Unspoken Secrets

This is for the little girl who was violated, touched and sexually abused when she was young. The little girl who has kept it a secret all her life, because she has been too afraid and ashamed to talk about it. I pray and hope this gives you a voice and allows you to see that you are not alone!

Sexual abuse often happens in secret and this secrecy combined with it being a taboo in our habeshian culture results in it being, something that is never talked about openly. If a question or a conversation ever arises about sexual abuse, we are often left to feel as if it’s something that never happens, and we should never talk about such things.  As a result, when it happened to you, you suffered in silence. Not only have you gone through the abuse alone, but you had to try to overcome the effects of your abuse all by yourself. Struggling with such secret can make you think you are different from everybody else. Sadly, if you ever found the courage to mention it to someone, it might have been shoved under the rug as if it never happened to you. You were simply told to never mention it again, because such things never happen in our habeshian culture and what will others think? So, you simply didn’t talk about it and you kept it a secret all these years.

Like all children, you were a defenseless child and whoever did this to you whether it’s your dad, your stepdad, your grandfather, your uncle, your cousin, your brother, your neighbor, a family friend, or a stranger. They are to blame! That person robbed you of something precious and something that is irreplaceable. They can never undo what they did to you. You had no idea the person who was supposed to be there to protect you could harm and violate you in such ways.  Within a split second, the moment he touched you, your whole world had turned upside down.  He told you to never tell anyone and being so young, you listened. No one had warned you that these things do happen. Being so young, you couldn’t possibly understand what had just happened to you, because really who can comprehend something like this? Sexual abuse has lasting effects no matter how old you were when it happened, it’s something that is never supposed to happen, and it should never happen. But sadly, it really does happen, and it’s happened to other young girls like you. Therefore, you must know you are not alone.

I know you’ve been struggling with this secret for years and it’s why you’ve started to believe you are not good enough, you deserved it, that you are shameful, that you could never be loved, you are damaged and worthless and that something must be wrong with you. When in fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, my beautiful sister. You are beautiful on the inside and outside. Your innocence was taken away from. You never asked for it to be taken and it was never your fault. No matter how many times you’ve told yourself that you are to blame, or that it was your fault. You must understand, you were never to blame, and it was never your fault!  Nothing you did or said caused this to happen to you. I want you to tell yourself over-and-over again, until you start to believe what you went through was never your fault. If you have to say it a thousand times, so be it. Say it a thousand times until you believe it.  Because until you truly do, how will you be able to move on from something like this? 

After experiencing such abuse, you might have asked yourself, how can God do this to me? Why would He allow such things to happen to me? You might have even distanced yourself from God believing He is to blame. When in fact, He was never to blame just as much as it wasn’t your fault.  Satan wants nothing more than for us to blame God and to believe God is not good and God does not care about us, but God does care, and He loves you very much. You must believe God never did this to you and it’s something He would never condone. We have a merciful God; He gives even the evilest person an opportunity to repent and to turn to Him. That’s why sometimes God deals directly with others’ sinful behavior against us and other times, it’s just a matter of time before they will have to answer to Him.

I hope you can find great comfort in knowing our Lord and Savior, understands abuse and understands what you have gone through more than anyone else in this world. As He suffered one of the greatest abuses known to mankind, to the point of death so that He can give us life (1 Peter 2:24), so our Heavenly Father is never to blame. He loves you and grieves over all sin and He hates sin. That’s why you should never think or believe that He would ever support what happened to you. Therefore, I pray and hope you will never allow this evil act that was done against you to keep you away from God, but instead that you will use it to draw you closer to Him. Only with God do we have hope for today and tomorrow, and most importantly in overcoming our painful past.  I would also like to encourage you to get a spiritual father and begin to talk to him about what happened to you. Your spiritual father will be there for you to help guide you through the healing process with prayers and scriptures.

My beautiful Tewahedo Orthodox sisters, I would also hope, if a survivor of such abuse reveals to you what has happened to her. That you would be there to hear and protect her with the utmost respect.  As Tewahedo Orthodox sisters, we must be there to help and encourage one another; especially for those who break their silence. And if you are reading this and it’s happened to you. I’m sorry and I wish it never had. If you haven’t talked to anyone about it, please do. If you can’t find or don’t feel comfortable to talk to your friends, your parents, or relatives. Don’t ever hesitate to contact me, I started this blog especially for you. We all need someone, even if it’s just to lend an ear.

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to thank the young lady who brought this issue to my attention and may God bless her for doing so. As she heals from her childhood sexual abuse, she has found her voice to speak up and wants to help other young ladies in similar situations. She’s very strong and I commend her for speaking up, because it’s never easy. When I asked her what advice she has for others, she wants parents to be aware of who they bring into their homes. As habeshian people, we are so welcoming and we allow relatives to stay in our house and never think twice about talking to our children, because we don’t believe something like this can ever happen to them. She stated, our people need to wake up and understand that this evil does exist in our culture and we are not exempted, just because we are habeshians. Parents need to know who they are leaving their children with and who they are permitting to watch them. Parents start teaching your children about physical boundaries; what’s appropriate and what is not. Start communicating with your children at a young age and don’t wait until it’s to late. Sexual abuse is something that NO ONE should ever experience!

May God give you comfort, peace and strength to overcome your past hurt. 

Author Selam Seyoum
tewahedoorthodoxgirl@gmail.com

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4  (NKJV)

4 comments

  1. OMG God Forbid – I would have never thought that this is something that would happen in our hanesha culture. I have kids and have spoken to then about these things and what is appropriate but never in a thousand years have I thought this would happen being habesha I have always been more concerned about others, but that does not mean that I am not weary of people that I do not know very well. I always have one eye on daughter especially, as she is so friendly and trustworthy that I worry anyone can take advantage. Thank you for writing this blog and a special thank you to the young lady who brought this matter to your attention. May God give her the strength to overcome the abuse she has had to suffer 🙏.

    Like

    1. Yes, I agree! It’s shocking to hear because it’s never really talked about in our culture. It makes me wonder, how many young girls (or boys) have experienced it but have never been able to talk about it. Leaving them to suffer in silence. It’s really sad.

      I personally have counselled young girls who have been physically and sexually abused in North America for over 10 years, and it never occurred to me this could be a problem in our habeshian culture, it’s because we just don’t hear about. This was definitely an eye opener for me.

      Truly, I am thankful to the young lady who shared her story with me. God bless her indeed 🙏🏽

      Like

  2. Selam sisters in Christ, Thank you for bringing this up may God protect all of you from every evil. I am really grateful that we are talking about this.
    I would like to add something that is as important to talk about while we are on this topic, our community needs to be aware of the different kinds of abuses, sexual assault, rape and other forms. The ones that has experienced sexual assault are as hurt as the onse that are raped. If someone open up about this with you please don’t ignore their struggles just because they are not raped. Also always trust when they say they are hurt.

    May God give all of us the strength to be by each others side.

    Liked by 1 person

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