I did not sleep well at all last night. In addition to the eight extra thrashing, grasping limbs I normally contend with, I had a frightening dream that left me clutching my children for dear life. I dreamt that I went to work after some sort of function and had to change in the bathroom. Someone followed me and tried to rape me. I fought him off using the limited strange weapons in the room (Lysol spray, plunger, hangers, etc.) while screaming for help from my coworkers. Fortunately, in the dream, my husband and others heard me and came to my rescue.

Those of you who know me or who have read my previous blog, It’s Complicated, know that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape. I have never had a dream like this in my entire life. All of the helplessness and terror came flooding back.

When I was in college, I attended one support group meeting. I was so ashamed of my story that I lied to the group by inventing a random rapist. I knew my attacker very well. He was married to my mother and had dropped me off to college.

I don’t usually think about the details anymore. However, I recently read a book in which handthe female protagonist was raped. Hello, trigger. All of the emotions washed over me like a tsunami: outrage, fear, anger, hurt, shame, disgust, hopelessness. Then, someone shared an article about rape culture in one of my social media groups. It seems that I just cannot escape this topic.

Someone needs this today. It is time to stop wallowing in the darkness. I know it is overwhelming. I know that some days simply walking out of (or into) your house gives you a panic attack. There are places and people you avoid. You feel like you are hovering a few feet above yourself, watching your body go through the motions. Life is drastically different. No one is trustworthy. Everyone is suspicious and has ulterior motives. I have days like that, too.

It is time to be your own light. The violation is not your fault. You have nothing to be ashamed of. The only thing you are responsible for is your journey to healing. It is a process. Do not allow the violator to win. Shine your light, even if it is a nightlight or a penlight. Know that you are not alone. There are a lot of us striking matches and shaking temperamental flashlights to dispel the darkness.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

“For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness.” Psalm 18:28

“He delivers me from my enemies; Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man.” Psalm 18:48

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4

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