“Broken but Beautiful” is a weekly column by Faith Gor, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She shares her story and healing journey to offer hope to other survivors.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
I was privileged to attend a youth empowerment program organised by the government, equipping the youth with life and business skills. This program ran for two weeks and in one afternoon, the facilitator walked in with three items wrapped like gifts.
Everyone in the class seemed eager to know what was going to happen next. We were then asked to sit in the groups that we were assigned to when we signed up for the program. I began wondering who was being gifted and why but my thoughts were interrupted by madam Sarah’s voice when she asked for volunteers from each group to go pick a gift. I got nervous, crossed my fingers, sat back and waited to see what would happen next.
One person showed up from group 1 but the other 2 didn’t have a representative. When the facilitator saw no one coming voluntarily, she asked us to choose a representative for our group. This time I crossed my legs, too, and hoped that no one would call my name.
Unfortunately, the lot fell on me and I had to go pick a gift for my group. I panicked and prayed in my heart not to get embarrassed. I dreaded embarrassing moments. I looked at the gifts and was asked to pick one. I chose the smaller size because I thought that was safe. Then we were asked to unwrap them.
When I unwrapped the gift I had, I first peeped and there my heart started beating really fast. I got confused, enraged and embarrassed. I wished I could go back in time to when I was just sitting quietly. I wished I had never attended the session. I felt disgusted.
The facilitator asked me to show the class what I had, and because I didn’t have the courage to hold it up, I dropped it and the class burst into laughter. It was a model of the male genitalia. I covered my face with my hands and dashed to my seat. I wanted to vanish and never come back to that class again. I held my tears and blamed myself for going there. I felt embarrassed.
Then the facilitator asked me why I dropped the model down. I took a deep breath and told her that it reminded me of an ugly experience. She asked me what it was and I told her that it was sexual abuse and the whole class went silent and I had some peace. I was not embarrassed anymore.
She took a moment of silence, said sorry and told me that I’m not what happened to me, that I can rise above my past experiences. I felt better, then she explained to us that the model was to be used for sex education. I zoned out when she started speaking and I began thinking about how I could rise above this ordeal because I felt crippled and felt as though I was a prisoner.
My thoughts took to me my mother who bore her physical challenge proudly. See, my mother’s right leg was amputated below the knee when she was involved in a road traffic accident. I have watched her build resilience through the journey. Though her life was affected by the accident, this didn’t change the fact that she is my mother. She didn’t become a different person, it didn’t lower her value. We love and appreciated her even more. I admired how she would gently massage her stump and apply oil to the scar.
Then I was able to find meaning to my pain. I told myself that though I feel crippled sexually, though these feelings may never go away, just how my mom’s scars remain I know that I too can comfortably dress up and show up because my scars don’t define me.
I resolved in my heart to embrace my unseen scars and live life to the fullest, then I smiled and vowed in my heart that I will do what it takes to heal one wound at a time.
It takes courage to accept that our lives may never be the same again after being violated sexually, but this does not change who you are. You can rise above and beyond your pain. This is what GOD says, “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19-NKJV
You are valued. Keep winning.