing continue, deep and wide.

  12. Anonymous who was abused by her stepfather and blamed by her mother,

    I've never confronted my abusers. I don't know where they are or what they look like. I place them in God's hands, and I pray that they come to know Jesus.

    I'm sorry for what happened to you. That's very, very painful.

    You may benefit from Thin Places, as there is a chapter entitled MARKED. I felt exactly the way you describe.

  13. I was molested as well by a step father. I was afraid to tell my mother because he told me she would not believe me (and I think she loved him so much she would have) and if I told he would leave her. She had left my Dad who she had been married to for 26 years for this man.
    I suppressed it for many years, but it took its toll on my life. I was anorexic at one point as an adult and weighed 79 pounds.
    Thankfully one day I heard a sermon about surrender and God blessed my life that day. I was able to leave it all at the foot of the cross and I have indeed become a new creation in the God who sees my worth.
    You need people in your life that you can trust with your story…who will pray with you and for you and to know that God never meant for this to happen.
    I am proof…you can be free…

  14. Cindie, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm thankful you're free. I'm so sorry for what happened to you.

  15. Anonymous says:

    For those sharing your story, please take care of yourself by seeking cousel and the support of agencies dedicated to helping you heal. I would suggest and find a local agency in your area, they have numerous resources to offer.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I too was raped, first by my Grandfather in the root cellar under their home when I was 9 yrs old. Later I was molested by Uncles and raped by a boyfriend. It’s been a very long difficult journey to freedom, but I am now free and healing! My Mother knew some of what was happening but couldn’t deal with it and turned away. I tried suicide three times but thank God was unsuccessful! During my journey I learned that as I feel safe I am able to open up and feel. When praying with my Minister and his wife I learned that when I was abused God took the abuse with me because he lives inside me! It helped me to know he understands. My journey has taken me through years of anorexia, an abusive marriage, anxiety attacks, nightmares, dealing with life by dissociation (not good), and finally to wonderful Christian counselors, group therapy, loving supportive friends, and a Pastor and wife who really care and understand. It’s been a journey, not a sudden healing dealing with the emotional and physical damage. I am now happy, free and becoming more emotionally healthy. Through God’s love and grace I am healing and know that God has plans for me to give me hope and a future!

  17. LP – I am so glad you found those who truly care and have helped you to find healing in Jesus. He truly is the Perfect Doctor. I pray that each and every woman commenting today finds that healing and their completion and wholeness in Him!

  18. Thanks Anonymous for the link to finding help! Healing is best walked with others.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I left my abusive husband just over a month ago. It's still so hard. So many that I knew and loved have turned against me and I have lost so much. I am digging into studying Job and feel such a kinship with him. Even today I was saying "curse the day I was born" and begging God to just leave me alone and let me heal.

    I KNOW that He is good and He is my healer. I know that He must have some plan in this mess to bring Him glory and to bring redemption and healing…..but some days i just want the pain to end. I so desperately want to want HIM more than I want my pain to end….but often I fall short.

    I'm amazed to see so many people write about the nightmares. My sleep is terrorizing. I hate going to bed at night even though I'm so desperate for the day to end b/c my dreams are a parade of the people who have hurt me. I wake up exhausted and shaking. How long does this last? Any idea? My counselor says that it's normal and my fears from living under extreme oppression and abuse for 10 years is just coming out now, physically and emotionally.

    Thanks for praying for me….I'm so thankful for the few the Lord has gathered around me and I'd love for you to pray for them too. It seems like everyone who was a part of my "rescue" is now under attack.

    Thanks for writing this article..and for the amazing comments.


  20. This post has actually encouraged me to write about my abuse. Thank you Mary and Lynn for putting this up. Thank YOU LORD for putting this in front me and for using Mary & Lynn for Your purpose in healing people. Praise YOU Jesus.

  21. Brandi,
    Proverbs 3:24 says "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." Claim that for yourself each night before you go to sleep. So glad to hear that you are in counseling. Healing takes time, but He is faithful to heal!

  22. Thank you for writing this. I also have been a victim of sexual abuse and recently decided it was time to talk to a counselor about it, read "The Wounded Heart", and work through the workbook (highly recommend). I feel like God has just really blessed me with people who care and who have prayed for me. I also feel like God brought me to this post to see that I am totally not alone. I'm quite angry, but I continue to work at it….it's a long process.

    Be strong. Be courageous. God doesn't want us to just survive….He wants us to thrive. So I pray each of you recognizes God loves you, weeps with you, and offers you an abundant life.


  23. LP, what a journey. So glad you found healing. I'm so sorry for what happened to you.

  24. It took me a long time to tell also…I didn't think anyone would believe me. I didn't believe me but I was held for six months and raped and punched so hard my spleen ruptured. I turned to the needle and an eating disorder and self injury. Nothing worked to free me….only Him…the touch of the power of His gentleness…made all the difference. Thank you Mary for telling your story.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I was forced to witness and engage in sexual games as a child which led to early promiscuity and a teenage pregnancy but the horror began when my own children were molested by the man I married. He molested his own child and I don't know how to ever forgive myself for the mess I allowed in their lives.

  26. Mary,

    I thank you so much for this passage. When in fourth grade, I was molested by an older neighborhood boy, and through some other years by a half brother. It feels like these thoughts will never leave me. They haunt me personally everyday, to where I become anxious when my own husband is alone with our young daughter. I always feel the need to threaten him on this issue. Which is probably not what I need to do at all. I am a faitful woman, and pray for so many things. I have often prayed to fully know and trust my husband. But I guess I have never prayed to be able to forgive these people, or myself. I always feel at fault, like maybe I led it on, or it didn't stop it. I thank you for your prayers. I will also pray for all the women on this board,and worldwide, as well as men whom have endoured the same things. it feels so broken to be so anxious about my own husband and daughter, or my nephew, or younger son. I feel like these thoughts well never leave. I always demand them to in the same of Jesus. And I pray for the protection of our children for now, and in the future.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I was molested by my uncle for 16 years and to make things worse He use to beat us like animals and i couldn't tell anyone. through out those years i was rape for the first time when i was six by a stranger who gave me a lift to school and the following year i was raped in my own living room by a vistor that my aunt ask me to make a bed for him in our living room, i grow up fighting and hating every male figure in my life and i turn to food they become my best friend, one thing i know God was always there when i needed to talk and i ask him to let me die and leave this cruel world but it seems He still has plan for this dirty, disgusted lady. I am 30 years old born again christian but still this pain continue hunting me down.I found people to talk to but they always end up leaving me and i think God does not want me to rely on them for comfort. and sometimes i find myself drowning in my own thought and i need help. Please don't stop writting cause i find haeling and comfort in your writting.

    lost with hope DNP

  28. Dear DNP,
    Thank you so much for your bravery in telling of your painful story. It breaks my heart to hear the things you have endured in this life; all because of sin's grip on others.
    Beautiful daughter, PLEASE PLEASE hear truth…Jesus' truth. You are precious and priceless to him. He does not see you the way you describe yourself. In Song of Solomon 4:7 He says, "You are altogether beautiful my darling and there is no blemish in you."

    Can you hear Him? Beautiful; flawless. THAT is what He sees.

    He says that you are HIS (Song of Solomon 2:16)

    Zechariah 2:8 tells us that we are the apple of His eye. We are EVERYTHING to Him.

    When He looks at you, He sees two things: the engaging woman He created you to be and the woman He died for you to become – whole.

    I am so glad that you find comfort here. Please be sure to follow Mary's blog as well at Her heart is to lead others to find triumph in their trials. That triumph is for you, dear, dear friend.


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