April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In observance of this important issue, I decided to review the book HUSH and address the issue of childhood sexual abuse.
Nicole Braddock Bromley was sexually abused by her stepfather from about age 4 until she was 14 years old. At age 14, she told her mother, charges were filed, and her stepfather committed suicide. Nicole now is the founder of OneVOICE Enterprises and travels around the country bringing a message of healing for victims of sexual abuse.
Nicole tells her story in her book Hush: Moving from Silence to Healing after Childhood Sexual Abuse. The book is full of helpful support for anyone who has experienced childhood sexual abuse. Nicole is a Christian, and offers a strong biblical perspective on topics such as healing, forgiveness, and truths that victims of abuse need to hear.
The message of Hush resonates with me, for I too am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Like Nicole, I have experienced great healing and I have a passion to help others who have experienced this kind of trauma.
If you have experienced childhood sexual abuse, my heart goes out to you. My message to you is summarized in these five points:
1) Get Safety
If you are currently in any kind of abusive relationship, act now to get out and find a place of safety. If you need help evaluating this or developing a safety plan, one resource is the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
2) Get Support
Reach out to people in your life who are safe. Safe people respect you, listen to your perspective and affirm you. You may want to find a trained therapist who can help you process the abuse and find healing.
3) Gently Move Toward the Pain
We naturally avoid, deny or repress painful memories and painful feelings. It takes courage to move toward the pain instead. Notice what triggers you. When you get a scared, panicky feeling inside, gently ask yourself what that’s about. When I was going through this process, it helped me to picture God holding my hand and going with me toward the pain.
4) Bring it All to God
God is gentle and compassionate. He heals the broken-hearted. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” God is the ultimate “safe person” to turn to. When we bring all our painful memories, all our intense emotions, all our confused thoughts to God, he gives comfort, grace and healing.
5) Know There Is Hope
I am a therapist because I believe that God redeems. He brings good out of evil, strength out of weakness, hope out of despair. When I look back on my life, I see that some of the most difficult times have brought the most personal growth.
Nicole Braddock Bromley writes:
Your past can’t be erased, but it isn’t your whole story. Your pain isn’t the end of you. God can work a miracle in your life. He has something good planned for you and He can make your life the way you long for it to be.
My uncle, Christian talk radio pioneer Rich Buhler, once said to me words I will never forget. When I told him about the healing I’d experienced from the sexual abuse in my past, he said, “Isn’t it amazing how God takes that deep, dark dungeon we were afraid to enter and turns it into a beautiful museum that displays his glory?”
Yes. It is amazing.
For all of you who have experienced the pain of childhood sexual abuse, I pray that you may know that healing too.
If you have experienced abuse and would like to talk further, feel free to go here and click on the Contact Us button. We at Restore and Rebuild Ministries would be happy to hear your story and do what we can to support you.
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