I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

"I Am a Survivor" (Part 2 of 2)

Cheryll Snow's article appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness. With permission, I've excerpted part of it, which is a letter to an uncle who molested her.

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It was such a random, uneventful day as I pushed my shopping cart across the parking lot of our local supermarket. I've battled with my weight for most of my life, and I was feeling especially "unpretty" that day because I had stepped on the scale that morning to find I had gained back ten of the thirty pounds I had lost over the past few months. My self-esteem plummeted, and I decided it wasn't worth the effort to do my hair or put on make-up before I left the house.

After loading my groceries into my car, I got into the driver's seat and turned the key. I caught sight of my reflection in the rearview mirror and I stopped dead. I pulled off my sunglasses and stared at the unkempt hair beneath my husband's old baseball cap. I looked down at the sweatpants that felt a little tighter today and the ratty gardening sneakers I had on, and I felt that familiar wave of shame start to wash over me.

Then. . . before I realized what I was doing, I looked back at myself in the mirror and said, "God thinks you're beautiful."

I cried like a baby all the way home because, for the first time in my life, I truly knew what it felt like to be unconditionally loved. . . .

I am no longer a victim. I am a survivor. And God thinks I'm beautiful.

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