I'm one of many, a calculated statistic and an inevitable by-product of the sex-imbued society we live in. I'm an unknown face and a silent voice; a shadowed reality that we don't want to acknowledge exists. I'm all around you; I may be one of you; I am the plagued soul of a man, woman, or child who's had a piece of them stolen by the untamed perverted desires of another.
I'm that homeless man, that corner prostitute, that meth-addict, and that lesbian co-worker. I'm that quiet girl, that weird boy, that rebellious teenager, and that elite cheerleader. I struggle with anxiety and battle depression; I live off medication and maintain few lasting friendships. I busy my mind and occupy my time, either I isolate myself or I'm always out and about. I'm emotionally messed up.
Most of my life I've been numb, drunk off of some momentary fix that enables my heart to dismiss the suffocating emotions it feels and my mind to detach itself from the torment it lived through. I'm one of you, or maybe none of you, but I'm real. I exist and I've spent much of my life bleeding, dying, and hiding. I'm tormented and terrified, but yet I'm still alive, battling the emotional effects of the wrong done against me, perhaps multiple times.
I can't escape it. As much as I dismiss its actuality and can barely recall its memory, nonetheless, its side effects are pertinent to the emptiness in my heart and the shadow that lingers over my existence. I may brush it off or discredit its magnitude, but what I cannot escape is the manner in which it effects me every day. I can't hide from how it daily influences, controls, and domineers the way I live. The course of my life and the choices I've made are obvious results of the abuse I experienced. If my innocence hadn't been stolen, I wonder if today I would be a healthy and whole human being functioning in society. I wonder if I would be happy. I wonder if I would need to numb myself with food, TV, daydreams, drugs, or alcohol. I wonder if I would be able to form trust and intimacy with others and share my heart with them. I wonder if I would be alive.
People don't know what lies inside my eyes. This is perhaps because they take not the time to look within and see past the scraggly beard, the painted smile, the sunken eyes, or the shy countenance I present to the world. But this is just the first layer of my skin; past this there lies deeper things, reasons and causes to the manner in which I live, act, and think today. There are reasons why I sell myself to men, there are causes to denying my femininity or masculinity and identifying as a homosexual, there is a answer to why I've been in rehab four times, and an explanation to why I isolate myself and am quiet. My anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and OCD were birthed at a specific time. I remember when I first got drunk- I know why it's easier to stay in that sublime mode of escape.
But you don't know. You simply judge me from the outside, labeling me as something in your mind without comprehension of why I am who I am, act the way I act, or have made the choices I have made. You know nothing about the trauma I lived through and thus cannot understand the self-medicating ways in which I deal with it. You have not felt the terror of being raped and thus are unable to grasp the fragility of my emotional state. And if you have, then perhaps you show me compassion.
My past, of course, does not justify or excuse my present, but it does denote pity and understanding. The abuse I experienced may not warrant my current lifestyle or allow for a continuation of certain habits, but it does enlighten one to the root of the question, "Why?" Although there are many just like me, there are still none like me. Although a high percentage of us are numbered as victims, still all our experiences are different. And even though there may not be a straightforward answer or remedy to the poisonous effects of abuse, one thing I'm certain of is that it's found in Jesus.
Thus this is my plea: "Free me. Come to me. Find me in the desolate alleys and byways of poverty and brokenness. Search for me in the prosperous highways of fabricated happiness and luxury. Find me in the drug house; search for me at your work place; discover me at your school; don't pass me by for I am waiting. I've heard that Jesus is the way to escape the emotional effects of abuse's reign. And I need Him; I have to Him; I've tried all else-He's my only hope. Don't judge me from the outside, understand where I've been. Don't leave me in my suffering and bondage-bring me to Jesus and let Him heal me. Will you come to me? I'm waiting to know His embrace."