When someone’s personhood has been shattered by sexual abuse, how can we begin to put back some of the pieces and bring healing to painful wounds? One place to start is with the voice. The secrecy and threats that often accompany abuse rob a person of the ability to say that they are being harmed, or have been harmed. This robbery can sometimes carry over into many other areas of a person’s life. They may feel muted in small and seemingly unimportant ways, or they may feel overwhelmed and afraid of what would happen if someone knew the truth.
Our Voice is God-Given
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1 NKJV
God spoke and there was light. God spoke and humans were created in His image. They were created with the ability to speak, to have a voice. God’s “voice” is not muted – and we should not allow it to be suffocated in any of His children. All of creation speaks of Him – whether it is the birds, the stars, the rivers, or the sunrise. We are given that same “voice” to be who we are. When it is muted, it is our person that is muted and not just our voice.
Once the voice is given some freedom, the abused person can use her voice to love, to influence, to worship, to sing, to speak truth, to say “no,” to say “yes,” to assert her needs, to explain how she feels, to speak without being punished, to be important enough for others to listen to, to have her story believed, to speak with kindness, and to declare her faith with boldness. This is the voice God intended for His beloved – that is, for you.
So, if your body has been abused and you have lost your voice, let the redeemer God touch you. He can free you to be that fearfully and wonderfully made person – known before conception, and with a blueprint to boot. He intended you to have a voice – to display the person you are.
God Heals You through Relationships
Where the shame of abuse would keep you isolated, God wants to love you – and He often does this through others. The trust that has been violated by those who were supposed to be protectors of your person is hard to regain. One person at a time, you will begin to form relationships that are truly honest and free from abuse. One person at a time, you will be able to use your “voice” to be who you are – to say what you think, to laugh, to cry, and to be vulnerable.
Many of us think that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness – and that if we display weakness, we will be rejected. Yet in reality most of the time those we love and those who love us are drawn to the humility, it takes to be vulnerable. We all know deep inside that we are imperfect. When we quit covering up our humanness and are then affirmed anyway – that is freedom. And that is love.
A Power That Looks like Love
Some of the fallout we experience from being abused is the feeling of being invisible, ineffective, or helpless. The abused person was meant to matter to others – to have a positive influence. However, abuse can often rob a person of his dignity, his initiative, and his hope. The original blueprint for each of us includes a sense of power in our relationships, our work, and our family life. This is not the kind of power that squashes others, is controlling, or even seeks to abuse others. Instead, this power is from God. It might look like the ability to change the way things are done in positive ways. It might enable someone to be a voice of encouragement to his children. This power might give him insights into leadership. This power will probably give him his “voice” back. This power will look a lot like love.
The redeemer will redeem. Let him give you back your voice. He wants to help you build trustworthy relationships and to experience the power in life that can create joy.
A Christian Counselor Will Journey with You as You Recover from Abuse
Finding your own voice is a crucial part of recovering from sexual abuse, as you regain the power that God intended you to have. However, you cannot do this alone. Establishing trusting relationships with friends and family members is an important part of the healing process, but it can also help to speak with a professional therapist. A trained Christian counselor can offer both a safe space in which you can begin to find your own voice and helpful insights into your own particular struggles.
Images from Dreamstime.com: “Kidnapped woman hostage with tape over her mouth,” by Jan Mika, ID 42130505; “Freedom,” by Valua Vitaly, ID 6214101.
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