I am a 25-year-old female, currently a university student, and engaged to a wonderful man. Right now, we are currently looking for a church to attend.
My relationship with God is a day-to-day challenge. The world is very loud around me, so it is always a battle to find quiet time with the Lord and focus on HIS word. Growing in His grace is a step-by-step learning experience. Sometimes I take three or four steps forward and three back. It can be discouraging, but I try to focus on the whole journey.
I want to share my testimony with others. Things like sexual or mental harassment are living sins, not just in the world, but among Christians as well. We have to face this fact to be able to "protect His sheep." I want church leaders, fathers, and men to see how big of an impact it can make in somebody's life when such a horrible thing like this happens.
I also want to share that there is forgiveness and healing in Christ from the scars of the past. He is the only one who can restore our mind and soul when it comes to destroyed self-image and shame.
It happened twice in my life around the age of 12. A close trusted member of my family performed inappropriate touches on me. I was "lucky" that nothing more happened, but it was still a very harmful experience.
I was a kid, and I didn't know how to react. He was a grown man, and a member of a church, with lots of sexual frustration. I didn't have a chance or the composure to run away. I was't aware of sex or sexuality at all. The only thing I felt was that this shouldn't have happened at all. It mustn't be right! I felt frustration and anger.
Fortunately, I had the courage to mention the incident to my parents. I didn't know what to say, or how to say it. I felt very insecure.
I only told my mom. I think she believed me immediately and shared what I said with my father and one of my uncles. My uncle had a conversation with that man. After that, it never happened again.
Authorities or church elders were not involved in the process. They tried to keep it as private and quiet as possible. Despite the fact that it never happened again, I couldn't leave this problem behind.
When I was 15 or 16, now fully aware of sexuality, I had a conversation with my parents again. I told them what happened and how I felt. I cried so hard, I felt so ashamed. That was the point when my father truly realized the impact of this man's act on my heart. I don't think he believed me 100% the first time. He had also never experienced something like that, so he didn't know how to react or solve the situation.
It affected me in many ways. Only during my teenage and early adulthood years did I realise these effects:
Only God could take my anger away. His healing took time and patience. He has shown me mercy in many areas of my life and taught me that I should do the same with others. I have been forgiven for my sins through Christ, and I know what a huge relief it was for me. I wanted to live it as a truth, and I forgave that man.
I have shared my story with other girls a couple of times. If I have a chance, I always raise awareness of this issue and encourage those have gone through the same.
I hope if we undertake what we experienced, many women will be encouraged to share their stories as well, and find peace in their hearts. I also hope that members of the assemblies will act and prevent these things from happening in the future. I hope they will cherish their innocent members (girls, mothers, aunts, daughters) of the flock more than the abuser's reputation.