Painful Pasts Leading to Extreme Risk: Dickey (Review)

There’s more than one way to commit suicide.

For some, a painful past leads to extreme risk and can result in death. If you struggle with your past, seek hope and healing instead of putting yourself in harm’s way.

 

Wherever I Wind Up

Extreme Risk Suicide Attempts: Don’t let something in your past lead you to commit suicide through extreme risk.

I remember “Extreme Risk,” an episode of Star Trek: Voyageur, where  B’Elanna Torres is suffering from various injuries because she is going on dangerous holodeck programs with the safety mechanism turned off. She eventually tells Chakotay that since she learned of the death of most of their Maquis friends, she has been numb. The risks she’s been taking have been to try to find out if she’s still alive inside.

In reality, this is clinical depression. And B’Elanna might very easily have died.

An accident? In some ways. But it’s also a form of suicide. People who play with fire usually get burned.

I was reminded of that episode recently while reading the book Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball, by R. A. Dickey, with Wayne Coffey.

R. A. Dickey is a baseball player, a knuckleball pitcher, and last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner.

But while his book certainly chronicles his journey to become a major league baseball player, it’s about a lot more than that. Like B’Elanna, R. A. did some crazy things because he felt numb inside.

Dickey’s parents got married because his mother was pregnant, and according to him “the marriage didn’t last five years.” They divorced when R. A. was 8 and his mom turned to alcohol for solace. His dad, who had been a good father, gradually eased out of his life. R. A. felt alone and confused.

Then, when he was 8, a 13-year-old babysitter abused him sexually. Afterwards, in his words, “I feel discarded, like a piece of trash. She acts like she’s mad at me, like I didn’t follow her orders properly. I lie on my bed by myself, wondering if what just happened is real. I am trembling, still sweating. I feel paralyzed, my limbs leaden.”

It happens four or five more times that summer.

But something even worse happens that fall.

While visiting with family in a farming area, a boy of 16 or 17 finds him alone and grabs him, then overpowers him and abuses him.

R. A. boxes all these memories up and hides them in his mind as far away as possible. And he becomes numb. Until he’s 31 years old, he never tells anyone, doesn’t even let himself think about them. On the outside, he appears to be normal, but without his even realizing it, the memories are impacting him, telling him he’s “filthy and bad, like the scum of the earth, only worse.”

This goes on until he’s 31 and his own marriage is in serious trouble.

He finally breaks down and tells a counselor about the babysitter. He feels a measure of freedom, but he can’t go all the way; not to the brutal experience with the teenage boy.

A year later, on June 9, 2007, he does something absolutely crazy. While in Council Bluff Iowa with his triple A baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, he jumps in the Missouri River to swim across it. The water is brown and sludgy and there are strong currents and undertows. He’s wearing boxer briefs and taped-on flip-flops. He is basing this swim on the fact that he’s in good shape, and once upon a time, years ago, he swam the 200-meter freestyle for a local team. He believes he can do it.

And that’s where I was reminded about the Star Trek episode.

Because this isn’t the first time he’s done something crazy. In his words, “You could say—and some have—that I have a death wish. Not sure. I think it’s more accurate to say I have a risk wish, somehow clinging to the notion that achieving these audacious feats will someone make me worthy, make me special, as if I’d taken some magical, esteem-enhancing drug.”

He doesn’t make it across the river; instead, he almost drowns. But as he realizes he’s going to die in the muddy water of the Missouri, he finds a new desire to live. And afterwards, he’s finally able to talk about the worst experience of his life, and face the darkness and the anger that has burned inside him for all those years. Anger at the boy, anger at himself, anger at his life, anger at the God he believes in but up until now couldn’t fully embrace . . .

And he begins the journey to freedom, to feeling truly alive, and to helping others break their shackles of self-condemnation and shame.

Terrible things happen to most of us.

They don’t even have to be huge things, like sexual abuse or violence. Sometimes it’s just a person who constantly puts us down or tells us we aren’t good enough that stays within us and makes us numb inside.

No matter how much we try to pretend they never happened, they don’t go anywhere. They stay inside and tear us down.

We have to find the strength to bring them out and examine them, talk to people we can trust about them, and let God heal us and cause good to happen.

R. A. is now passionate about helping kids who have suffered from abuse.

Check out what he had to say recently.

More about the book, Wherever I Wind Up.

Suicide as a Way Out of Domestic Abuse

When you’re in a relationship that involves domestic abuse — physical or emotional — suicide may seem your only way of escape.

 

 But there is hope and help.

 

Off the Map domestic violence

Jacquie Brown, author of the book, Off the Map: Follow me out of Domestic Abuse, certainly felt that way the day she ran to her bathroom after a violent confrontation with her husband. Her “crime”? Urging her husband not to drive his truck after drinking seven glasses of whiskey and cola in a few hours.

In Jacquie’s words:

He shoved me into the wall, yelled and called me disgusting names, criticized everything about me, searched for the words that would hurt me the most.

Fear gripped my being. My stomach tensed, and I huddled into myself, trying to disappear as tears flowed and I thought, Am I really those foul degrading words I hear him calling me? He’s right about my stupidity; I never learn. I’m always the catalyst for these explosions of torment. How do I solve it? How do I stop it? The agony and desolation is relentless. How do I escape?

Time seemed to stand still as a thought seeped into my mind. I knew a way to escape. I turned and race up the stairs to the washroom, locking the door behind me. I shouldn’t have run. Now he knows something is unusual. I hurried and swallowed several pills before he reached the door.

He yelled, “Open the door or I’ll kick it in!”

Jacquie came out of the bathroom and her husband got their two young children out of bed, and told the children “This I what happens if you try and kill yourself.” He then beat her.

After he left, Jacquie made her way to each of the children’s rooms and assured them she was okay. Afterwards, she wondered how she could ever have been so selfish as to think of leaving her children alone with their father. But of course, she wasn’t thinking clearly. She was just trying to find a way out of the constant fear and abuse. (p. 42-43)

Suicide lets the abuser win

While there may be times when suicide seems like the only way out of abuse, fortunately, Jacquie eventually found a much better way. And then she wrote a book in order to help others find their way out, and also to help friends, family, and others who want to help domestic abuse victims understand what’s going on in the mind of a person who is being abused.

Off the Map is written with alternating chapters, first giving us a glimpse into Jacquie’s life, then immediately following that with an explanation of what she calls the “underlying dynamics or aspects of domestic violence.”

In her introduction, Jacquie says: “Off the Map demystifies domestic violence. It brings to light how we are ensnared and why we stay trapped. It also reveals our self-destructive coping mechanisms and ultimately the way out of the dungeon to discover the treasure of life.” (p.xiii)
Jacquie also explains that all violence isn’t physical beatings. There are many other ways an abuser can hold someone captive.

The book has a number of helpful lists, including:

  • signs that you are in an abusive relationship
  • how abusers isolate their victims
  • different types of abusers
  • types of abuse
  • wrong beliefs of both the abusers and the abused
  • reasons why victims stay in the relationship
  • common coping mechanisms that lead to more difficulty
  • people and groups who will help abuse victims
  • practical steps to take to ensure safety when leaving

The book clearly explains how pretty well anyone could wind up being abused without necessarily realizing what is happening. Jacquie shows how abusers can mix kindness in with the abuse in a way that creates dependency and keeps the victim ambivalent about the abuser and unable to break free.

She also links long-term abuse to C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). On page 93, Jacquie says, “A woman suffering in a relationship of domestic violence is similar to a soldier’s experience as a prisoner of war. Both undergo prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences and both can develop C-PTSD.” She then goes on to explain how chemicals in the brain (such as serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline), are impacted, and how this can lead to a variety of negative things, including forgetfulness, depression, detachment, self-condemnation, loss of identity, hopelessness, etc.

Everyone needs to read this book

This book is specifically about domestic violence, and is invaluable for anyone wanting to understand that type of abuse. However, the implications of abuse go far beyond that to any long-term relationship where one person has power over another and could use it in abusive ways: either situations where one has direct power over another (e.g. a parent, teacher, coach, boss, pastor, doctor, counselor) or situations where a peer can exert power over another person (e.g. a co-worker, teammate, a sibling, close friend, roommate, classmate). Please check it out, especially if you:

  • suspect you might be in an abusive relationship
  • suspect someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, whether domestic or otherwise
  • suspect you might be an abuser
  • are in any way involved with people; pastors, teachers, psychologists, counselors, doctors, nurses, politicians, managers, parents, etc.

Click to visit Jacquie Brown’s website and for information about her book Off the Map: Follow Me Out of Domestic Violence 

Yes, There is an Anti-Bullying Day

by N. J. Lindquist:

Today is Anti-bullying Day in Canada. It’s also known as Pink Shirt Day.

 

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pink Shirt Day started with an anti-bullying stand taken by two Grade 12 students in Nova Scotia about six years ago. They witnessed a Grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school and rallied other students to wear pink as a message against bullying.

Two of my sons were bullied for very different reasons when they were roughly 12-13. As a parent, I felt angry and determined to stop it, while also a bit helpless – no one can live in another person’s shoes. Nor can you be with your child all the time.

Our sons survived and weren’t injured by their experiences, but I wonder if there were other kids who ran into the same bullies, and the bullies themselves – are they still bullies as adults?

Far too many of the people who commit suicide or attempt to do so have been bullied. The death of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old from B.C. who committed suicide in October after posting a video detailing how she was bullied both in person and over the internet, brought attention to the newest for of bullying, cyber-bullying. But bullying has been around for a long time.

For more information on Pink Shirt Day and what you can do about bullying, read this article.

You can also read here on our site:

Bullying Prevention Tips for Parents and Kids

Stop Bullies with Self-Confidence and God’s Help!

How to Stop Cyberbullying

Cyberbullied: Handling Mean Texts and Online Posts

Abandoned; Shattered Dreams: Thinking About Suicide?

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Recently divorced, I thought it was over. I felt abandoned by the man who had only one year previously  pledged to protect, provide for, and love me into eternity.

 

Bleeding Hearts…that was mine.

Excitement grew for me as our honeymoon plane took off for Hawaii, (the first plane I had ever boarded in my young life). But he shook his head and sighed, “Oh God, what have I done?”

Being a young blushing bride, I replied, “Did you forget something, I’m sure we can find whatever it is at a store in Maui.”

“No. No. It’s nothing.”

The next miserable year was filled with heartache, shattered dreams and a growing fear inside me that my life was over. I wanted children. I had dreamed of growing old with this man who become like Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. Before the vows, he was kind to all my friends and family. He lavished me with little affirmations that he would love me forever. Promised me over and over to never leave or forsake me.

Post ceremony he was cruel, saying and doing things that made me feel worthless, refusing on most occasions to even have my family or friends around. He refused to attend church. I was confused, betrayed and heartbroken. Then came the day he announced it was time for me to find an apartment. By that time, I would not even do the grocery shopping without him there for fear I would do it wrong and experience his verbal wrath.

After several sessions of marriage counseling, the marriage counselor met with me alone. He told me my husband believed he had made a terrible mistake, and just wanted out. No counseling could help someone who did not want to try. SHATTERED would be an understatement.

Could I be such a miserable person that the one I had pledged to love for the rest of my life couldn’t stand me in his presence after only 12 short months? FEAR had me in its destructive, paralyzing grip.

In the months that followed, I spent a lot of time alone. Spent a lot of time in the Bible, a lot of time grieving my dashed hopes for a happy marriage and family. I was in my early 20s and believed I was facing life alone. It was the first time I had ever lived alone in my life.

The next years, I focused on building a new dream. I got involved in a church, made new friends and kept my old ones. Went back to school and prayed. I asked God to help me find my way. I repented of anything I had done to cause it. I asked for guidance, wisdom and a new mission in life. God is good, and as the next several years unfolded, I grew in my love of Him. He gave me new hopes, new dreams, even a husband and children. I married Dave with the condition that we will not divorce.  I was not leaving. This marriage vow is a covenant, not a contract.

Looking back, I can see several benchmarks that saved me. Reading my Bible became a daily passion. The wisdom I found on the pages there ministered to me like nothing else. I made mistakes along the way but that single activity pulled me back every time. One of the verses that became my mainstay is Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If your hopes and dreams have been shattered, take courage. Give your next months to studying the love letters God has written to you. You will find them in the Bible. My advice is to start in the Book of John.

Here is a song that encouraged me along the way.

Sexual Abuse from a Trusted Coach (Olympian Kayla Harrison)

By Dianne E. Butts:

Kayla Harrison, on having been sexually abused by her former coach and overcoming suicidal thoughts.

 

 

Image from Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kayla Harrison started judo at six years old when her mother, Jeannie Yazell, a black belt, introduced her to the sport. She showed promise, winning two national titles before her 15th birthday. But behind the scenes, she was being sexually manipulated and abused by her judo coach, and that sexual abuse led Olympian Kayla Harrison to think about suicide.

The abuse started when Kayla was 13.

An article in the New York Times online, “For Judo Champion, a Painful Path to Gold” by Campbell Robertson revealed that “sexual contact led to sexual intercourse over a period of years, on trips to Venezuela, Russia and Estonia, until she was 16.”

In an article in The Telegraph (www.Telegraph.co.uk) titled “London 2012 Olympics: US Judoka Kayla Harrison overcomes horror of sexual abuse to aim for gold,” by Ian Chadband, Kayla said:

“When I was young, he would say, ‘We have to keep this between us or we will get into trouble’ and, honestly, as I got older, I was pretty brainwashed. I knew it was wrong but I thought I loved him. And I thought he loved me.’”

After three years, Kayla confided in her friend Aaron, who told her mother. Jeannie Yazell then “smashed out the coach’s car windows with a baseball bat” according to the NY Times article.

After Kayla exposed her coach as an abuser, she confronted him in court. Daniel Doyle was sentenced to ten years in prison and banned from the sport.

“I couldn’t look in the mirror and had no self-esteem. Now I can’t imagine not speaking up against that. It’s so wrong and I don’t want others to have to suffer what I did,” Kayla told The Telegraph. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned through all this is that you’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be. And though it feels like hell and it feels like it will never end, it will. But you have to have the courage to say ‘I won’t play victim’.”

Going for the gold in the Olympics kept her going. Her mother teamed her up with coach Jimmy Pedro, who helped her overcome the trauma of abuse and make the Olympic team. Her mother told the NY Times, “‘We just felt like she just had to get back to what she knew how to do… She could have control over what went on on the mat.’”

On August 2, 2102, Kayla won the first gold medal in judo for the United States.

But that’s not all. Kayla is now engaged to Aaron Handy, the friend she turned to for help. He’s a firefighter now. After the Olympics Kayla may return home to take the E.M.T. test and continue the process of becoming a firefighter herself.

Sexual abuse led Olympian Kayla Harrison to think about suicide. But she overcame abuse and suicidal thoughts to become a Gold Medal Olympian with a future filled with love, marriage, and a meaningful career. You can overcome your circumstances too, and have a future filled with hope.

 

Suicidal after Abuse, Kayla Harrison Found Help and the Gold

By Karen Boerger:

Although Kayla Harrison felt suicidal after abuse by a former coach, with help, support, and love she chose to live. This week Kayla won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympic games.

 

The 2012 Olympics are now over, and how the world cheered them on!

Television sets were tuned day and night into the visual extravaganza covering many athletic games. Amazing feats were performed by the athletes. One such athlete was a U. S. judo star, Kayla Harrison.

Kayla was born in Middletown, OH, July 2, 1990. At the age of 6 Kayla was introduced to the sport of Judo by her mother who held a black belt. Two years later she was introduced to her coach, Daniel Doyle. By the age of 15, Kayla had won two national championships.

However, during that time her coach was abusing her. She eventually told a friend, Aaron Handy, about the abuse because she could no longer take it emotionally. Hardy told her mother, who contacted the police. Doyle was subsequently convicted and sentenced to a ten-year prison term.

Kayla admits that during those years she was an emotional wreck, severely depressed, and suicidal. “I hated my life!”

After the abuse was revealed, she moved away to train with Jimmy Pedro and his father. The new coaches took a “tough love” approach. Jimmy told her, “You know kid, it happened to you, but it doesn’t define you and some day you’re eventually going to have to get over it.” That sounded good, but it wasn’t that easy. Two weeks later her coach found her on top of a two-story building ready to jump and stopped her.

Kayla says, “You’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be. Even though it feels like hell and it feels like it will never end, it will. But you have to have the courage to say I won’t play victim.”

Her case fits the profile of the typical case of sexual abuse. Sexual molestation, as well as physical and emotional abuse, has currently become rampant in American families. About 90% of abuse victims know the perpetrator and in 68% of cases, the perpetrator is a member of the child’s family. Kayla’s coach was a friend of the family who babysat, enjoyed barbecues at their home, etc.

Kayla’s life is good now. The friend she told about the abuse, Aaron, is now her fiancé. She’s also bringing home a gold medal, while being ranked #1 in the world in her division. Congratulations, Kayla!

You can click here for a related story and video about Kayla.

Depression and Suicide Risk in Domestic Abuse Victims

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

If you are being physically and/or emotionally abused, suicide may seem a way to end your pain and suffering. Instead, reach out for help and LIVE. You are worth it.

 


If you are being abused, instead of giving up on life, accept help. (Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I was glad to find online an excellent page on depression and suicide risk in domestic abuse victims by Kevin Caruso, titled: Domestic Violence and Suicide. There he states that one out of four women experiencing domestic abuse attempt suicide, a sobering statistic.

He also describes how this can happen:

“The horrible crime of domestic violence often results in a woman isolating herself and becoming clinically depressed. ” He also states on his website:  “Many women feel trapped and powerless, and do not receive treatment for their depression, and thus believe that suicide is the only way out.”

Caruso said this well. In my former volunteer work for eight years with a crisis support network, I counseled women who had been abused and sought safety in our shelters.  I could see how psychological abuse and controlling behavior had stripped many of these women of self-confidence.

They’d been told many times they were worthless, stupid, and couldn’t get along in life without the abuser. Even after leaving violent situations to protect their lives, some had much trouble at first believing they could survive on their own and found it difficult to overcome feelings of helplessness. But with encouragement they felt their self-confidence grow.

if you have been abused and beaten down physically and/or emotionally, there are people willing to help you get back on your feet and help you see that you can LIVE free from abuse. Don’t let an abuser persuade you that there is no hope for you!

For a listening ear and to find local services, including the nearest shelter, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)  TTY:  1-800-787-3224. You can also visit www.thehotline.org ,which includes the  page, Am I Being Abused?

Kevin Caruso, at thinkingaboutsuicide.org (Our site is dot com: thinkingaboutsuicide.com), ends his page about suicide risk for domestic abuse victims with these wise words:

Remember that there is never an excuse for domestic violence. Never.

You deserve a better life.

You are a great person.

Take care of yourself.

Also do remember that children who witness or experience abuse also can feel powerless and depressed and at risk for suicide. Also, children of parents who take their own lives often consider taking their own. If you have children, protect your own life, and protect theirs by getting help.

Instead of choosing death, choose new life, a life free from abuse. There are good people out there, people who won’t beat you down with fists or words. There is hope.

See this excellent and critically important video by Karen McAndless-Davis, author of When Love Hurts, to help understand the domestic violence cycle of abuse, and how abuse escalates. It points out how crazy-making it can be to live with someone who, unpredictably, “one day is kind and affectionate, and the next day cruel and malicious”. This also addresses (around the 12-minute mark) the common question, “Why do women stay?”

Does Abuse Have a Pattern? The Cycle of Abuse:

Finding Hope after Male Sexual Abuse

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

 Cecil Murphey: “I’m a survivor of sexual abuse. As a child, I kept quiet; as an adult, I “forgot.” When I felt safe, I faced my abuse and talked about it. The more open I am in sharing my pain and recovery, the more healed I become.”

 

These personal words come from Cecil Murphey, also known as ‘Cec': best known as a New York Times’ bestselling author and international speaker, with 100+ books including 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson).

Now Cecil is helping men (and their families) deal with the pain of past sexual abuse.

Cec’s own abuse led to suicidal thinking at age twelve. (See his video interview, below.) However, it wasn’t until age 51, when his memories of abuse began to return to him in full force, he felt he could begin to deal with those memories with God’s help and the help of loved ones, including his wife.

Thankfully he did not follow through with those suicidal thoughts, as his words have blessed countless readers and writers for many years. He now brings healing and hope to male sexual abuse survivors and the spouses who want to emotionally support them.

As Cecil realized in recent years that his own past abuse–and the topic in general–should be addressed, he wrote: When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman’s Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation.

Cec has a blog for men who struggle with past abuse, called Shattering the Silence.  He is also a guest blogger for the Joyful Heart Foundation website founded by Mariska Hargitay (actress playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).  A recent post of his there is: Why am I Still Not Healed?

In the video below, Cec discuss how his abuse affected him as an adult, including feelings of shame and self-blame, and his journey to healing:

Do pay attention to his final words:

“If you are a man and you were abused, remember this: you are not bad. Something bad, something terrible was done to you. It totally distorted your life. However I hope you would see that God loves you just as you are. You may not be able to talk about it, but it’s so important for you to break the silence. Find someone to trust. Find someone to whom you can talk and begin to open the door.”

If you or a loved one are struggling from the effects of male sexual abuse, DO visit Shattering the Silence at MenShatteringTheSilence.blogspot.com.

When a Man You Love was Abused – Cecil Murphey

Derailing Suicidal Thoughts After Rape

By Karen Kosman:

When suicidal thoughts occur after rape, those thoughts need derailing. People can help.

 

I understood the young women’s distress as I stood by her emergency room gurney. I noticed the bruises on her arms and looked into her fearful eyes. She’d been raped.

“Hi, I’m here from the lab, and I need to take a blood sample,” I said softly. She remained silent as I drew her blood. “I’m sorry about what you are going through. As a teenager I, too, became a rape victim.”

She looked surprised, and the tears began as she said, “I’m so afraid he’ll come back. How do I go on? Right now I just want to die.”

“You take one day at a time. Eventually, you’ll start to feel safe again. Don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling. What happened to you is not your fault.”

She asked with a trembling voice, “Did you do that?”

“Yes. I did. It’s a safe place to talk about your fears.”

“Thank you. I’m glad you shared with me.”

As I returned to the lab, my thoughts churned, When someone states, “I just want to die” that’s a red flag, no matter what the circumstances. People who are hurt, or traumatized during a criminal act, need to know that others care.

Often in our daily walk we have brief encounters with people who we don’t really know, but God has allowed our paths to cross. He whispers to our hearts to reach out in love and concern.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22: 37-38

If you found this blog page because yourself have just been assaulted, or still struggle with the effects long after an assault has happened, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline1.800.656.HOPE. You can also refer others to this number to help them.

Karen Kosman is co-author of the book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide.

Additional Resources for Rape Victims

To read about some misconceptions about rape, see: Resources for Victims of Rape.

If you have just been assaulted, the first thing you should do is get medical attention. A Physical Evidence Recover Kit may be used to acquire evidence.

Another resource is christiansurvivors.com which includes a list of resources for rape victims in the US, UK and Australia.

To find a christian counselor in the USA, you can visit  christiantherapist.com or The American Association of Christian Counselors.

Help from God After Assault

By Karen Kosman:

Help from God After Assault

In 1956, when I was fourteen years old, I struggled against depression—one created by a traumatic event. While babysitting my younger sister and brothers, a stranger, with clever lies, gained access to our home.

Once he got me alone, he grabbed me from behind. At knife point he stole my innocence. The aftermath of rape resulted in Post Traumatic Syndrome: panic attacks, nightmares, and overwhelming guilt.  Finally, at the bottom of my depression pit I cried out, “God help me.”

Moments later, my mom called and said two detectives were waiting to talk with me. I’d had enough of interrogations—I wanted to be invisible.  Despondently, I entered the dining room. Then I heard a familiar voice. I found myself looking into the blue eyes of a police officer who had befriended me earlier that summer. I could hardly believe he’d been promoted and assigned to my case. “Karen,” Bill said, “this terrible thing is not your fault.”

Weeks later, during the trial, I struggled with fear every time my attacker looked at me with hate. “God help me,” I whispered in prayer over and over. During one recess, a woman approached and sat down next to me. She said, “I, too, am a victim of that man. You are a brave girl. Trust God and live your life.”

One weekend, while home alone, and in the throws of a panic attack I again cried out, “God help me.” Our doorbell rang, and looking through a peephole, I recognized my brother and sister’s Sunday school teacher.  When I opened the door he said, “I was passing by and suddenly felt I should stop and visit.” I knew God had answered yet another cry for help. The following Sunday I went to church and joined in with other teenagers. There is no doubt in my heart that God answered my cry for help. He helped me choose life.

Today, as a wife, mother, grandmother, and author, I am blessed.

Do you really believe that ending your life is the answer to your pain?  Have you heard the quote, “Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem?”

Make a commitment not to end your life. Instead cry out, “God help me!” Seek him and you will find help from God after assault, no matter how traumatic.

In this video, Emily Klotz shares her story of abduction, rape, God’s presence, and eventually the ability to forgive. (Note that the beginning of this video describes an assault in detail, but there is a message of hope.)

If you are experiencing post traumatic stress from a sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE