April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As a ten-year survivor of sexual assault, I praise God for restoration, true relationship with Him and health; mentally, emotionally and physically. I thank God that I am no longer a victim but a victor. I am taking back everything the devil stole from me. I am not the woman I was back in 2000. I am not afraid, angry or fearful. I am strong, confident and at peace. To God be ALL the glory.
As a survivor, I feel strongly about educating and empowering those around me regarding this issue. I want to encourage people to be more aware, safe and responsible. Often time’s violence and victimization are not discussed due to people feeling ashamed and embarrassed. While the topic of sexual assault is uncomfortable, it must be discussed so that the growing epidemic can be stopped.
People need to know how to prevent sexual violence and what to do if they or someone they love has been victimized. I was ignorant about sexual assault until it happened to me on my college campus. I didn’t tell anyone, except one friend. I didn’t know what to do, so for two years I did nothing. I kept going to my classes and attempted to live life as normal. Needless to say, I was struggling. Life was not the same, I was not the same.
Two years after the assault, I confided in my GPhiG campus minister because I was tired of the emotional rollercoaster. The minister, an awesome woman of God that I remain in contact with, loved on me and encouraged me to seek counseling. My counselor was understanding and compassionate and she encouraged me to tell my parents. My parents were then and still are amazing, very supportive and understanding. Rededicating my life to Christ in 2002, telling those that loved me about the assault and seeking counseling, were three of the best decisions I have ever made.
I don’t want anyone else to have to suffer in silence. I want people to know that they are not alone and there is help out there. I want people to know that God is bigger than sexual assault; He loves them and wants to see them free. He wants to give you beauty for ashes.
Here is a poem that I wrote on 2/20/03. My counselor encouraged me to submit it into the Creative Expressions Exhibit, an art exhibit for sexual assault survivors and it was selected! It was displayed with many others at the Detroit Public Library-Main Branch for a few weeks. There was a seminar held the day the exhibit was featured. My parents and a few friends came to support me. We went to dinner afterwards. That was a great night!
Today the sun is shining
And I am feeling good
I have no fears or worries
Though the world may think that I should
I have control over my emotions
And no longer am I hiding out
I am now facing my fears
And I know so much more now
What life is all about
And even when the bad days come
I know now what to do
No longer do I get depressed
Because that would give the control right back to you
You may have raped me
But you didn’t kill my soul
I am stronger now
And the days of being a victim
Are now long gone and old
I am being healed more each day
God is my comforter and He is taking the pain away
My life is good and I am truly blessed
I don’t fear or hate you, like you may have guessed
I pray that you have stopped hurting women
And have turned from your wicked ways
But where you go or what you do
I am no longer fazed
Today the sun is shining and great is how I feel
Everyday is not always easy
But daily I am being healed
Because I am a survivor!!
Word of Faith International Christian Center
Bishop Keith A. Butler, Pastor
Pastor Andre Butler, Co-Pastor
20000 W. Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075
24-Hour Prayer: 1.800.541.PRAY (7729)
Perspectives of Troy (Christian Counseling)
888 W. Big Beaver Ste. 1450 (Northeast corner of Crooks and Big Beaver, City Center Building)
Troy, MI 48084
4151 17 Mile Rd. Ste. D (E. of Ryan on North side of 17 mile)
Sterling Heights, MI 48310
Our mission is to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault across Oakland County and the surrounding communities through treatment and prevention services.
Local Crisis and Support Line: (248) 334.1274
Toll-free Crisis and Support Line: (877) 922-1274
TTY Line: (248) 334-1290
Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE
Here is a list of state resources listed on RAINN’s website