To appreciate what a victim goes through to become a survivor is to witness a heroic journey. There is no set pattern, guide or roadmap; often there are few guideposts or road markers, and there is very little affirmation along this lonely journey. Trying to figure things out, to understand "why" and to accept what has happened to victims causes doubt and feelings of unworthiness within them. It is an isolating process because victims rarely have the advantage of knowing someone else who suffered through their experiences.
Yet, resilience reigns supreme in the lives of victims who learn how to survive through coping mechanisms mostly self-taught. When victims finally are able to utter the words about their abuse and to tell their narrative, it is an overwhelming experience. With good intentions, most of us don't understand why it takes so long to come forward, and why the healing process is so difficult. With further good intentions, we don't understand why victims don't reach out sooner and why healing and reconciliation is an enormous task for them. The good intentions need further work.
When victims first come forward and their story is believed, and they are shown encouragement and support, we know they heal more quickly.
We also know that when God is part of the equation and tangled up in the power that a perpetrator holds over a victim, the road to recovery is much longer. Survivors can prosper, thrive and can accomplish so much in their life with loving support and understanding. We need to accept the compassionate role of abiding lovingly with victim/survivors. We can learn much from them, and they, in turn, can flourish in an otherwise lonely world.
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