By Blogger Valerie Lutz
F. Scott Fitzgerald said “The world breaks everyone, and afterwards some of us are stronger in the broken places.” And I believe that in order to be stronger in the broken places, it is necessary to live boldly and with a sense of purpose. I know that sometimes that is easier said than done. I am close to 40 years old and I am still learning about myself and about life.
How am I living boldly and with a sense of purpose? I am sharing my story. My story is that I am a survivor of child sexual abuse at the hands of my dad. The topic of sexual abuse is a difficult on to talk about for both victims and those who are afraid of the reality of it.
Please notice that I make a distinction between victim and survivor. A victim is defined as a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or a person. A survivor is defined as a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks. I am not a victim… I am a survivor.
I am a survivor because my mom believed me. I am a survivor because most of my family loves and supports me. I am a survivor because of the therapy I received throughout high school. I am a survivor because I forgave my dad – not for him but for me. I am a survivor because I can talk about my story without shame or guilt.
I am a mom of two teenagers and when they complain about having to do the dishes or my strict rules I tell them that there is always someone out there whose story is worse than you think yours is. I have also encouraged them to stand up for those that are not strong enough to stand up for themselves because that is what my mom did for me when I disclosed about being abused.
I know that I am blessed and not every kid that discloses has that experience. So by telling my story and encouraging people to discuss sexual abuse, I feel like I am standing up for those who cannot right now. We can put an end to sexual abuse if we stop ignoring that it exists. And if you are someone that cannot stand up right now start looking for the reasons that you can be and are a survivor. They may be different than mine.
Sometimes it seems we are overwhelmed with so much negativity in the world but if we stop and really look, we are surrounded by good… sometimes you may have to dig to find it but it’s there! I always look for reminders that keep me moving forward. My favorite quote is “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” by Eleanor Roosevelt. When I don’t feel confident or something scares me this quote reminds me that I am strong!
Even after everything I have been through, I have faith. It took me a long time to realize that when I felt alone and worthless; I was never really alone. I used to be angry and wonder how God could allow such things to happen. I have come to believe that He puts the people that we need in our lives and everyone has a purpose. My favorite bible passage is Psalm 28:7 and it says “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”
I have recently found a great church led by a wonderful Pastor! He has some really great sermons and the words seem to come just when I need to hear them. Two sermons that have really stuck out for me were about having zeal and about blaming God. I learned that sometimes it is okay to be angry or have zeal if you put it to good use. I also learned that instead of blaming God or looking for someone else to blame for our problems we should be looking for how we can use our problems to help and encourage others. So today I am thankful for all I have been through and because we are all trying to survive something.
My passion or zeal is rooted in the trauma I suffered growing up. It started when I was only about five years old. It went on for about nine years. My earliest memory is of my dad touching me; telling me that this was our secret. Eventually it became more than just touching. There was physical and mental abuse as well, especially when I tried to fight him off. By the time I was about 14 years old I had contemplated running away, killing my dad, and even attempted suicide.
I still struggle sometimes but I have a great support system and I am determined to help others and so I started a blog (http://survivorsstory-val.blogspot.com ) to share my story, my thoughts and experiences as an abuse survivor. I want to give others hope and courage.
I encourage you to find something positive that makes you feel strong and confident. Whether its music, poetry, quotes, Bible scripture, or even a new group of friends that have a positive outlook on life; if it speaks to you and influences your strength and courage than use it!
Different things will work for different people. It’s okay to sometimes feel discouraged, but remember that it is up to you how you deal with the situation. Like I tell my sixteen year old daughter, you can be as miserable or as happy as you want – not matter what you face. There will always be things in life that you cannot change. Try to step back and take another look at it from a different perspective. Always look for the positive in a bad situation.
By Blogger Valerie Lutz of survivorsstory-val.blogspot.com