We are going to have a difficult conversation, you and I. Brace up. It is not the norm and apparently not sociably acceptable to talk about such things. Nevertheless, PC be damned, cause we’re talking.
We’re talking about sex, specifically sex and other physical intimacies. Specifically (again) sex and physical intimacy after sexual, physical, and mental abuse.
This will not probably not be pleasant to the masses. I don’t blame anyone for not reading beyond this point. But for the brave, for those who want or need to be well informed, I applaud your every effort and sacrifice because it does require both.
Conversations like these are so hard! Why? No one wants to think about abuse and when survivors talk, people are forced to think. Or not. And no one wants to think about the lasting effects of abuse. Or they simply can’t.
Yet, here I am going to provide some enlightenment. Yes, there will be hard things but the God-stuff will outweigh them by far. So …
Beyond 6th grade, I have not kept it a secret that I was sexually abused. A 3 year old doesn’t have a grid for this type of act. Neither does a 10 year old. But a 12 year old knows full well what took place and by this age part of my identity was set, which is why I didn’t complain or report the rapes at age 14 or 16. Being used for sex had become my identity. Until a few years ago, I thought it was set in stone. But God …
I’m now 45 and I’m still recovering but I believe I’m in the very last stages of recovery and I will have my victory. Amen
Let’s skip over the actual events themselves. Every victim of abuse has their own personal story. I will say though – no matter how insignificant one story seems in light of another, all stories are horrific and no person should be subjected to terror. Again, Amen
People from abuse are liable to go through different stages. Some question their sexuality – straight or gay. Some become ‘prudes’ – barely acknowledging sex is an actual thing. Some go buck-wild – having sex with every and any one. I fit in all 3 categories at one time and I fit in well. Possibly TMI but this is a ‘real’ conversation, right?
By the time the abuse and theses ‘stages’ caught up with me, I could only be found in my house on my couch, for weeks at a time. I look back and it scares me now. I was so close to death. In fact, I begged God to kill me multiple times because I didn’t have the guts to kill myself, although I kept trying, and failing. Thank you, Jesus!
I cringed and had anxiety attacks whenever anyone wanted to touch me, whether it be a handshake, a hug, or a kiss; family included. And, (heaven forbid) if my husband wanted to have sex with me, I’d often have full-onset panic attacks. Sometimes even if he merely wanted to hold on to me for comfort in the night, I would panic and be screaming, on the inside; because I thought I should be compliant and gracious and grateful and accommodating.
But one day I told God, “There has to be more to life than just surviving. I cannot live like this!”
And God said, ‘Let there be Light.”
Healing didn’t happen all at once. In fact, it is still ongoing. However, Father sent people into my path to begin to facilitate healing. First, He sent me to read of the trauma and shame of Tamar, the daughter of David. (2 Samuel 13:1 -28) Then He sent me to Michigan to a training course on how to lead a study on healing from abuse. And oh my! My healing began in Michigan, surrounded by strangers, women and men, who first told me they absolutely hated my smile because it masked my pain. The memory of this day brings tears even now, it was so powerful and life-giving.
Father allowed me to bring this Bible study back home to Alabama and He eventually set me up with some ladies to take the course with me. For 8 years, twice a year, I and a varied number of ladies, and some men, traversed this particular journey to a healing. Eventually I, personally, got all I could from the study and Father had me close the group. I’m struck now with the thought that He may have me open it again at some time.
After the class ended I was many times, and years, better but still needed a whole lot; a need no man could fill, so Father led me to read the Song of Solomon, as it used to be called, or the Song of Songs. During this time, in the reading of this word, I was freed from nightmares – torment and torture of repeated sexual abuse and being witness to the sexual abuse of others through dreams (this is not ever mentioned in general conversation) and I was released from PTSD. FYI, it’s not only Armed Service Veterans who suffer from PTSD. Victims, or survivors, can also suffer this. And all can be freed from this, in Jesus name!
Up to date – my healing seemed to be stalled for some years. No more nightmares except an errant one here and there, much lessened anxiety and panic, and a whole lot less cringing. Yet, sex continued to vex me. I tried to reason with myself – I’ve been married all this time, he deserves more, he shouldn’t have to dodge the land mines of triggers and memories.
Full disclosure – at times, and there were times, when I felt condemned by my husband because I couldn’t separate the past from the present. Through no fault of his own, a touch or a movement reminded me and I was instantly transported back to the time of that particular abuse. While my husband could not understand how I couldn’t possibly be able to separate the two (or four) of them, I couldn’t understand it either and I blamed myself for not being able to hold on to reality.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is torture in full effect. This is what the enemy purposes – for a person to be so broken, so out of touch with the present, that they cannot carry on a real, personal, intimate relationship. If Satan can effectively affect a person, male or female, in such a way, well he can figuratively and literally stop a person from becoming who God created them to be in the beginning. If Satan can create such a barrier between a person and the world outside of them, which can stop them from seeking comfort apart from an addiction, then he considers it a win. After all, a person stuck inside their own mind is of no use to the Kingdom of God, not to mention that person is, as Satan sees it, fated to live in hell and die not having affected anything except pain.
I’ve been stuck here, again for about a year. I’ve been desperately trying to claw my way out. I hadn’t had much success until a friend messaged that she had suddenly come up against a veritable wall of intimacy. I began seeking God anew as to healing, specifically healing for sexual relations with my husband. I’d not given up in all this time. I had just hit a wall. However, while conversing with my friend, Father brought to light some things I hadn’t before considered. Perhaps it just happened to be the right time to address these things since they hadn’t occurred to me previously.
The Lord had me stand in front of a mirror and repeat after Him. Together, we renounced the lies that “I should expect to be anxious and panic when a man (my husband) touched me in an intimate or sexual manner.” We apologized for having agreed and believed such a lie. We also released me to (actually) fully feel and enjoy intimate touch, whether it be a simple hug or handshake from an acquaintance or friend or a meaningful touch or hug from a family member. Then, and get ready for this, we released my mind, heart, and body to enjoy very intimate touch (sex) with my husband!
In all honesty, I have yet to put it to the test; however, I fully expect for healing to have occurred and to be evident. TMI? Still, just having a ‘real’ conversation here.
You know, the goodness of God does not stop at the flowers of the field or at the birds of the air. Neither does it stop at providing finances for the widow or orphan or for providing physical healing for the sick and infirmed. Jesus paid for and subsequently provided for ALL healing. Amen
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
Jeannie B. Wilbourn