This will be an unspecified and ambiguous post. No real details of location, times or names. I'm protecting my new friend and her family. But "Jane" has given me permission to tell her story. After a women's event, Jane, a beautiful and shy young woman, approaches me in the foyer of her church. This is her first words to me.
"Sue, you know when you were talking about women who are stuck in a lifestyle that they just don't know how to get out of? Well, I'm one of those stuck women. I was abused physically early in my life by a friend of my father. I tried telling my parents about it but they didn't believe me. Later, in High School, I became infatuated with a boy who I thought cared about me. Instead, he put me in horrific situations (sexually) with his friends. He told me that if I didn't do this, he would tell my friends, hurt my mother and ruin my father's name. I was 16 then. Now I'm 28. Sue, please tell these women who are trapped in unsafe houses, that there is hope and that there are agencies and safe places they can go. I lost my childhood innocence. And later, when fear gripped me along with doubt and disregard for my own body, I just caved in and prostituted myself to make money. All the while I was doing this, I still went to church. I'm the pastor's daughter."
Jane, your word is out. I never ever once think that all women I speak to have it all together. If anything, I know that many women come with dark secrets. Some I may never know about, but all have a chance to uncover their hidden heart to an embracing forgiving Jesus. I try very hard to make these events a safe place. A safe place to laugh, cry and share our stories.
It doesn't stop here. When they're willing and ready, the process of healing and restoration for these women and girls begin at that moment of confession. Jane has been referred to a women's counselor and is working her way back to health, physically and spiritually. Her father now knows and he too is getting help for his neglect.
You see, even as a pastor's daughter, Jane is not exempt from the cruelty of the dark side. If anything, her face told me, "I've been bruised and battered twice - once by these men and boys. And again by well-meaning parents who refused (for fear of their own reputation) to believe me."
My ears and eyes are wide open. The heart of Christ is her safe house. This is only the beginning of the uncovering. Pray.
(On a side note: I wrote this story a few months ago, but waited until the right time for the reveal. Today is the day, especially after the breaking news story of the three women rescued from a Cleveland house where they were held hostage.)
Two completely different houses - both unsafe. One in Cleveland and one in a reputable neighborhood with a little white church.
This post also featured on Sue Duffield's blog..