Thursday, March 5, 2015

Into the Silence....

When I was six or seven...
I adored him.

He shared his secret with me.
Brought me into his confidence.
I wouldn't betray that.  No way would I betray that.
I adored him.
And so I kept... SILENT.

Later... he was in trouble.  Someone had told.
It wasn't me.  I frantically told him it wasn't me.
He knew.  He knew I'd kept his secret.
I didn't betray his trust.  I wouldn't betray his trust.
I adored him...
and now I'd proven my loyalty... my ability...
to keep... SILENT.

So he asked more.  And I gave more.
At least I thought I gave more.  Actually, he just took more.
He took... my innocence.
He abused my trust. He abused my loyalty.  He abused... me.
But I didn't know.
I thought I was special.
I didn't know... that I was just used.
I thought he liked me... thought I was special.
We shared this secret, he and I.
I adored him.
And so I kept... SILENT.

When I was eight...
I knew.

I sat beside my mom, a book in her lap, as she explained:
Ovaries. Eggs. Fallopian tubes. Uterus.
A beautiful gift of love
within a marriage.
And just like that I knew.
And I knew that he knew.
And I knew that he knew that I didn't know....

And I knew anger.
He knew.  He should have protected me. He didn't.
He knew. Yet he led me into it.
He knew... that I didn't know.  And he used it against me.
He didn't care.  He didn't think I was special...
just a little kid... too dumb to know any better.
Silently raging inside.
And I did feel dumb.  I did feel foolish.
For crushing on him... for believing he cared.
For not knowing.
And so I kept... SILENT.

And I knew shame.
It wasn't really mine, but I carried it anyway.
Children of divorce and children of abuse.
Somehow we take the blame.
"It was my fault.  I let him."
My fault.
"I wanted his attention...
wanted him to like me."
My shame.

 And so at the tender age of eight
I knew.
I knew the wrong.
I knew the anger.
I knew the shame.
And I knew that no one else could ever know.
I knew.
And so I kept... SILENT.

But little girls can't keep silent.  Not entirely, anyway.
I acted out.
Things I shouldn't know.  But I did know.
And the older I became, the more I understood.
And the deeper the shame.
Not just for his actions.  But for mine.
And I knew... no one could ever know...
what I knew.
And so I kept... SILENT.

When I was eighteen...
I told.

Circumstances forced my hand.
And I told.
I told what he'd done.
And I told them I knew... it wasn't my fault.
It was something he had done... to me.
I told.

But not everything.
I didn't tell the shame I felt from my little girl crush.
I didn't tell the shame I felt from letting him touch me.
I didn't tell the shame I felt from wanting his attention
even after it happened the first time...
wanting his attention...
 to know I was still special
the next time.
I didn't tell the shame I felt... from the things I'd done.
I didn't tell the shame I felt... from things that still controlled me.
I didn't tell.
I still believed no one could ever know the whole.
I told.
And yet I kept... SILENT.

When I was forty-five...
I realized.

For the first time I put a name to it.
I'd known what had happened
but somehow
I hadn't put the name to it.

But then
I saw his actions... named in a book.
A book for survivors.
Sucker-punched... I saw the words
in black and white... on the page in front of me
and I realized
exactly what had been done.
A form of sex.  Abuse.  Sexual... abuse!
And for the first time
I realized I'd been harmed.
For the first time... in all those years...
I began to see the damage.
Lack of trust.  Lack of confidence.  Not good enough.

Counseled:  "It's not your fault."
My head knew. I realized. But my heart still felt shame.
Foolish for crushing... believing... trusting....
Shame for acting out.
I could say I was abused.
I could even begin to admit I was damaged.
No shame in that.  It was something done to me.
But the details?  My part?  My actions afterwards?
No... no one would get to see that.
My counselor knew.  My husband now knew.
No one else could ever know.
I realized.
And yet I kept... SILENT.

When I was forty-seven...
I saw.

For the first time I saw how I treated that little girl within me...
telling her she'd make a fool of herself if I let her out.
I saw it wasn't other people who saw her as foolish.
It was... me.

I saw...
how satan had hijacked the woman God created me to be.

And I began to see myself
the way my husband sees me...
the way God created me.
A beautiful creation.
All of me.
I am loved.
I am enjoyed.
And for the first time
I could enjoy that
revel in it
delight in it.

And then...
I saw...
a story.
Another survivor.
She broke her silence.  Shared her story.
And hundreds of others followed
bringing their stories into the light.
I saw the beauty.  I saw the hope.
I saw the healing.
I saw just how much...
stories matter.

I saw...
Silence is not protection.
Silence is prison.
Silence is isolation.
Silence allows evil to go unchecked.

I saw...
Freedom and healing
are found in breaking the silence.

I saw...
There is beauty in sharing the story.
Beauty in discovering we are not alone.
Beauty in opening the door for others to step through.
Beauty in shining a light on the path
for others to follow
to share their stories
to break the silence
to find their stories... matter.
They are not... alone.

I saw.

I SAW!!!

And I can no longer
keep... SILENT.

I must... SPEAK.
Share my story.
Open a door.
Shine a light in the darkness.

I must... SPEAK...


Note:  The story I referenced above is an amazing read filled with hope and healing.  You can find it online at at


  1. Oh, my! This is so very powerful that I could not quit reading and reading until this last line. I am so very sorry that such violence against you has happened and how those years, so many were in silence because that is what we do. No, I was not abused in this way.
    I will say, though, that my first marriage emotionally and mentally abused me for ten years. I have told my 2nd husband and am so grateful that he is who he is. I was silent for over 23 years as I was divorced for 13.
    May God hold you near and may your words bless many and open the very lives up in order to live once again.
    As a neighbor @ SDG tonight.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. Thank you, LInda! Your story may not be exactly the same, but it's the same silence... I am glad you have been able to break your silence with your 2nd husband. There is healing in that. :) That's my desire -- that stories will be told; silence broken; Jehovah Rapha allowed to enter in....

  2. This is so heart-breaking! I am so glad that she learned to see herself as God sees her, as her husband sees her - to learn God's kind of beautiful love that doesn't hurt or shame!

  3. Jenn, I would be honored if you'd write some of your story for SDG. What you have written here is so powerful, eye-opening, and freeing. I know there are many women who still struggle with the silence. May your voice infuse them with hope that they too can break out of the prison of silence. You can email me if you'd like.

  4. What a perfectly written viewpoint that so many do not have the voice yet to speak. I'm honored you shared it with me!