Growing up, I was a bubbly and naïve child, living in a small suburban town that was incredibly safe and, in my opinion, incredible dull. I grew up in a great home with parents who cared deeply about me and always made sure I had the best opportunities. I was fiercely protected and loved. So while I understood that there was evil and terrible tragedies taking place around the world, it always seemed distant and removed from my own sheltered life.
That changed when I turned seventeen. As I was sitting in the car with a very close family member, experiencing a day that was like all of the others, they told me that they had been sexually abused for many years by someone that I knew well.
I was completely shocked and devastated by the news. I was so angry at the abuser that I could barely see straight. It was a highly emotional conversation that completely rocked my world and left me feeling bewildered and heartbroken. The fact that someone whom I loved and cared for so deeply could be viewed as merely an object was infuriating. They were minimized to a target of someone else’s selfish desires, and that selfish act would cause the victim to spend years wrestling with their identity and self-worth.
Abuse is a dark and painful issue. It consumes victims with feelings of shame and self-doubt, and can cause terrible emotional and psychological effects that last for years.
That same year, I decided to write a song about abuse in order to share the personal story about my loved one and their journey toward healing. Exposing the hurt that the abuse had caused turned out to be a therapeutic experience that benefited not only me and my family, but others around us. God used the song as a way to bring awareness to the darkness and the sin of this world. But he also used it to encourage other victims. What can begin as a painful and dark secret can eventually become a testimony of God’s love, hope, and restorative power. There is victory found in Christ!
It’s been nine years, and my eyes continue to be opened to the need to protect and care for abuse victims. Abuse is taking place each and every day and it needs to be stopped. This month is Human Trafficking Prevention month. It’s a chance to raise awareness in order to eliminate abuse before it ever begins.
Abuse isn’t something that people want to talk about because it’s uncomfortable and dark and can feel hopeless. But fighting against abuse is not hopeless. Make a difference in the world is possible. Giving a voice to victims and fighting for justice matters to God, and so it should matter to us too.
If you would like an opportunity to fight for justice in order to end human trafficking, check out the community outreach opportunities that are happening in Baltimore this month.