Forgiving the Abuser

When I was five years old, I was sexually abused by a family member. The abuse occurred for two years until the predator moved away, but the occasional visits and family get-togethers remained stressful and brought me extreme anxiety. I didn’t report the abuse until years later, and by then the evidence was lacking and accusation less believable. I held onto that secret and pain for four years before I had the courage to tell anyone, all the while thinking that I was the problem and cause of my pain. I first shared my trauma with a school counselor, who then asked me to demonstrate the abuse with dolls while being recorded on camera. It was a humiliating experience for me. Even worse, family members, including my parents, turned a deaf ear to the accusations and acted as though it never happened. Once the authorities were brought in to investigate, and since years had passed since the abuse, a case could not hold its ground and was thrown out.

My parents never spoke to me about the abuse but showed their disappointment in their faces, which I considered as disappointment in me. I never received counseling or therapy for the trauma so I could never reveal details or process the experience with anyone wiser than me. Shortly after the case was dissolved, my father died and a new kind of grief took control.

Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and heave laden, and I will give you rest.” It wasn’t until I became a Christian in my early adult life and found comfort in Jesus that I was able to be healed from my childhood abuse and trauma. I couldn’t overcome my fear or anxiety of men until I relinquished my pain to God and allowed Him to heal my heart. I wasn’t able to forgive my abuser until I understood through counseling courses in college that most predators have endured similar abuse in their past without healing or restoration, and they act on their constant fears and struggles by hurting others. While that is no excuse for my trauma, or make it right for child abuse, I knew that I was not the cause of the abuse and could let go of the wound of guilt.

Parents never want to hear that their child has been abused or harmed in any way. The look of disappointment that my parents expressed was toward their own guilt and shame of not being aware of threats in their daughter’s life and not preventing the situation. That guilt is very common. Parents must be more protective of their child’s environment, whether it be friends, family, or inside the church. As a parent to three children now, I am cautious of who my children are around, especially when they are alone, because I don’t want history to repeat itself on my watch.

Therefore, I urge those who have experienced trauma in their childhood to look up for their healing. Look to God to help you mend the wounds and to seek forgiveness of your predator. Holding onto the anger and resentment will continue to block your full potential as God’s Warrior. Don’t be afraid to share your story with others. You never know who else might be holding onto trauma, thinking no one else would understand. Since I have started sharing my testimony, many others have been able to share theirs and begin healing their wounds.

Ginger Turner is the Founder and Director of Warriors for God Ministry. She has a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, and a Christian Life Coach. Ginger, her husband, and three children reside in the Hill Country of Texas where she teaches and counsels couples, young children, and teenagers. Her focus is on enriching marriages and families, suicide awareness, and coaching the community on Whole Body Wellness. Ginger loves the Lord and lives every day for Him, serving Him in whatever capacity He sets on her path.

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