A counselor friend once said to me, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Well, today I want to share that I am a sexual abuse survivor as was my sister, my daughter, some of my cousins and probably many other members of our extended family. We came from a long line of secret-keepers. After all, no one wants to hear stories like ours, but sharing promotes healing and helps to protect future generations. I think it’s also important for me to share that I have survived sexual and spiritual abuse from pastoral leaders as well.
My name is Lynn, and my pen name is Joy. I am the author of RestoredDestiny.com. I have decided to reveal my identity now because putting a face with a name may help others to relate to my story better as they explore aspects of their own.
Fifteen years ago, sexual abuse clearly came into focus in my life when my daughter confessed to me that a relative had abused her. Shortly afterwards, I began to realize that flashbacks I had been having for quite some time prior to that, revealed a dark reality from my own childhood as well. My daughter and I both received counseling, and I also received healing prayer ministry. In 2018, I wrote a Bible study, entitled Tamar’s Hope, and began writing a blog, RestoredDestiny.com, under a pen name. I initially chose to use a pen name because I wanted my writing to focus on the personal, long-term effects of sexual abuse rather than fostering speculation about the perpetrators’ identities among those who knew me or exposing innocent family members to public scrutiny. Today I feel greater freedom to share using my given name since most of the perpetrators have died.
According to Rainn (the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization), 93 percent of childhood sexual abuse survivors are abused by someone they know, and 34 percent of abusers are family members. Laws vary from state to state regarding what constitutes crimes of incest, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape. Regardless of the type or degree, unwanted sexual contact can have a lasting effect on a survivor, and I am living proof of this unfortunate reality.
I know how difficult the truth can be to process and how lonely the journey of discovery and healing can be. There is tremendous shame and social stigma attached to sexual abuse, yet survivors need to know they are not alone or different from everyone around them. If I can help just one person understand this by sharing my story and identity, it is worth it. I want other survivors to know I care and can empathize with their pain. I desire to listen well to individuals, pray for their needs, and offer encouragement. I am also available to speak to groups or to lead Bible studies, like Tamar’s Hope, that address issues related to sexual and/or spiritual abuse.
I can be reached through my blog’s contact page. If you know people who could benefit from reading my blog posts, talking with me, or attending peer support groups in the future, please share RestoredDestiny.com with them.
You can receive notices of future posts by entering your email address on the blog’s “FOLLOW-BLOG-VIA-EMAIL” form that is found either on the righthand side or on the bottom of each page. I will also be very grateful if you will share my posts on social media.
I don’t want others to feel they must walk this path alone. Although my life has been tragically impacted by sexual and spiritual abuse, God is graciously restoring my destiny. I invite you to journey with me to a place of hope and healing.