Sadly, we live in a world where too often children and adults are victimized physically, emotionally or sexually. Victims of such crimes are left feeling confused, hopeless, emotionally, and often physically scarred and alone. They feel immersed in darkness, suffocating in despair. But, by grasping onto light — and God — they can not only be healed, but find hope and happiness again.
Abuse takes on many forms and is no respecter of persons or age
Physical, emotional and sexual abuse happens to males and females, young and old. Abusers are often people we know — family members, friends or teachers. Abuse can occur in the home, school or other places — private or public. It is more common than most of us would like to think. *If you or someone you know is being abused, seek help from law enforcement or have someone you trust help you to do so. Never discount a call for help or warning signs that someone may be being abused.
Understand that the abuse is NOT your fault
Frequently, victims of abuse are left feeling guilty, unclean or worthless. It is imperative that people who have been abused know they are not at fault. They do not deserve abuse. They have not sinned because they have been abused. Just because you have been victimized does not mean you are no longer of worth.
There is life after abuse, but be patient with yourself and realize healing takes time
Don’t become frustrated with setbacks that may occur during the healing process. Sometimes old feelings resurface sending you into a tailspin of painful memories. Recognizing and dealing with these feelings is an important part of healing. Keep trying to progress forward, and you will get there in time. As religious leader Dieter F. Uchtdorf explains, “The darkness may not dissipate all at once, but as surely as night always gives way to dawn, the light will come.”
Seek professional help
The road to recovery and healing is not to be traveled alone. If you or someone you know has been abused, professional help may be necessary. Religious leaders, psychologists, other therapists or counselors can be helpful — even crucial — to begin the healing process. Such people have special training to help people overcome an abusive past.
Rely on God
God will help and sustain you. He can give you the strength and comfort you need to make it through the darkness. Uchtdorf recently stated, “There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn.”
Pray to God
Explain your feelings and struggles you are having. Ask for help. Ask for support and that your heart may be open to receiving his light. He will help you overcome the darkness. When praying, ask for his help to see your own worth — to see what he sees. It takes faith, but if you ask him, he will help you find his light.
Light overcomes darkness
Strive to focus on good. Seek out positive experiences. Find what brings you happiness and use it to help you overcome the darkness of your past. From the Bible, John 8:12 implores, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
There is hope in Christ. Through him, you can overcome all trials and bask in his light. You can find peace and happiness and healing. Do not dwell in darkness, but strive to find the light. Healing takes time, but you can be sustained through your faith in Christ. Do not give up on yourself. Christ will never give up on you.
National Child Abuse Hotline — 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
National Domestic Violence Hotline — 1−800−799−SAFE (7233)
National Sexual Assault Hotline — 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)