It is hard to forget how it felt to be the apple of my mother’s eyes. It felt good to be normal, loved, and cared for as a little girl. My mom was the sweetest and had the most beautiful face I would want to see every day, especially when I remembered how she laid her eyes on me as if I was going to be her sweet and beautiful baby forever.
I am Debbie, one of the girls who were able to be freed from the sex trafficking syndicate. I was lucky enough to be placed in a shelter for abused girls and then years after, a foreigner couple sponsored me to get educated.
Autistic teenager starved to death by her mom, a baby girl found in the dryer, childbride, a little boy found dead, archbishop convicted of child sex abuse, missionary abusing orphans, school bus driver abused an eight-year-old girl. These are just some of the abuse cases that hit the headlines this 2018. Each day different cases of child abuse are reported.
“The statistics are shocking: In the United States, over five children are reported to die every day as a result of child abuse and neglect. Bad enough. But it is estimated that between 50 – 60 percent of child deaths due to abuse are not recorded honestly on their death certificates,” according to psychologist and marriage and family counselor Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
A woman is naturally born to be loving, passionate, nurturing, and self-sacrificing. She invests so much in the relationship that makes it easy for her to always be on the losing end.
I do not believe in the saying that love is blind. The more accurate way of saying it is, “Lovers are blind,” especially women. They can pretend to love doing things that they are not really in the mood of doing just because their partner likes it, and one of those things is sex.
The stigma of being raped is earth-shattering. I felt shame, fear, alone, and terrorized by my nightmares and unpleasant memories. “Common reactions to sexual assault include feeling like you can’t feel safe again, feeling ashamed, low esteem for self or others, feeling scared, and wondering if your life can ever be the same,” says licensed clinical psychologist Elizabeth Ramquist, Ph.D. But no matter how bad it felt, I know I have to move on from it. My parents often remind me that it was not my fault and was not of God’s doing, but rather an opportunity used by the devil.
“Sexual assault is any sexual act, which is unwelcome or unwanted. It is sometimes committed through use of manipulation, coercion, intimidation, threats, force, or a controlled substance. It can range from sexual battery, to threat of sexual assault, to rape,” according to Hung Tran, Psy.D.
My struggle lasted for almost before I was able to bounce back from the trauma of the rape, and the healing process was very painful. But with the support of my parents, counselor, and churchmates, I was able to move past it. I was able to restructure my life, rebuild a sense of self-control and self-worth, and have the courage to trust people again. I even see myself now as stronger and more resilient.
Opportunity Presents Itself
As I see myself ready to face the world again. I started to ask myself questions on how I survived it. I focused my attention on studying God’s words and looked for answers and the reasons why God allowed it to happen.
Yes, I was raped, but it was not the end of it. I’ve realized that there are other things that I should be thankful for, and one is that I’m still alive. Second, because of what happened to me, our family became closer, giving me the support I needed. Third, I found a purpose for my life after my rape, and it is God himself who opened doors of opportunity for my family and me. He gave us the strength to face it and talk about it not just within our family or the confines of our church but to other communities and organizations as well.
I thank God that our family became bounded by the same spiritual determination. It has become our core strength to spread awareness about rape and give hope for victims of rape and sexual trauma. God had made me an instrument to help teenagers like me who almost took their lives because of the stigma brought by sexual assault, abuse, and rape.
Rape Is Not The End
Your traumatic experience from rape may have closed a door, but it is your choice to allow it to open windows so
love may come in
belief in God will enable you to forgive
affirm what God has done and can do to your life
I cling on to God, for there’s no one else that I know of that can help me get to where I want to go but Him. He is the only way I know who can help me survive and let go of the pain. I look up only to Him so that I may forgive my assailant. If not for his love, goodness, and control over me after the rape, I could have been stuck in the darkest moments of my life forever.
All Things Work Together For Good
I believe that my God is a God who makes no mistakes. Tragedies happen for a reason. For me, it was the rape, while others have their own forms of miseries, which God allows to make His children stronger and become better people. These things are hard to comprehend when you’re in the middle of your misery, but after the suffering, it is then that you will realize that God’s yearning is for your betterment because He is the father who loves you most.
It is your faith that will allow you to see this, and only by God’s grace will you have a faith like this. I don’t know how God will use what happened to you, but I believe if you listen to Him with your heart you will find His purpose for you as I did.
After my rape, I just held on to Him. He was the one who led me to the victory I am enjoying now with my family. Also, “Healing from sexual assault and physical abuse is a slow psychological process that can be worked on gradually and released as a negative event that happened and is not what controls your life today,” says Dr. Taji Huang PhD.
Rape is the most painful experience that could happen to any woman. Rape victims are always the biggest losers. “According to a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 16,507 adults, nearly one in five women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape and one in 71 men reports having been raped or the target of attempted rape,” says Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP. Furthermore, she said, “Rape is a violent crime. It brutally assaults the victim’s core self and the physical, psychological, neurological, and cognitive systems that integrate functioning.”
If there’s one more thing that victims of sexual abuse are afraid of, it is them telling and recounting every painful event that they would never want to experience again. More often than not, these survivors live in silence as they have the thinking that they would be ‘judged’ by anyone who would hear their story. Trust becomes the most difficult issue to deal with when it comes to the victims’ therapy.
“Disclosure of an unspeakable event is beyond what many can do in the immediate aftermath of rape but that need not preclude reaching for help. Often it is in that step towards help that a small re-ordering of life begins,” says Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP.
“Rape is a violent crime. It brutally assaults the victim’s core self and the physical, psychological, neurological, and cognitive systems that integrate functioning,” says Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP.
Rape is any form of non-consensual sexual contact. Excellent examples are the use of force, pressure, drugs, threat, or influence to get an individual to do a sexual act unwillingly. Victims of rape can be anyone. It doesn’t discriminate age or gender. It happens in different situations such as a date, a party, walking alone in a dark place, or visiting an acquaintance or a friend. However, women are the most susceptible to becoming a target since society considers them a little weaker compared to men.
Most of us, at some point in our lives, have stalked someone or been stalked by someone. It could be someone we like or a famous person we fancy, and it is just typical to like someone, to somehow wish to be someone or be with someone. At some point, we have all experienced stalking.
What Is Stalking?
Stalking is a behavior where a person has an excessive and obsessive desire or attention towards a particular person. A stalker spends time and effort to know everything about the person he is stalking.
Is Stalking A Mental Illness?
“Believe it or not, many stalkers, due to mental health or personality disorders, are impaired and lack the ability to reason and engage appropriately with others. For the most part, individuals who would be labeled a stalker often suffer from a lack of social skills and finds communicating with others challenging,” according to Támara Hill, MS, LPC.
Most of the stalkers have severe mental issues like depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia, and other personality disorders. It is a little bit scary because some of these conditions act or perform stalking based on their reality which can be delusional.
When a person has schizophrenia, he loses his understanding of reality. He has his own belief which he believes to be the truth. People with schizophrenia are most likely to develop a particular desire and obsession towards someone. It can be in his reality that the person he is stalking feels the same way.
Signs You Are Stalking:
Nowadays, almost all of us can have access to the internet, and it is easy to learn about someone just by searching them up on social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Sometimes, we are unaware that we are already stalking someone by always checking on their status and updates on social media.
“I’m not a stalker.” It is what you tell yourself when you notice your obsessive behavior towards someone. You are immediately in defense and denial.
You create duplicate accounts on social media just to cyberstalk.
You befriend his family and friends. Somehow, you feel a certain level of closeness to that person when you talk to someone close to him like his best friend even though deep inside you find him annoying.
You pay close attention to his activities and whereabouts in the hope of seeing and interacting with him in person.
You make an effort to know his phone number and would try and ring him once in a while. You call him just to hear his voice without really talking to him.
Signs You Are Being Stalked:
Someone is lurking around wherever you go.
Someone watches you but doesn’t talk to you.
Someone asks about you repeatedly.
Someone keeps on ringing your phone, but when you answer it, nobody speaks.
Someone always likes your posts on social media, sometimes even comments even though you are not close.
When you feel and think someone gives creepy attention and obsession to you, trust your instinct because it is most likely the case.
“The data suggest a substantial proportion of adolescents are victims of stalking and are likewise at risk for a number of deleterious health outcomes,” according to Dennis E. Reidy, Ph.D. “As such, this population merits further attention by prevention researchers and practitioners.” He speaks about a study he has done where teenagers are more likely to be stalked.
Rising Stars Who Were Tragically Killed By Stalkers:
Christina Grimme was only 22 when she was shot dead by his stalker fan Kevin James Loibl, 27. He was stalking her long before the night he decided to end the life of the singer, Youtuber, and The Voice finalist. Investigations revealed that the killer was at the back of the crowd watching Grimme at her concert in Florida. Little did everyone know that he was already planning on making that concert her last one. He immediately shot himself right after killing Grimme.
Rebecca Schaeffer was a 21-year old Hollywood movie star at that time when she was gunned down by an obsessed fan, Robert John Bardo. Reports showed that he stalked Schaeffer for three years before finally succeeding in his evil plan of putting her down in her Los Angeles home. Her tragic death resulted in passing a law prohibiting employees to reveal addresses of celebrities prone to these situations.
There were many other celebrities killed by fans who were close to them that’s why nobody thought that they would suffer such fate. They were most likely stalking, waiting for the right moment to do their evil act. Whether the stalker intends to murder his stalkee, any action that poses a threat to that person’s well-being, whether emotional or physical, it is crucial that the person being stalked act accordingly or tell the authorities about it. It can be paranoia, or maybe not. But there’s no harm in taking precautions especially when our life is involved.
“Please don’t try to handle this on your own. You’ve never been in a situation like this before so, of course, you don’t know what to do. But the police and crisis teams do have experience to draw on. Talk to people who can offer you the protection and practical help you need. Do consider staying somewhere safe while you work this situation through,” says Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker.
Having studied in a Christian school, we were taught that virtue and values are most important. We were trained to be ladylike in speech and demeanor. It was ingrained in us at a very young age that discipline, respect, and love for others should be our priority for us to start building a future full of positivity.
I grew up protected, loved, and cherished by everyone around me. Who will ever think that such a tragedy will happen to me?
It was just like any ordinary Friday, and since there was no school the next day we were allowed to have some fun. My parents are often home late during Fridays, so it was just me, my siblings, and my uncle who were home. I, together with my siblings and some friends, decided to go out for some burgers and fries. As it was getting dark, we headed back home after a few chats.
Upon entering the gate to our house, maybe the last one who got in forgot to lock it, and we didn’t notice that some guys whom we didn’t know we’re able to get in.
My siblings went to their rooms while I headed to my parents’ room to have a quick shower there. I was already drying up when I heard a loud stump approaching the bathroom. I thought it was just one of my siblings, but to my surprise, it was a big man I’ve never seen before. He was tossing things around, as if searching for something, opening every drawer and cabinet. Not finding what he was looking for, he started walking towards the bathroom where I was hiding.
I was speechless, trembling in fear, but in my mind, I’ve been calling to God to protect me. I was sitting there on the bathroom floor trying to hide. I felt the cold steel of his gun against my shoulder. I looked up, and he grabbed me asking me for cash and valuables. In terror, I told him I would give him everything as long as he wouldn’t hurt me or anyone in the house. Then he told me just to sit there. He turned off the light. At gunpoint, I thought he was going to shoot me, but I was stunned when he forced himself into me. While he was doing that, I was praying. I felt numb. There was no clarity of thoughts. All that I had with me were my fears and my tears.
When he was done, he asked me to get dressed and he tied me and directed me to the kitchen where my siblings and uncle were. They were also hand-tied. My instinct was to check on my siblings if they were hurt. After having all the cash and jewelry the robbers needed, they fled immediately. And my uncle called the police station.
The police were already in the house when my parents came. It was the police who broke the news to them that I was raped. I saw how hurt they were. My mother was sobbing as she was heading towards me.
The material things that were gone can be recovered but not the one they’ve stolen from me.
I Questioned God
It was like a nightmare that haunts me not just every night but every second of each passing day. I was asking God, “Are you really there?”
“Why didn’t you hear my sobs?”
“Why did you allow it to happen?”
Learning To Trust Again
With counseling and with my parents’ support, I was able to survive the terror it caused me. I may not understand why God allowed such things to happen, but I have learned to trust him.
God sometimes opens the hedge of protection, but that doesn’t mean that we will let the evil rule over us. Satan has used those guys to try to discredit the values God had instilled in me.
My mom never fails to remind me to humble myself under the mighty hands of God and not to rebel against Him despite the brutal insult committed against me.
At that time, I questioned God. I don’t exactly know why He allowed it to occur but I re-learned to trust and rest upon His promise of a better future.
It was hard, but as time passed by, I have learned to forgive those criminals who assaulted me. I have lifted their fate in God.
Life has to continue for a future of positivity. And at the right time, God rewarded me by giving me a very loving husband who supports me in all my endeavors. We have lovely kids who also followed the narrow path leading to God’s kingdom.
I no longer count the loss. Instead, I am forever grateful for the blessings God is pouring upon me and my whole family.