I can honestly say that I had never intended for this to come out so soon in starting my blog. But this post came pouring out of me today, and I just have to trust that there is a girl out there tonight who needs to read this. Please read the following with a gentle spirit.
This post is for that young girl, (the one in the past and the one in the present), who needs to know and be reminded of this:
“It is not your fault.”
It is not your fault that you showed up to their house that night. After all, it was your babysitting job. You were in your second year of college and this was a great way to earn some extra money.
It is not your fault that you grew to love those two kids and learned to trust the husband. After all, he was a regular church attender, was on the church council, had a respectable job, and was only a year younger than your own father. After a year of babysitting, they started to feel like a second family.
It is not your fault that the wife was constantly gone on business trips and after all the time you spent at their house, you barely got to know her.
It is not your fault that when you tucked those sweet kids into bed that night, a boy and a girl, both in their elementary years, gave them each a kiss and told them that you were so excited to see them again the next night – that this was actually the last time you would ever see them again.
It is not your fault because you didn’t know what was going to happen just a short while later as soon as they fell asleep.
It is not your fault that as you sat down at the island in the kitchen to do your homework, when the back door opened, it was the husband who came home much earlier than expected and gave you a look that you will never forget.
It is not your fault that at that exact moment, a knot formed in your stomach – that sick feeling that is hard to describe, and you knew something bad was about to happen and you were unable to run out of there. After all, his grip was much stronger than you were.
It is not your fault that he told you that you were pretty.
It is not your fault that you had on your favorite pair of jeans, the ones that fit you like a glove. Looking back, you were in the best physical shape of your life and it was during one of the few years of your life that you actually believed you looked good too.
It is not your fault what happened next. The sexual assault – you didn’t deserve that. You did nothing to promote it or even see it coming.
It is not your fault that despite being on the honor roll during your entire college years, you failed the test that you had to take the next morning. Your mind was unable to think clearly and you didn’t have the courage at that moment to let your instructor know what happened a few hours prior.
It is not your fault that the following day, when you woke up early to go to clinicals, you were assigned a patient with the same first name and age as the husband was. You didn’t do well that day.
It is not your fault that you were unable to focus clearly, and despite it being one of her very first times to watch you, the nursing instructor that followed you that day pulled you aside that evening and told you she didn’t think you had what it took to be a good nurse, and that it felt like another knife cutting into your already raw wound.
It is not your fault that you didn’t have the guts to tell her at that moment what you were going through, but that statement made its way deep into your mind and you knew you had to prove to yourself and to her that you did have what it took – more than you or she ever realized.
Even though it was not your fault, I need you to know that not everyone is going to be accepting of what happened. There will be people who will be of great support, who want to love you and help you out, to be there and listen. And it is good to hang onto one of the most special moments that happened on a long and quiet drive home after an awful experience at the police station – your little brother, though not saying a word, reached over and took your hand and held it…and it was all that you needed. But there will be others who will just not know how to handle it. They will completely ignore they ever heard of it. Give them grace. They just don’t understand. For those who are there for you, appreciate them and tell them how much it means to you. And please, above all else, go get counseling. It will be the best thing you can do.
I need you to know that you did good when that burst of courage came and you went to your old high school and spoke at chapel. You were brave and wore your favorite pair of jeans, the ones that fit you just right. It is OK that you were barely able to stand on your own two feet because your whole body was shaking. But when it was over, the young girl who came down off the bleachers, crying so hard she was unable to talk; you hugged her and told her, “It is not your fault”, and she needed to hear that. You were able to communicate a little bit of hope that day, and you found that a little bit of healing took place inside of you too.
I need you to know that you did good when after that day, you decided that you were not going to live as a victim, but as someone who went through a traumatic event and came out on the other side. You made up your mind that you were determined to let this help make you stronger, to turn the ugly into good.
Despite that, it is not your fault that you continued to struggle with guilt and shame. I need you to know that there will be many moments down the road that you will feel guilt and shame over things that you will do – where those feelings are actually deserved. Sweet girl, the guilt and shame you are feeling now because of what happened to you, that is not deserved. You can get rid of that.
It is not your fault that from that night on, having a positive body self-image is something that has never happened again. You try so hard to get past that, to love yourself, but it is such a daily battle. Dear girl, I need you to remember that you are pre-approved and loved anyways. You don’t need to try so hard anymore. The Holy Spirit can handle it and fight that daily battle for you, and help you see that you are beautiful just the way you are – hidden scars and all. And most of all, when your husband looks at you and tells you that he still finds you beautiful – you NEED to believe him. He needs you to believe him.
I need you to know that whether you like it or not, this is a part of your story. It is hard to write, but God allowed this to happen to you, for He is in control of everything – the good and the bad. I don’t understand it. I don’t. But I believe it. You need to remember that He too is without fault.
It is OK that you decided to keep this event to yourself since that day you spoke at chapel many years ago. It isn’t like you were trying to hide it, you just didn’t find desire to talk about it. But today, you feel another burst of courage, and you pray that God uses it for good.
Even all these years later, despite the courage you are feeling at this moment; you fear judgment from others and hope that those reading this will not look at you differently than before. But I guess that might just happen anyways, and you want them to know that just like little brother, they don’t need to say any words, but maybe a squeeze of the hand or a smile will be just fine.
There is no need or desire for pity. Just a need and desire to want to turn an ugly moment into something that can be beautiful – a way to help another girl know that “It is not her fault.”
Please share if you know of a girl in this present day that needs this message.
She needs to know that she is going to be OK.
I have faith that she will, because even though it was not my fault, I too turned out OK.
Linked at #FaithFilledFriday