Suzannah (not her real name) was a young adult living in another county when she found herself in the hands of an abuser.
It changed the course of her life. At the time, she wondered if these things were really happening to her, then she saw “the reality is so mean and big that it is pretty much undeniable.”
Then it happened again.
Here is her story, in her own words:
What did I do to deserve this? Should I turn it in? Will anyone believe me? How can I face this person?
These all became questions that a normal 22-year-old is not really prepared to answer. It is different for every person. I did turn it in, but I didn’t want to at first.
I did face that person in the courtroom, and it did NOT make me feel stronger, it made me scared and lonely. But I DID IT! I didn’t even know until years later that it had empowered me, because it sure didn’t at the time. The truth is, the very reason that harm was inflicted upon me — power and control — were the very two things that had been stolen from me.
Some people didn’t know what to say, so they said nothing, and those who did say something said I needed to “move on and forgive that person.” Forgiving doesn’t happen overnight.
Eventually, after seven years, I forgave the person who stole from me, and I decided to choose how this would change me and move me.
I felt so free after forgiving and thinking I had “moved on” and “this didn’t even happen to me” (denial) that I didn’t even know I had gotten myself into an even worse situation. What could be worse?
The first person I married after this happened was an abuser.
An abuser at home can be so deceiving, especially if you have no real bruises or “proof” — even to yourself. I woke up one morning and realized that I had put myself, and now my daughter, into a situation and didn’t know how to get out of it.
I had conquered and overcome so much, everyone thought I was so strong, what will they think now? I finally decided that I wouldn’t want a life like this for my daughter, so I waited till my husband (at the time) went to work out of town, and I left. Yes! I snuck out, and moved to a crappy apartment and got my freedom.
It did not make me feel safe, and it did not empower me. It made me feel scared and lonely.
Brutal honesty is what will help someone else out of a similar situation!
It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized what I had done was brave, courageous and commendable!
Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if God hands you a shovel! You can come through!