Emotional wellbeing? Emotional health? Just what are they and how do victims of domestic violence reach them? How do we attempt to make some sense of senseless acts in life—molestation, spousal abuse, habitual rejection, poor choices in relationships… The list may seem extensive, but if you will stick with me, I think the result will be a positive one for you.
No matter your age, as you read this blog, should you relate to any portion of it, we have something in common and are kindred spirits in a strange sort of way. The years I spent in silence were unbearable. While keeping my mouth shut as a victim of molestation and abuse, the inner screaming was deafening—a specter I grew weary of battling after all those years.
It was not an easy decision in choosing to speak out in 2008 when I released my first book, Orange Blossom Wishes, but it has turned out to be worth all the pain, rejection, hurt, degradation, hopelessness and doubt I experienced during my earlier years. In recounting some of the trauma and trials of my life, the intention was not to cause the reader to consider it as “all about me,” but rather to share the good with the bad and, in some small way, extend a work rooted in faith, hope and a victorious journey through many harmful times. Perhaps it was fate that designated for me to be the one to go through those experiences. But, I believe destiny and purpose, along with Divine Intervention, helped turn it all into a work of hope, faith, restoration and empowerment.
As a child I was molested for almost eight years. As a woman I was abused for sixteen more. The deafening silence cloaked my life, seeming to take the very breath from my lungs at times. I struggled to suppress what I was enduring, but inside my injured psyche was a precious innocent child, inwardly and silently screaming out, yet nobody hearing, “Please, won’t somebody stop the deafening silence? Can’t you see it, can’t you smell it? Get this terror out of my life before it kills me.” Unfortunately, it did kill a portion of me, but thank God for His resurrection power.
The cry of my heart is that in some way you will be able to relate to the events of my life, know that someone else has walked the path you have traveled, or may be traveling now, and you will discover a hope that likely vanished along the way.
You are not alone. I want you to know that. I had my share of battles finding emotional healing and mental health. While you read this, I want you to feel welcome to walk through the door as I invite you into my life, and I willingly lay all the pain, abuse, battles, defeats and victories into your hands.
My desire is to help you regain (or perhaps finally establish) a sense of value, hope and faith for your future. You may feel or even believe you are the only one who has ever been through the traumatic mistreatment you have endured. Is it possible anyone has been touched as inappropriately as you? Has anyone else had to suffer the verbal abuse you are going through while you are being told how useless and ugly you are? Could it be that you have stood before your friends or children and been humiliated and demeaned to the point you felt like giving up on life? It could be that the very thought of speaking to someone about what has happened to you rivets you in fear. Let me speak up for you. Let me try to give you a reason to hope, once again.
I know all too well that twisted combination of fear, confusion, depression and low self esteem. I’ve had those moments of being frozen in what seemed like suspended animation, doubting not only who I am, but why I am here, as someone screamed words into my ears of how useless and undesirable I was. I’ve lived through times of being groped amidst the smell of cigarettes and alcohol, wondering how I lost control not only of my own body, but my very soul.
By raising my voice of experience to the injustices done to innocent children and adults, I hope to bring to realization there are many others who are also smothered by their own silences. They, too, are gasping for a clear, fresh breath that might make them feel just a bit more alive. Let my life show you that in the midst of life’s strongest anguish and distress, God is never more than a fingertip away, ready to catch us if we fall. He is always reaching with arms wide open for us to run and be held tightly in His perfect love and understanding of what we are going through, where we are in our lives and how little more we can possibly take without being destroyed. You can make it! You will make it!
Hopefully, you will be compelled to speak up, speak out and make a difference for what is so common in our country today. So often we dismiss domestic violence and/or abuse as strictly physical acts taken against another human being. I take exception to that. Verbal abuse is still abuse. If it comes from a spouse, mate or family member, it is domestic abuse. If it causes you to become self-destructive, it is an integral part of domestic violence. You don’t have to be hit to be a victim of domestic violence. The same abhorrent behavior now commonly leads to news stories of ones found raped and/or murdered.
From the very first post, this blog was never meant to be a therapy guide or a psychological aid. It is simply the life story of one little girl who was totally lost and afraid, who is speaking out, sharing not only the trauma but the comfort, hope and faith found in the mire of a life of abuse. She endured very bad things at the hands of some not-so-nice people, and made some really lousy choices in life, but her journey continues today. She has become a grown woman who is living proof there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it ain’t no train.
For so long I implored of God, “How can I help make a change for the good?” His answer was a simple one: “Speak!” So I did, finally, after the decades of hidden secrets. Thus, I must continue do as God said, and “Speak.” I believe you are worth taking that risk.
*Excerpts with permission from: Hennecy, Carolyn S., ORANGE BLOSSOM WISHES, iUniverse, 2008