Note: This is a real experience shared from a survivor of abuse. Names and identifying information have been changed.
I was 33 years old, recently divorced, and decided to start dating again. On two separate occasions, I was raped by men I met through social activities. The realization of what happened to me was very difficult. It took a long time for me to acknowledge what had happened. My body went into shock and I felt numb; I went through periods where I felt completely used, worthless, and ashamed.
There were times I felt like giving up because trying was exhausting. I knew I couldn’t win this battle on my own. I sought help from a professional counselor, and she helped and guided me through the grieving process.
I also counseled with my bishop on a regular basis. Together, they guided and encouraged me to keep going, and they encouraged me to build my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I knew in the moments I fell to my knees pleading for help that Heavenly Father was refining me, giving me strength, little by little, to overcome this. Hope and healing are possible. I learned a lot about myself, my Father in Heaven, and my Savior throughout this journey.
I’ve learned to trust in Heavenly Father. He knows what is best. I’ve learned when I need help, advice, or direction to fall on my knees.
I’ve learned who my friends are, and I’ve learned what a true friend is. I’ve also learned how to set boundaries.
I’ve learned more love, compassion, and patience.
I’ve learned to be kinder to myself, to not blame myself, especially when something is not my fault. I’ve learned not to judge or be as hard on myself. I’m learning to love myself more as each day goes on.
I’m thankful for the quiet courage that has helped me become who I am. I’m still growing and learning day by day, but I’m very grateful for the path I’m on and for all that I’ve conquered.
This may have been a quiet journey—not many know what I’ve been through—but I think that often the quietest acts of courage can be the strongest ones.
I understand the healing power that Christ is able to extend because of His Atonement. I understand a little more how He endured my pain and agony in the garden and on the cross. I believe in the power of angels and the protection they provide. I know that I was not alone during this journey, and it has strengthened my testimony to know God truly is involved in every aspect of our lives. He doesn’t merely check in every once in a while; He will always invest in us, and He watches over us.
My testimony has grown stronger. I learned how real the spirit world is. I knew I was battling the adversary on a daily basis. At times I imagined myself putting on spiritual armor; this helped to give me strength. I knew I had to spiritually protect myself from the heaviness and fog I had to walk through to acknowledge and accept my experiences. My pain was so deep and real that it actually made my heart and whole body ache. At times, it felt as if my body was ill.
However, this experience has also brought forth an inner strength—a strength I never knew was there. A strength that is kind, encouraging, and uplifting. A strength that tells me I can do hard things. A strength I know will push me through difficult and challenging times. A strength that knows me more than I know myself. I felt a rekindling with my spirit, my soul, my eternal being who once lived with Heavenly Father, my spirit who knows what I am capable of.
Our souls are worth so much more than we can ever imagine! As we rely on the help and power of Jesus Christ, we can ultimately conquer, overcome, triumph and succeed! We are sons and daughters of a Heavenly King, and that is something to rejoice over! We are made for grand and beautiful things—things we cannot imagine or feel. Let us rejoice in who we are; we are beautiful and magnificent in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. We are of so much worth! I believe our souls yearn to be home with our Heavenly Father and to be in His presence once again. I give Him my praises, my Father, my King.
If you or someone you know has been abused, seek help immediately from civil authorities, child protective services, or adult protective services. You may also seek help from a victim advocate or counseling or medical professional. These services can help protect you and prevent further abuse. See the “In Crisis” page for more information.