May 19, 2014

Sexual Assault on College Campuses…Joining the Conversation

****Be sure to read to the end for today’s giveaway and the winner of last week’s giveaway, a copy of Suzie Eller’s The Mended Heart.****

Sharing my story..

It’s Saturday morning…the Saturday after my college graduation. I can’t believe four years have come and gone. Four of the best years of my life. I pull up the covers for a few more moments of sleeping bliss. Finally, I slide out of bed, throw on some shorts, and run out the door to meet friends for an afternoon of roasting in the Texas sun.

My last Saturday with my best girlfriends.  Treasured memories fill my mind…formals, weekend trips, date nights, spring breaks, late nights studying…so much fun and laughter. How could it be over?

Hours later, I rush back into my apartment, golden brown, smelling like a perfect blend of coconut and the the great outdoors. I head upstairs to shower, thoughts flitting from outfit to shoes to jewelry. What will I wear tonight?

As I hit the top step, I see him. A masked man wielding a large hunting knife. Behind the mask, two cold eyes staring into mine. Who are you? Why are you here? Surely this can’t be real.

The cold blade on my neck jolts me back to reality. The intruder shoves me into my room. He commits vile and horrific acts against me. When he finishes, he leans in close and whispers,  “I know where you live. If you tell anyone, I will return, and I will kill you.” I watch him walk out the door and turn toward the stairs.

I listen intently. Is he gone? Is he waiting downstairs? I muster every ounce of courage, step gingerly out of my bed, grab my crumpled  towel, wrap it around my naked body, and creep down the stairs. Finally, I reach the front door, swing it open and run.

At age 21. Every dream shattered. Every hope dashed. I feel abandoned by God and so very alone.

Not a single soul understood the depths of my pain. I locked myself in a prison of fear. At times, living seems too much to bear. No one knew…my loneliness…my helplessness…my hopelessness.

Thankfully, this is not the end of my story. But my journey to get where I am today was long and hard. That day in June 1986, I had no idea where to turn or what to do. I was thousands of miles from home. School was out. There was not an instruction book for what to do after your raped.

Joining the Conversation…

Part of the reason I write this post is to say how grateful I am for the conversation happening nationally about sexual assault on college campuses…both stranger rape and date rape. Sadly, the statistics have not changed since my attack over 25 years ago. One in five women on college campuses are raped. We don’t report our attacks because someone has stepped into our world and cracked our hearts wide open. We have been violated in a most intimate and personal way. The words don’t come easily: I’ve been raped. We believe our attacker’s threats. We fear the administration, the police, our peers will not believe us. We fear the unknown in the investigative and prosecutorial process.

I celebrate our federal government! I’m so thankful for the new federal guidelines to provide victims with a road map on what steps to take after they’ve been raped…both personally and with regard to their institutions. And to provide those institutions with practical instructions on how to identify, prevent and respond to sexual assaults involving their students.

I’m grateful for this conversation. I’m grateful for the proactive stance our government is taking to protect young women. Victims need a voice. We need an advocate.

Finding Hope…

But I also want to be a voice of hope in the midst of this conversation. God makes an amazing promises in His Word.

James 1:2-4 says,

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Romans 8:28 says,

“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.”

After my attack in 1987, fear held me captive for nearly 15 years. I fed it, nurtured it, and allowed it to infiltrate every part of my being. Anger and bitterness consumed my heart. I held daily pity parties for myself. Until one day, desperation led me to my Bible. It was in the pages of God’s Word that God healed my gaping wounds. He restored my soul. He freed me from my fear. He gave me NEW LIFE. He did as He promised…He took my shattered heart and, piece by piece, created something good and beautiful.

My vicious assault now serves as a backdrop for a ministry. What I once thought destroyed my life now gives it great purpose. You are reading these words today because God now uses my transformed life as a vessel to draw others to His love, His grace, His hope, and His healing.

Never forget, we are created for God’s purposes alone. We live in a world where bad people will make bad choices that hurt good people. But God promises that the trials and sufferings that enter into our lives, when surrendered to Him, will be redeemed to bring about our good, His glory and point others to Him!

I share my story of hope and healing in my first book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story.

Hidden_Joy_Cover_Graphic (1)

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a sexual assault, please leave her first name in the comment section today, and I promise to pray for her. I will choose two comments to win a copy of Hidden Joy. To purchase a copy from Proverbs 31 Ministries, click here. If you order before Friday, we’ll send you a signed copy. And for a free sample chapter, click here.

Come back Friday for the winners and for a list of tips on how to keep yourself safe and steps on what to do if you are the victim of a sexual assault…great to share with young women headed off to internships in new cities or off to college in the fall.

****The winner of Suzie Eller’s book, The Mended Heart is  Brittany who posted on May 9 at 2:18 pm. Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your address so Suzie can send you your book. ****

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Carol B says:

    Wendy, I so connect with you and it was a blessing to me to be able to meet you last year at She Speaks. You give me such encouragement. Please pray for me. I feel the Lord has called me to a women’s speaking ministry and I’m not sure how to get started. The one thing I do know is that He continues to bring women like you into my path to help in my healing and I want to be able to do that for others. You see, I was sexually abused as a child trying to deal with that alone as a child is not easy as many reading this fully understands. Needless to say I became very self protective. But when I was in college, I was raped and had no clue how to deal with what had happened. So, I went on like nothing had happened other than trying to drink it away. Needless to say that didn’t help. I started to think maybe abuse was all I was put on this earth for. I spent many years away from the Lord trying to fix these things myself but finally realized that He is the only one that can help me and bring healing to the many broke places in my life.
    I have been wanting to read Hidden Joy for a couple of years but haven’t got it yet. Thank you for all that you do and may God bless you!

    • Carol, thank you for sharing your story with us today. I pray you now know that you have been put here for SO MUCH MORE than abusing. Though you have had a hard journey, the Lord is ready to continue your journey to a beautiful new place of healing. I love that you even now feel a call on your life to take the evil that has been perpetrated on you and use it for good. God will honor that. I pray you will sense His direction as you seek next steps. And I pray that if He still has healing to complete in you, His Spirit will lead you to that place of healing that will allow you to minister to others.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  2. So grateful for your voice in this conversation Wendy…the government and other authorities can provide steps that are helpful, but you are pointing women to the ultimate source of healing. Praying many are led here today!!

    I have been thinking about your story…recently a young girl from a neighboring high school was raped in the boys locker room. It is still under investigation, but has many talking. I don’t even know the young gals name, but God does and we’re praying for her. Would love for God to cross our paths so I could share “Hidden Joy” with her.

    I am so encouraged by the reminder your story provides – God can and does work all together for His good!! Thank you for obeying, sharing and giving Him glory!

    • Thank you, Jill. God is our ultimate healer!!! I join you in praying for God to open doors for this young woman to meet God the Healer in her healing journey.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  3. Lynne Koch says:

    Wendy,

    I read your book in a bible study. While I have not experienced what you did, I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone. Your book helped me to walk closer to God. Thank you so much for your willingness to follow God’s lead.

    If anyone needs encouragement, hope, healing. PLEASE read this book.

    Blessings on you Wendy,

    • Thank you, Lynne, for stopping by to share how God used the story He has given me and the lessons He has taught me to encourage you in your walk with Him. It means more than you will know…it shows God answering the many prayers I prayed as I wrote Hidden Joy!

      And thanks for the recommendation to your friends and mine! Best compliment an author can receive. :)

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  4. Barb

  5. AKA Susan Smith says:

    Me…

  6. Although I wasn’t raped on a college campus, I was sexually assaulted and raped by a neighbor and also a high school teacher. I am currently suffering from ptsd as I kept it hidden and let it affect my life for 30 years. Now I am beginning the healing process but it is so slow. I wonder how God will use what happened for good but I guess He can.

    • Heidi, YES! YES! God not only can and is able….but also it is His PROMISE!! As you begin this healing process and surrender it to Him, He will continue the work He has done and do great things. He is a faithful God, true to His promises and His character. It is a long process. But never forget, though we have been wounded and hurt by the horrific actions of others, those people have NEVER touched the place in us indwelled by God. It remains pure and so we are pure. He cleanses us from all that has been done to us and makes all things new!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  7. I was sexually assaulted by a neighbor when I was a little girl. I went to counseling for awhile and even though I talked about it I’m not sure that I’ve ever really dealt with it.

    • Kat, I encourage you to begin a new journey of healing with regard to this. Take it to the Lord and ask Him to begin a spiritual healing process. Below is a link to the online study I did with my book, Hidden Joy. If you don’t win the book and are able to purchase it (Amazon often has them cheaper), go through the study as you read the book. It follows my journey of healing and there are many truths and promises and tools in there to guide you on your journey to healing. GOD IS ABLE. He is a REDEEMER, RESTORER and REBUILDER!!

      http://wendyblight.com/bible-studies/hidden-joy-online-biblebook-study/

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  8. Susan Gruener says:

    Thank you Wendy, for persevering through to write this book for all the women that will need it.
    May God continue to strengthen you and bless you!

  9. Wendy,
    Your book “Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner” helped me out of a very dark place that was, and still is, a result of severe sexual abuse. You gave me comfort and hope in that book. “Living So That” took me beyond just hope to a reality that God loves me and can really use what I thought was a dark, dirty secret to shine His light to others. Thank you for having the courage to share!!!

    • Oh, Wendy, thank you for taking the time to share with me how God has used Hidden Joy and Living So That to speak into your difficult circumstances and your healing. I’m honored God has allowed me to be a small part of your journey. I pray the Lord will continue your journey of healing and redeem every incident to your good and His glory!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  10. I was grabbed from behind and molested by the neighborhood boys age the age of 9 on my way home from school. Then I was sexually assulted at 15 by my boyfriend. Again at 21 by my uncle. I thought now in my fifty’s I would have peace but last year having a car crash into my house and I in that room. I’m having a hard time finding peace in my home. But Jesus is amazing and as I keep my eyes on Him I can walk on water. You are a true blessing of strength to all you reach out to.

    • Tracy, thank you for your kind words and for sharing a bit of your story. The Lord has allowed much in your life, but He is BIG enough to redeem it all. I’m thankful you know Him and continue to keep your eyes on Jesus..the Author and Perfecter of your Faith. I pray He continues to meet you as you come to Him for wholeness and healing in very real and personal ways. I pray against a spirit of fear and that Christ will help you take every though captive to the obedience of Christ.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  11. Someone very near and dear to me was sexually assaulted when I was very young. I’ve watched this strong, incredible woman struggle with the aftermath for so many years. When I was a teenager, I was molested by a youth leader in my youth group. To make matters worse, members from my church, including the pastor of our congregation lied on the stand in court (after meeting with my mother and myself, and confessing that this man admitted to him what he had done to me). Afterwards, the whole youth group and church, minus one or two close friends accused me of lying and turned their backs on me. I, in turn walked away from God and the church in my despair. It’s only been within the last 7-8 years that I’ve found my way back to Jesus. Your post touches the deepest places of my heart. I’ve not read this particular book of yours, but I did just up the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study over your book, “Living So That” . And I was most definitely changed by the truths revealed and explored. I love how your heart remains with those girls and women that have suffered through some sort of sexual abuse. I look forward to reading this book, and finally claiming the healing that I know God has for me.

    • Micah, I’m praising God that you have found your way back to Him. He promises that He goes before us and when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him!! I pray He continues to shine the Light of His Love into any hidden places of darkness in your heart and that He will restore to you the JOY of your salvation in all its fullness!! God is the ultimate healer and He is faithful!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  12. My Mom is who I would ask you to pray for. Back in 1993, someone broke into her home and raped her. I now live in that house because I refused to let him run me out of my childhood home. He was caught and wrote letters to her and sent cards to her even though she asked the state that he NOT contact her. In those letters, he has threatened me and my family. I let the parole board know that every time he comes up, which has been every year for the past three years. Hopefully, he won’t be released as she was one of five women he attacked. (he was released four years ago but attacked two women who live just down the road from me, so he was sent back to jail.) She seems to have battled several things over the years and I just wonder how much more she can take. Starting with the death of my father, then the rape, then a severe car accident (it should have killed her but she was saved by the grace of God!), and now cancer. I don’t know how much more she can take, especially if he does get out of jail again while she’s battling cancer.

    • Praying now for your mother…for God to meet her in these hard places and make Himself known to her. Praying against a spirit of fear and for her to remember that is NOT from God but from the evil one. God gives a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. Praying she knows and believes these truths today!! So thankful she has you to walk alongside her and pray for her.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  13. Loretta Pearson says:

    Me…I was raped as a child and again as a teen.
    I’m so grateful for your book…what a blessing your book is. Years of Christian counseling and prayers, and bible reading have brought much healing, along with resources like your book.
    Thanks

    • Hallelujah!! Praising God for what He has done in your life to heal the evil perpetrated upon you!! And I’m so thankful Hidden Joy played a part in your healing journey….answered prayer for the prayers I prayed as I wrote each chapter. God’s Word is health to our body and healing to our bones…so thankful God used it to heal yours, sweet friend!!

      Blessings,

      wendy

  14. Tara, I am glad to read your share today. Thank you.

  15. Me.

    • Praying for you Mary…praying for God to meet you in your circumstances and make Himself known in very real ways. May you know that no matter what has happened His love is ENOUGH to heal it and His power ENOUGH to make all things new!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  16. My daughter Morgan

  17. Kristi, my dear sister,
    thank you so much for the prayer for her

  18. Susan Gruener says:

    I commented the other day, but just finished the free read chapter…and all I can say is wow! I knew it would be good, but it was the most powerful chapter of a book I have read in a long time! God will surely get all the Glory as each women reads this book and is set free!
    I have been a Christian for 48 years and I have already been encouraged by the truths of His Word in your book.I can’t wait to share it with every woman I know!
    May God surround you with His protection everywhere you go and bless you immeasureably!

    • Thank you, Susan. I am so thankful the Lord spoke to your heart through the free chapter. And thank you for wanting to share it!! Please know, too, how grateful I am for your precious prayers.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  19. Me

  20. I am struck by the emotions this post stirred up within. And even more struck by the comments of the women above. As I am beginning to write the chapter about the rapes in my life, I ask that you pray that my words lead women to the only healing/restoring/redeeming power available. Only God can undo the damage that was done – by the men and quite honestly, by myself.

    Praising God for your testimony Wendy. For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy – and I see here the need for more witnesses to the healing power only found in the Cross of Christ. God bless you my friend…and may He expand your borders of impact and your sphere of influence. There are many more out there who need to hear the power of your words.

  21. I would like to a copy of the book, I want to know how and what did you do to overcome?

    • Hi Sheala,

      Thank you for leaving a comment! The name of my book is Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. You can purchase it from our Proverbs 31 website, http://www.proverbs31.org. And you can also find it on Amazon and probably several Christian bookstore websites. God through His Word enabled me to overcome my horrific experience and now He uses it to bring hope and healing to so many. Sweet friend, HE IS ABLE!! I am living proof. I pray Hidden Joy will bless and equip you to be an overcomer!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

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  1. [...] sharing my journey of healing from sexual assault…from victim to victor! To read the post, click here. For a free chapter from my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, sharing my story, click [...]

  2. [...] share today her journey of healing from sexual assault…from victim to victor! To read the post, click here. For a free chapter from my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, sharing my story, click [...]

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