I watch the news, brave victims who are finally speaking up and being eviscerated for it, and I wonder. How many more are there?
I don't know if I was the first.
I'm 100% certain I wasn't the last.
I guess they call this survivor's guilt. To be tormented by thoughts of the others. Did you know the early victims wonder about the more recent?
Many of us have found healing and grace in the arms of Jesus, yes, thank you, Jesus! But we will always wonder how many others there were.
To feel that if we had had to courage to speak up and keep on speaking until someone heard, he could have been stopped before his horror spread.
Were you his next victim?
The sex offender recidivism rates are staggering--some sources cite as high as 43% will be rearrested for a second crime. And those are just the ones who got caught.
This is the reality of our lives: we know we fall on a spectrum of victims.
It helps, I guess, to know the stats. We are not alone in our silence. Nine out of 10 cases of sexual abuse are not reported to the authorities. The statute of limitations comes and goes in the vast majority of cases. There are so many "good" reasons to stay silent. Victims learn quickly that no one wants to hear their story, and it's no wonder they quit telling it. Why bring it up now? Nothing good can come of it. Let sleeping dogs lie.
I know my situation is not unique. But that doesn't make it any less painful. Letting sleeping dogs lie doesn't lessen the knowledge that our silence doomed you to some future unwanted crossroads where you would walk away forever changed, with your own heavy burden of guilt and shame to bear.
I hope you've found healing. I hope you have reached out and put your hand in His offered ones, or thrown yourself wholeheartedly into the embrace of the only Man who will never, ever hurt you. I hope someone introduced you to the Man of Sorrows, no stranger to grief and affliction, Who surely bears our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). I long to know someone, somewhere, told you about Jesus and the power of forgiveness to set you free.
I will be looking for you for the rest of my life.
I will never find you. I know that. But I wish I could.
Because I want to tell you so badly how sorry I am that we failed you. That our innocent longing for privacy, our agonizing desire to pretend it never happened, our crucial ignorance of the fact that men who do this don't ever stop doing it, condemned you to a horrific violation that no one should ever have to endure. I want to look into your eyes and make sure you know as I do, this wasn't our fault, or yours. I want to weep with you over the loss of who we were before this man entered our universe, and weep again over the brokenness he left behind. I want to hold your hand and encourage you to tell your story and keep on telling it until someone hears and the horror finally stops.
The admitting, the weeping, the telling, are so important. That's the extent of what the world's counsel has to offer. We have to make ourselves vulnerable once more in order to heal our most vulnerable wounds. But I'm not going to leave it there. Because there is more healing to offer.
I will be looking for you for the rest of my life because I want to tell you that no matter who failed you, Jesus never fails.
I want to make sure you know that there is mercy that covers anything that happened in that room, in that car, behind that building. And there is mercy, too, for anything and everything that's happened since.
I want to show you from the Bible how you can know that the door to your prison of shame and silence is broken open by the power of the Resurrected Savior. Your chains have fallen off. You have only to stand and walk out.
And if you're too weak to walk, He will carry you.
If death and the grave have been defeated, then anything else in this life doesn't stand a chance. It falls before an almighty Love Incarnate that cared so much He died for you.Setting captives free is His specialty (Luke 4:18-19). That's what you need to hear and I need to tell you.
I can't find you, but you find me. I'm right here.
Let me tell you how my Jesus makes beauty from ashes.