Note to readers: Yesterday’s post featured a review of the book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. (For a free chapter from the book, click here.) Today and tomorrow, I’m turning this space over to the book’s author, Wendy Blight. At a time when sexual violence on college campuses has captured our national attention, Wendy’s story offers understanding, wisdom, and hope. JB
It’s the Saturday after my college graduation. I pull up the covers for a few more moments of sleep. Finally, I slide out of bed, throw on some shorts, and run out the door to meet friends for an afternoon by the pool.
My last day with my best girlfriends. Treasured memories…formals, weekend trips, date nights, spring breaks…so much fun and laughter. How could it be over?
Hours later, I rush back into my apartment, golden brown, smelling like a perfect blend of coconut and the great outdoors. I head upstairs to shower.
As I hit the top step, I see him. A masked man, wielding a large hunting knife. Behind the mask, two cold, piercing blue eyes staring back at mine. Who are you? Why are you here? Surely this can’t be real.
The cold blade on my neck jolts me back to reality. The intruder shoves me into my room. He commits vile acts against me. When he finishes, he leans in close, “I know where you live. If you tell anyone, I will return, and I will kill you.” He walks out the door never to be seen again.
At age 21. Every dream shattered. Every hope dashed. I feel so very alone.
Not a single soul understood the depths of my pain. I locked myself in a prison of fear. At times, living seems too much to bear. No one knew…my loneliness…my helplessness…my hopelessness.
Thankfully, this is not the end of my story. But my journey to get where I am today was long and hard. That day in June 1986, I had no idea where to turn or what to do. I was thousands of miles from home. School was out. There was not an instruction book for what to do after your raped.
Joining the Conversation…
Jodie, thank you for inviting me to be part of the conversation happening nationally about sexual assault on college campuses…both stranger rape and date rape. Sadly, the statistics have not changed since my attack over 25 years ago. One in four women on college campuses are raped. We don’t report our attacks because someone has stepped into our world and cracked our hearts wide open. We have been violated in a most intimate and personal way.
The words don’t come easily: I’ve been raped.
We believe our attacker’s threats. We fear the administration, the police, our peers will not believe us. We fear the unknown in the investigative and prosecutorial process.
I’m grateful for this conversation. I’m grateful for the proactive stance our government and our universities are beginning to take to protect young women. Victims need a voice. We need an advocate.
I also want to be a voice of hope in the midst of this conversation. God makes amazing promises in His Word.
James 1:2-4 says,
“Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.” (The Voice)
Romans 8:28 says,
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” (The Voice)
After my attack in 1987, fear held me captive for nearly 15 years. Anger and bitterness consumed my heart. I held daily pity parties for myself. Desperation led me to my Bible. It was in the pages of God’s Word that God healed my gaping wounds. He restored my soul. He took my shattered heart and, piece by piece, created something good and beautiful.
We live in a world where bad people will make bad choices that hurt good people. But God promises that the trials and sufferings that enter into our lives, when surrendered to Him, will be redeemed to bring about our good, His glory, and point others to Him!
Tomorrow on the blog: Oprah Radio asked Wendy to share strategies for staying safe, on campus and elsewhere. Wednesday’s post will feature some of these insights, as well as resources and help for victims.