Today I come to you redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I choose no longer to live in bondage, secrets, or lies.
Approximately 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape. That is about one in six women in the United States. I refuse to be just another statistic, so I’m breaking my silence.
First, I want to say if you have been a victim of rape or attempted rape, you are NOT alone. If it has been 10 years or 10 days, start talking about it. The longer you live in silence, the more power you give Satan over your life. Do not let Satan feed you lies of unworthiness, shame, or guilt. My God is a God of redemption, and He wants to free every person from his or her bondage.
Many close to me may have noticed a change in my demeanor over the past four years. I always appeared happy, but in reality, I was unbearably broken. I should have moved to Hollywood because I had become a great actress. God doesn’t want us to act happy. He wants us to be happy and experience peace in His son Jesus.
The day it happened and the lies Satan told me
On the day of my rape, I was not in public wearing revealing clothes that enticed a random man. I was in the comfort of my apartment and raped by somebody I called my friend. Friends don’t intentionally hurt one another; that’s called an enemy. So, from day one of my incident, Satan began to fill my head with lies.
“Nobody will believe you. Y’all were friends.”
Here I was at 20 years old with a huge secret that I assumed people would not believe. Bad assumption, right? You would think so, but once Satan grabs hold of your heart, you’ll believe just about anything.
In the months, and years, after my incident, Satan filled my head with more lies.
“Katy, you deserved it. You should have been a better Christian.”
I soon began to hate myself. I felt like damaged goods and unworthy of love. I was too ashamed to tell my family, especially living in a small town in Mississippi. My thought process was, “If I tell my parents, then they will want to press charges, and then what? My story would be all over the local news. No, thank you!” I would rather stuff my pain than relive those moments in a courtroom or in a long legal battle.
I thought keeping it to myself was best for all people involved. I did not want my parents to feel the pain of what happened to their little girl. I did not want to be looked at differently, and I especially did not want people to feel sorry for me.
So, for three and half years, I stuffed my pain in silence, dealing with unimaginable emotions and thoughts. On one extreme, I tried to persuade myself that it did not happen all together. On the other extreme, I told myself it was punishment for the lifestyle I had chosen.
Both extremes were complete lies from Satan.
Why share my story now?
Some people may ask, “Well why now? Why share your story after four years? How did you reach your breaking point?” My only answer is God. God placed a close friend in my life who shared a similar story. He encouraged me to share my experience with my family, and my response was, “No way! Not in a million years. I will NEVER tell my parents.”
Those of you that know my family probably think that’s absurd. Why not tell them? I really hit the jackpot when it comes to parents. I could not have a more loving, spiritually-driven, understanding family.
But my heart was filled with shame, guilt, lies and pride.
After the conversation with my friend, I wrestled with the question of whether or not to tell my parents for two months. Then one day I hit a breaking point. I was so angry at everything and everybody. I couldn’t pinpoint why I was so angry. I’m sure that sounds silly from the outside looking in. But for four years, I tried to block out a life-changing event, when in reality, I needed to deal with the impact and pain it had on me. I was not OK, and I did not have it all together. I needed prayers, support, and love.
My pride finally lost the war.
Since sharing with my family, I connected with a fellow sister in Christ who walked through the same journey as I am on now. She has prayed with me, pushed me out of my comfort zone and nudged me toward a path of redemption. God had me in His hands the entire time, but I had to be willing to be healed. It was my turn to set my pride aside and allow Him to set me free.
I am actually happy again, like truly happy. Sure, I get emotional sometimes, but not for a second do I doubt my identity.
I am a daughter of the most high King, and He LOVES me.
That is something to be excited about.
It all starts (and ends) with forgiveness
I am still on a journey to complete freedom, but I am closer than I ever imagined. I had to change my heart, and this started with forgiveness. My Lord, Jesus Christ, died an excruciating death for all my sins. Who am I to say I can’t forgive others?
To the guy who did this to me, I forgive you. To all of the people I let walk all over me after my incident, I also forgive you.
I no longer need approval from people, because I live for a God who restored and redeemed me.
If I learned anything from my experience, it is to always be kind to people. Most everyone is fighting battles you know absolutely nothing about. A smile, a text, or a hug may be exactly what somebody needs. As Christians, we need to do more loving and a whole lot less judging!
I have prayed about whether or not to share my story publically, but God convicted my heart. I share my story in hopes of breaking the silence for so many other women. I know silence feels like the easiest way, but that is a lie from Satan. The more we share, the less power Satan has over our secrets. Do not be afraid or ashamed to speak out. We are not defined by our past because we have hope in a promised eternity.
To anybody reading this that has gone through a similar experience, feel free to reach out to me. I do not have all the answers, but I know a God who does. He wants to free you, redeem you, and love you.
You just have to let Him!