I haven't told anyone to this day.

Date uploaded: October 23, 2019

I am a female who is 30 years old and married. I was nine years old when my uncle sexually abused me. He lived with us in our home at the time. Because of this, he would tell me to come into his room, sit on his lap, and proceed to fondle my chest; I could feel him getting an erection. At nine years old, I didn't know what sex was, but I knew something was wrong about that interaction. Our conscience knows when something is right or wrong, even at that age. God has instilled that in us.

I was 12 or 13 years old when I was abused again, and it was by a church member. As kids, we always went to each others' homes for fellowship and prayer meetings. There was one time when my parents could not drive me back home, so an uncle in the church said he would take me and my siblings back home. Because I am the oldest, I had to sit in the front seat. He proceeded to touch me inappropriately, and I couldn't move because I was strapped in my seat belt. He would do it in such a stealthy manner--he would touch me even in a crowded room, and no one would notice. He would slip his hands up my shirt without anyone seeing. I didn't scream because I didn't want to make a scene. I felt so ashamed and stuck at this young age, and didn't know what to make of it, so I just avoided him at all costs after that.

I haven't told anyone to this day--not my husband, not my parents, and not my sisters. At 12 or 13 years old, I questioned if anyone would believe me because of how close knit everyone was in the church. I didn't want to be the person to bring someone down, and I felt guilty for painting someone in a bad light, because reputation in our community is everything. I was afraid that I would be creating or stirring up trouble. Because I'm known to be a very friendly person, I wasn't sure, even as a 12-year-old, if I did this to myself. I was also afraid that people would gossip about me and see me as "that girl."

This is the first time I am sharing this. I do have knowledge that there are other girls in the Indian community who have gone through the same thing, but I do not know how their situations were handled.

Because both instances happened in the Indian Brethren Church, I never wanted to marry anyone who was Indian. I was afraid of Indian men. This abuse also took a toll on my relationship with the Lord and the church, because I knew both of my abusers were part of the church. If these were believers who did this to me, how can I know for sure that other men in the church haven't done something like this to other girls? This was a big fear that I had. When it came time for me to marry, I was terrified of marriage itself. When I became engaged, I was afraid that I would associate intimacy with the abuse I had gone through.

By God's grace, my relationship with the Lord was strengthened when I found out how many people were praying for me without even knowing what I was going through. I realized that God is not going to let go of me, and that whatever fear I have will be overcome by His strength and through the love of the people He brought into my life.

I am just thankful for how much the Lord loves me, and how He has saved me from past situations that I have been in. His hand has never let go of me. Every time I look back, I can see how God has taken me out of every single storm; it is very encouraging to consider how much love He has for his children.

My husband and I are both leaders in our church youth group, and we have a heart for young people and children. I don't want anyone to think that they are alone, especially in our community where things can be so hidden. This is happening everywhere, and if one person shares his or her story, then more people will share and start a movement to begin the healing process. Because I am a youth group leader, I want to protect our future children and see change. I don't want children to feel they have to hide what happened, and I want them to have the freedom to share what happened with us.

I wish the church was a safe place for me to talk about what my abusers did to me, especially because they were church members. I wish my assembly could have provided justice, but right now, I am thankful that, by God's grace, I am still a believer and that, even at age 30, God is still healing me.

I still wonder to this day, "Why did I go through this?" I see how God is using me in my own youth group. I know that my story can be used to help the young ones in the church.

"Don't be ashamed of your past
If you're shattered like a piece of glass
The more broke you are the more the light gets through
Show your wounds and your flaws
Show them why you still need the cross
Let them see the work He's doing in you."

My advice is that the Lord is not going to let go of you. Despite any trauma you have been through, He will help you overcome. We can survive because of Christ.

*Please note, all photography here is stock and is not meant to portray the likeness of any victim. All efforts have been made to protect the privacy of those who bravely submit their stories.

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