Silence can be a powerful force. It can command our attention, more than crashing cymbals or blaring horns. It also changes us, by causing us to look deep within. Many times, it is in silence that we are able to reflect in a way we can in the middle of the din.
But there is a silence that is dangerous. When thoughts or experiences are silenced, or when we quiet the truth, damage ensues. The silence of hidden abuse can physically harm, and actually destroy us!
Psalm 32 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
This type of damage is especially common when we keep silent about sexual abuse.
Not speaking out about sexual abuse gives power to shame, silences our voice, and steals our God given identity. If victims feel like they can’t or shouldn’t talk about their experiences, their trauma deepens.
God create us with a unique identity He planned in advance for each one of us.
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart;
Our God-given identity is a banner over us. It tells us, and the world who we are. It’s how we see ourselves, and it is how we see the world around us.
Exodus 17: 8-14 Write this on a banner as something to be remembered.
Abuse replaces the identity God gave us, with one that defines us as less than. It says we do not matter, are not important, and have to voice. In that experience we begin to act on what we believe about ourselves.
James 1:23-24 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
But all hope is not lost! God can restore our identity. It is His promise to us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
But the process of renewal begins when we speaking out.
If you are a victim, you must break the silence, because it is in the silence the power lies. By telling someone what happened, you break the shadow and shame that comes when it is hidden away. Know that the Lord is safe and wants you whole and healed.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
If you know of abuse, there is no excuse for silence. When you do not, you allow it to continue unchecked.
Ephesians 5:11-12 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
2 Corinthians 8:21 For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
Victim or not, we must use our collective voices to break the silent prison created by sexual abuse. It is time to expose this evil perpetrated against the innocent.