I do remember your real name, but I also understand how much privacy you want regarding this matter. So, even though your name is something else, I'm addressing you as "Jane," a name I find so beautiful, I gave it to my own daughter.
Jane- a name attached to a person. Not "young lady," as adults tend to address you when they are bothered by your attitude. Not "little girl," because you aren't, though I wish someone else would understand that you are still someone's little girl. You are a teen - that awful time in your life when some will treat you like a kid when you want to be looked at as an adult. And others will unfortunately see you as more mature than you could possibly be.
I haven't heard back from you since the first time you sought my advice on one of those social websites. I like to go on there to stay in touch with the audience I write for, but I think I may have another calling for it as well. You see, I never intended to be a teen leader, but God hasn't let me stray from it since my husband and I started teaching youth group. Now, my heart is bonded to the fate of the teens I know, like it or not.
But this isn't about me, it's about you.
I'm so glad it came up on the chat thread about how wrong pedophilia is, because I had no idea how many kids just didn't know about it. And I'm not sorry about the rant I went on about the evil hearts of men. Too many victims are taking the blame on themselves.
Only a couple of girls took me up on my offer for more advice on the matter, and since you were one of them, I will tell you as a representative of them how brave you are to have taken the first step. I don't think most girls can bring themselves forth to talk about such a sensitive issue as sexual assault. Especially when you are barely old enough to even know what that is.
But you do. And it breaks my heart that you do. Someone took it upon himself to teach you in his own way. I hate that he has ruined you for your future happiness.
When I say ruined, I hope you understand that this is not your permanent state. As a matter of fact, that's why I wanted to write you this letter. And I'm putting it on my blog for those other girls who have not yet mustered up the courage to say anything to anyone about what has happened to them. To those girls, I would still say, please, please tell someone. You could save many others from what you are going through, and start your own healing quicker. But even if you don't, there are a few things I want EVERYONE of you to know.
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
(That's not in all caps to shout at you, but so that if you see nothing else on this page, you see that.) Approximately 1 out of every 3 girls is sexually assaulted before they turn 18. It's probably more than that, because those are only reported cases. Imagine how many girls have not told anyone? So, yes, you probably KNOW someone who is suffering with the same secret.
2. You are NOT in TROUBLE!
One main reason girls often don't want to tell is because they are afraid of getting the man in trouble. (As many as 95% of girls know their perpetrator.) That's usually not an accident.
Men always know that molesting a girl is wrong. But often they try to make the girl think that she has some of the responsibility too. YOU DON'T! Look at it this way, were you the one who suggested anything immodest to this man? No, you didn't. How do I know? Because I know you are uncomfortable with even the thought of it. (I was a teen girl once.) So, no matter what that man says, you are not the one who will be in trouble. He is breaking the law, not you.
I do use the word "man." I am talking about anyone over the age of 18, even though an 18-year-old- might not always seem like a man.
3. You are not permanently DAMAGED!
If something has happened to you once, you might feel like it's all over. Your virtue is gone. You're now one of "those" girls. A lot of girls feel that way and then think they need to act that way. (You don't, but something tells me I don't need to tell you that.) And what's even worse is if a man continues assaulting you, you might not see a way out of it. You've given up. (I'm not sure which of those cases is yours, since you didn't disclose it to me, so you can pick whichever fits.)
If the latter is true, I encourage you again to please tell someone so that you CAN get out of this situation. If you don't think your parents will listen or believe you, tell a teacher or youth group leader. (They will tell your parents, but they are also obligated to tell authorities too. And the authorities must take you seriously.) Someone can get this to stop for you! Since we talked about these steps before, I pray you went ahead and told someone.
Once the abuse has stopped, healing can begin. There are people trained in this kind of thing who can talk to you about it. Most likely, you can find one of these people at your school. A normal life can be ahead of you.
4. YOU ARE NOT ABANDONED!
First, you need to know that people close to you care about you. I don't know your life, but I know someone, somewhere cares about you. It might not be someone in your family, or it might be. Someone, somewhere wants to see you grow up happy. Chances are, there are plenty of people who do. Heck, I don't even know you, and I hurt for you. I hate what has happened to you. I want you to be freed from the pain you are enduring.
Because of the things that have happened to you, it's normal for you to feel alone or like no one cares. Don't believe that lie. Don't let depression win! Make a list of people who care about you (Put me on the list. That's Tracy with no "e"), so you can bring yourself to a better place for them, if not just for you.
Those are the practical things you need to do. Now, I need to remind you of the bottom line truth.
You aren't going to feel like you have the energy to go through solving this problem. He did that to you. He's making it seem difficult.
But you can. Not on your own. God will give you what you need to take the next step. He has put someone in your life to help you through it, so you don't have to go through it alone. He is telling you plainly that you can overcome this, no matter how hard it seems. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength.
And let 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 be verses to bring life back to your spirit:
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
Come back to those verses as often as you need to so you can be strengthened.
What happened to you is a part of your life, Jane. And on behalf of all the adults in your life, I want to say I am so very sorry that it has happened to you. So truly sorry. But I want you to be courageous and overcome it. I want you to know that I am praying for you every day (by your real name). I pray that God will take you as His own child to bring you comfort and healing, to restore your life and and turn your sorrow into something beautiful instead.
You don't need to write back. I know you've heard everything I can give you. And I'm going to believe that God will finish His work in you. Thanks for reaching out to me.
With Christ's love,
Passion Under Grace,