If you’re like most survivors of childhood abuse, the process of healing can seem mystifying and overwhelming. You’re not alone. The good news is that I’ve been there myself, navigated through it and I’ll help you find your own way too.
My daughter, Bethany, and I nervously stood in front of a roomful of 30 or 40 people, hoping to inspire them to be aware of sexual abuse. We shared our histories of incest by our fathers and Bethany’s decision to report her father to the police. Though we’d been talking about our abuse privately for years, this was our first time sharing it in a larger group. We didn’t know if they’d believe us or if they’d judge us for “outing” our fathers.
Afterward, as refreshments were served, several individuals discreetly approached Bethany and me. Hesitantly, they shared their own stories. “It happened to me, too,” one man said. He was in his late forties or early fifties but was disclosing his childhood sexual abuse for the first time. Another woman had been telling people for many years, but seemed to feel condemned to live under the cloud of abuse.
One by one, we heard their stories. Our hearts were broken by how alone they seemed to be and how little hope they had for healing. We felt compelled to find some kind of support for them.
Our search turned up two types of support: The first was very nurturing but only a place to share struggles; they were without hope of overcoming them. The second type was uplifting, yet seemed to believe that healing was a matter of determination and a positive attitude.
We knew from our own healing journey that all of those were necessary to heal, but we also believed that without practical steps and real tools, there would be no permanent freedom. Since we didn’t find what we were looking for, we started our own group and Overcoming Sexual Abuse was born in October of 2009.
We started with nothing but a Facebook page and the desire to spread hope for healing. We shared the insights we found useful on our own journeys. We were overwhelmed by the response. Overcoming Sexual Abuse became a community of men and women at various points in the healing journey, all courageous, some eager to share, some only letting us know privately that they were there reading posts and comments.
By August of the following year, we launched our website. For several years, Bethany helped to guide its growth. Now, she’s a busy entrepreneur with a thriving healthy life apart from abuse. She still occasionally writes posts and lends her design skills to OSA.
In 2013, I was sued by my parents for talking about the sexual abuse my dad perpetrated on me. The lawsuit threatened the core of OSA and me. By April of 2014, the suit was settled and I was free to share the truth once again.
By December of 2014, I published “The Rescued Soul: a Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal”. I’m more passionate than ever to share hope with the community of survivors and to empower each one to live a full, satisfying life apart from the influence of abuse. If you share my history, my sincere hope is that you join me along the healing path.
Welcome to Overcoming Sexual Abuse!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the truth. Truth is stability in a chaotic world; it stands solid in the midst of brokenness. Truth is safe.
As a kid, my hero was teen detective, Nancy Drew, who boldly investigated clues and lived to solve mysteries. Nothing fascinated her more than finding the truth. In my teen years, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple was my favorite amateur sleuth. A sweet, unassuming, grandmotherly-type, nobody could fool her. Miss Marple always saw past the deceits and facades, even when the police were stumped. I still enjoy crime novels and picture myself catching the thieves and murderers next to the fictional detectives.
Though I’ve always loved the truth, my childhood sexual abuse meant most of my life was based on lies and secrets. Instead of the criminals hiding the truth, it was my own mind concealing it. For years, I repressed the memory of my abuse. I imagined myself an eagle-eye detective, yet the truth remained hidden to me.
My recovery from sexual abuse has been the discovery of truth. Telling the truth about my past was the first step in healing. Every step came by overturning the lies the abuse taught me. Each painful feeling led me to a clue; each haunting memory was a puzzle piece that led me to the truth. The healing process reminds me of a murder mystery, except that my goal wasn’t to find out “Whodunit?” Rather, “Who am I?” My restoration has been the process of uncovering my distorted image to find my true, genuine self. I love truth.
I live in Scottsdale, Arizona with my husband, Don. We share two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren. My passion is writing and speaking about becoming empowered after abuse. When I’m not working, I love playing dress-up with my grandkids, walks with my husband, and quiet corners in my home where I enjoy scented candles while I read.
Are you wondering where to start? Check out our page, Where Do I Start?