I feel like I’ve edited this over a hundred times and quite frankly, I probably have. I wanted to be sure I said exactly what I was being led to say. *deep breath* If I was writing this just 2 years ago, my response would’ve been like most of the population. I would be outraged, upset, and ready to go knock on the door of the judge and the Turners. Did I feel this at first? ABSOLUTELY! I’m human and a female, which is why we need God to help us. Once it all sunk in and the words started flowing from my pen…. Well, you’ll see. Now, do I believe this case is about privilege, rape culture, and race? I believe they all have their fair share and that CAN’T be ignored. HOWEVER, they are not the root of the issue. We all know when we want to diagnose a problem, we start at the root. Right? The root of the issue starts with the heart…. his heart, her heart, the heart of the judge, the hearts of the families, and so many more. It’s about the broken people (on both sides) and the result of broken families and the now future potential broken families. We aren’t born hating or “privileged.” We’re taught these things; hence, the father’s condoning of this “20 minutes of action.” Ask yourself… Who taught him that? Now, you’re beginning to see the bigger picture.
This is the after effect of generational teachings but the thing is we should be this outraged with these issues everyday. Every 10 seconds a child is abused. Where are the calls for change over that?! 1 in 4 women will be a victim of abuse in their lifetime. I don’t see a march being organized. 21% of adults read below a 5th grade level and 20% of high school graduates can’t read at all. Is someone going to create a hashtag for this? I mean, you know you’re just giving the media what they want right? This 2 minutes of social media outrage and “activism” has to stop. We have to actually begin to make change! We’ve seen this before and we’ll see it again but the GOOD deeds in this situation got brushed over. Just think if all the time we’ve spent chastising and complaining about his sentencing, we could’ve spent actually recognizing those men who did the right thing. This could’ve been used as a positive reflection on men as well to step up and do the right thing! Before you go saying,” What if it was you? You’d want him to rot in jail.” You’re wrong. I’d want him to seriously seek help and find Jesus because only then will he really be “awake.” Actually, that IS what I want for them and I pray it has happened. So what am I saying?
As I sat reading her statement, tears poured down my face. I quickly scurried away from my desk thinking, “Do I really feel this bad for her? I feel like it’s me.” I was right. At that moment, she was me and I was her. Her words sunk into my heart because as one of her rescuers said, “That was the best way to describe an indescribable situation like that.” Right there, in my job’s restroom, God gave me a revelation about myself that quite frankly, came JUST at the right time (per His usual). See, I was also Emily Doe minus the 2 heroes on bicycles, a trial/conviction, and overall just dealing with the situation. People always ask, “What was the pivotal moment that made you give your life back to Christ?” My response has always been, “I don’t remember driving home that night so I know He drove me.” NOT that the last thing I vividly remember was being at the bar. NOT that I woke up naked, in pain and rushed to get a morning after pill with years of tests to follow. Not any of that. Why? Because like her, I didn’t remember. Actually, I still don’t remember and I believe that’s God having mercy on me. I never called it anything because well, I didn’t know what it was. So it was then, I began victim blaming.
This wasn’t the first instance of victim blaming for me either, as I thought. In that restroom, He took me right on back to that teen club at 13 that I will ALWAYS vividly remember. I was reminded of how helpless, ashamed, and angry I felt but how “fine” I acted when no one took me seriously. I mean, at least this time I may have actually consented, right? He showed me that even when I speak about the assault, I say things like, “I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been,” which is true. I say, “I was out trying to be grown,” which is also true. What’s also true is like Emily, I take FULL responsibility for being somewhere I shouldn’t have been at 13 and drinking beyond consciousness at 22. Those are the things I could’ve controlled. I NO LONGER take responsibility for the decisions THEY made and what THEY did to me. You shouldn’t either! You take your portion, work through forgiving yourself and you go on. See, it was easy for me to be a survivor of domestic violence, teen violence, child abuse and even the foster care system. These weren’t a result of my choices. The miscarriage and attempted suicide were tougher but manageable. However, these 2 led to heavy victim blaming from me, which caused me to accept it from others. So ,”survivor” didn’t exactly fit how I felt about myself in these situations. I’m constantly saying, “Don’t be a victim! Turn your pain into purpose!” I didn’t even realize some of my pain ran this deep but I have a better understanding now of how God is going to use it for His glory.
Last Sunday, my pastor asked me to come to the front. At first, I thought, “Why? What I do?” In short (because of what I’m allowed to share), he reminded me that my purpose is bigger than my mind can fathom. I can’t be afraid and I can’t let my past hold me back. What I THOUGHT it meant then and what it REALLY means now just reminds me of God’s love for me. I’ve always had the fear of not being good enough or “feeling myself” and losing sight of the purpose in the process. This week, He showed me I also HAD a deep fear of being blamed as the cause to my own pain as I share my story, which is why I haven’t shared pieces of it such as this. He showed me this has actually kept me from allowing someone to care for/love me completely. I’ve felt like used goods, which is why I used to constantly question why He chooses to use me. Well, that’s OVER. Just like everything else in my past, God has washed me (AND YOU) clean of even those situations where we made poor choices. He’s purging me of those deeply rooted things I can’t see while healing me inside and out of the shame and guilt I’ve carried so long. I’m allowing this process knowing I will come forth as gold… Complete, healed, and truly prepared to receive the love He has placed in others’ hearts for me. Whether it’s abuse (verbal or physical), assault, molestation, rape, neglect, and the list goes on, Emily is someone you know (male or female), fighting everyday to overcome a past the enemy is trying to use to deter our future. Those next to you at work, in class, and even at home. As we all know, hurt people hurt people. The ONLY ONE who can truly change this is Jesus Christ. I didn’t even think this situation bothered me because, like most people, I programmed my mind to take it out… Until He MADE me deal with it. It was the best part of my week!
In her victim statement, she wrote, “I have to relearn that I am not fragile. I am capable. I am wholesome, not just livid and weak.” I agree with these but I say, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). I say, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). More importantly, I say, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (Psalms 139:14). My soul knows VERY WELL! I say again, Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY. It’s only through Him you can love your enemies. It’s only through Him you can forgive an apology you never received. It’s only through Him voids can be filled and you can be made whole. It’s only through Him you can forgive yourself for whatever it is you’ve said/done. THEN, you can use your life to help someone else. Am I saying it’s easy? HECK NO! Am I saying it’s going to happen overnight? Well, it’s been over a decade for me so I can ASSURE you, I’m not saying that. I just don’t want others to have a “pivotal moment” to come to Christ because this means they’ve already sacrificed instead of being obedient, whether they be the “perpetrator” or “victim.”
It’s MUCH bigger than me because I serve the ONLY ONE bigger than anything or anyone on this Earth. I don’t stand with a microphone or write as a perfect being trying to tell you right from wrong or how to feel. I stand and write as a broken, sinful, imperfect soul restored by God to help bring others to the light from darkness. My heart breaks for those hurting and those causing the hurt because they’re clearly hurting too. So, to my Emilys… Keep your head held high. You take hold of your responsibility (specific to this situation), NOT the attacker’s, and you use it to empower other women. I pray God heals those open wounds and anger/bitterness in your heart. More importantly, I pray He shows you your value in Him. To all my Brocks…. I pray God has mercy has on your soul. I pray He pierces your heart and brings you to a place of repentance. I pray this allows you to THEN raise a generation of men to respect, honor, and love us as Christ loves the church. I’ve been mistreated and I’ve mistreated others. One thing is for sure though. God REALLY doesn’t make mistakes and He uses EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.