“I have a beautiful life now and not matter what you do, you will never affect me again” ~Elizabeth Smart.
These words came from a young woman who was victimized by being raped and forced to drink alcohol and take drugs over a nine month period. Yet she stood in court this week and faced her abuser with calmness, clarity and most of all Empowerment. How many of us have faced a violent crime or situation where we were abused? Have you taken the steps to move out of the victim role to Empowerment? What if we used the words, “I Am Empowered” instead of “I Am a victim”?
I can personally relate to Elizabeth Smart because I experienced sexual abuse as a child by a family member. It was so traumatic to me that I did not begin to remember the pieces until I was in my mid-thirties. There were stages that I went through and the first stage was being a victim. The second stage was anger and hatred. Then I began to wonder why it happened to me. Why would someone do that to a child? Again relapsing into the victim role. It took some time to work through my emotions before I moved on to the stage of saying, “I survived sexual abuse and I’m going to be okay”. After a great deal of counseling and processing my memories I began to heal. It was not instinctual or easy to move on but I felt guided to find some peace. Until recently I was not able to coin a term to replace the word Survivor but being inspired by Elizabeth Smart’s story I have realized that the word I have wanted to express is “Empowered. I Am Empowered”. Another “aha” moment.
“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude”. ~ Charles Swindoll
Our attitude about our past directly affects how we act today and in our future. We have a choice. You can stay in the victim role, move to survivor and talk about it but not completely heal, or you can move on to Empowerment and not only heal yourself but positively affect others too. Elizabeth Smart chose to be Empowered and I am certain that she will encourage others to heal as she did.
I cannot change what was done to me in my childhood but I CAN choose how I deal with it. Sharing my story and helping others to heal is part of my healing process. Forgiving the abuser was part of my healing too. In spite of what he did, he taught me some very valuable lessons. I am not grateful for the actual experience but I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to move beyond the abuse. Being abused does not define who I Am as a person. Yet being Empowered is the gift that I have taken from my experience.