Why I Didn’t Tell:  This Is Why 

I was sexually abused throughout my childhood and I kept the secrets until I was 38 years old.  I started seeing a counselor and one by one the secrets finally came out like pieces of a puzzle.  It took over three years of weekly sessions to process it all.

I still cringe inside and out when I hear anyone ask, “Why didn’t you tell?”

Or “Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

“Why are you just saying this now?”

“Why now?”

While it was incredibly difficult to even admit that I was abused, it is even more complicated to explain why I didn’t tell. 

But, this will be my attempt to try.

Why I didn’t tell:  This is why

I was terrified.

I didn’t want to be in trouble.

I didn’t want the police to take me away.

No one would believe me.

I believed everyone would be angry with me.

One of them said he would kill himself.

I believed really bad things would happen.

It would be all my fault.

I would lose everything and everyone.

I saw pornography which reinforced the idea that this is what women are, it’s what we do. It’s normal.

It also made me hate my body and everything about it.

I heard conversations about rape that would include discussions about what the victim was wearing, whether or not she was drinking etc.

I heard at least two other children speak up about abuse and they were promptly silenced, even dismissed.

No one said it was wrong or bad.

All of the shame made me feel like I was wrong or bad – like it was my fault and there was something wrong with me that made it happen.

I was groomed, brainwashed and manipulated into silence.

I dissociated, which is like an out-of-body experience.

I thought it was just me.

Again, no one said it was wrong or bad.

I did not know it was abuse.

As complicated as that can be to understand as an adult, can you imagine carrying the weight of all of that as a child and at the same time desperately trying to appear okay?

The only conversations I had about what was happening to me went on inside of my little mind, with it’s very limited understanding.

As hard as it was to endure and survive, it truly seemed easier to stay quiet and never tell because too much was at risk and it was up to me to hold it all together.

Fear, lies, shame and denial kept me quiet for many years.  

And today, lots of people are coming forward like never before and saying #metoo.

Before you dismiss any of them, or minimize their experience, or offer your opinion on whether or not you think they are telling the truth – please consider that someone you love may be suffering in silence and longing to whisper “me too” to you. 

Be a safe person and lend an ear to their pain. Listen. Believe them. Thank them for trusting you and sharing with you. Ask them what you can do to help them.

Don’t be upset with them for not coming to you sooner.  Eventually, they will share their own #thisiswhy with you, but for now just let them know that you love them, and tell them the abuse was never their fault.

Let them know they are not alone, anymore.

Eternal One: As a woman fiercely strains to give birth, I will gasp, pant, and cry out.
        I have been quiet for a long time; I have held back in the face of it all.
    Well, no more.

Isaiah 42:14 VOICE

If you experienced abuse, what kept you from telling?  Share your #thisiswhy.

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Breaking The Silence – Sexual Trauma Awareness

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

On April 22 & 23rd, I shared my story at an event that we hosted at our church (Cresset Church in Durham, NC) called “Breaking The Silence – Sexual Trauma Awareness.”  God was in the details, and He brought it all together.  I give Him all the glory and I thank Him for giving me the opportunity to share what He has done in my life. Click below to watch::

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28 NIV 

To see other clips from the event or to watch the full event video visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkslsTgGbVZ-S47ARNnVmig

Let’s keep this conversation going!  Join us on Facebook by clicking here —> Breaking The Silence Facebook Group. This is where we will post future events, resources and updates.

Also, for those who would like to participate in the Journey To Heal online Bible Study with Crystal Sutherland that I mentioned in the video, please click on the image below to sign up as soon as possible: 

We will also be offering an in person support group for those who are participating in the online study.  We will meet on Thursdays at 7pm at Cresset Church in Durham, NC starting May 11.  Please email cressetwomen@gmail.com if you have questions or would like to participate!