We cannot erase what has happened to us, but we can heal and restore the after effects of traumatic experiences. In order to fully recover from traumatic experiences you must thoroughly process the painful emotions. For years, my brain tried to block the painful memories of sexual abuse and attempted rape. I thought if I pretended it never happened then it would be true. It wouldn’t be real anymore. I was ashamed and I thought if anybody found out I would be in big trouble. I didn’t want anybody to find out about the sexual abuse for a fear of breaking up a relationship and what would happen if I told. Would they believe me? It was awful way to live. And I lived that way for fifteen years. It’s funny how somebody does something to us and somehow we think it’s our fault.
I did confess about the attempted rape probably six months to a year after to a family member. This was a person that whom my family and I had known for a short while, but I felt I had no reason not to trust him. Plus, I was a little naïve 15-year-old and he was in his 30s. I certainly was not thinking he would want to have sexual relations with a little girl. Boy was I wrong. Thankfully we had learned defense tactics in school for situations like these and although I was scared as hell to use them I tried anyway. I was not going to let another man overpower me like that again. And it worked. I ran out of that house and ran as fast as I could home. I was throwing up along the way, but I still ran like hell. I was so scared he was going to come after me.
When I finally made it home I had found out that a family member had been trying to call his apartment because he was wondering what was taking so long. He said that the line was off the hook and he was getting worried. A disgusted feeling came over me that this man had this all planned out. I wanted to die. I just told him we were outside because I was too scared to tell him the truth. This man was confronted after I confessed what had happened and his response was that I went there to have sex with him. I was completely baffled. I definitely knew at 15 that I was not out looking for sexual relationships, especially with a man who much older than me. I never pressed any charges against this man, but God has definitely served justice on my behalf.
Due to the sexual abuse and attempted rape every relationship I had been really hard for me and I was never really fully invested in the relationship for a fear of them finding out. I thought they would think less of me and not want me anymore. Although there were many times when I just wanted to blurt it out, but I just couldn’t. I began to engage in a lot of unhealthy relationships. I had figured the worst has already happened what could be worse. What a way to think.
When I had finally been in a committed relationship and tried to share what had happend to me I had gotten the most shocking response, “So, what did you do for him to want to do that.” I could not believe my ears. Here I loved this person and they had the audacity to ask me that. Why would I asked to be sexually abused and assaulted. I couldn’t believe it. I can say that I kind of created a hate towards this person and knew that I could never be with them. I never told anyone after that until I started attending church in 2013.
Along with unhealthy relationships I found a new love; drugs, preferably cocaine and ecstasy. I instantly became attracted to the buoyant feeling it had given me. After the first time the sexual abuse had happened it was like my soul had left my body and I was no longer Stephanie. I was just a body walking around with no life. The drugs made me feel alive. I never became a full-blown addict. I was not out in the streets looking for drugs. I did not become homeless because of drugs. I generally just used when I was out clubbing. If I had the money then all was well. If I didn’t then I didn’t do any. Although, being a bartender at the time had its perks; I generally didn’t have to go looking far. It usually came to me. Thankfully though, by the grace of God I overcame that dependence and have not touched either one for 6 years.
One question I often get asked is how did you get over it? The answer is I had to go through a lot of painful emotions and really confront what was oppressing me. It was not easy, since shame was a familiar scar that overpowered my life. It was deeply rooted from my childhood. I didn’t even believe in Jesus Christ at the time, so I couldn’t necessarily say where was God in the midst of all this? But, once I decided to forgive my offender it became easier to get through it. Although, only the power of Jesus could ever convince me to forgive my transgressors. He holds all the glory.
Will I ever forget it? Absolutely not; there are still days where something triggers my fears, and I become stricken with anxiety, or there are days when depression takes over and just getting out of bed is a task, but I remind myself that it’s over with and I have nothing to fear anymore. These feelings cannot be repressed or forgotten, but if we do not deal with them directly, then we will replay the events over and over again until it becomes a vicious cycle.
I discovered over time that God was with me the whole time. He called me so many times, but I just ignored him. Yet, when I was high, I often would talk to him and just ask him to take all the pain away and if I were to die I would be ok with that for what did I have to live for. Thankfully God never left me nor forsaken me. He was with me the entire time, waiting for me to totally trust Him with my life, my pain, my future. I had nothing left to lose. I surrendered everything to God. He extracted every pain and infused me his love, joy, and peace. I finally could experience that awakening inside of me that was dying to break through. This was my new beginning!
This is just a little preview of my testimony. As there was plenty more I had to go through to get to the other side. I am hoping that by sharing my experience with you that it will help you heal as well. My journey may be a little different from yours as I have become successful in overcoming my traumatic experiences through the word of God, but I hope that this does not deter you from sharing your experience with me and many others who are going through the same thing. Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony. Please feel free to share your testimony on my page. I am looking forward to connecting with everyone. God bless.