Over the last several weeks the ugly reality of abuse and harassment in America has been headline news. Those who have come forward had been suffering in silence for years, and in some cases decades. While many have come forward, there are still thousands more who continue to suffer in silence. Like Tamar in 2 Samuel 13, they have been threatened by their abusers, and encouraged by family members and those in power to keep quiet.
In 2 Samuel 13, Tamar is violated by her brother Amnon. King David, their father, learns of the crime, gets angry, but does nothing. He does not protect his daughter, nor hold Amnon accountable for his crime. Absalom, another son of David, tells Tamar not to tell anybody what her brother, Amnon, did to her. Not only does he tell her to be quiet but he tells her not to let what happened bother her. Tamar would spend the rest of her life suffering in silence. She was the victim of abuse, but was treated like the abuser. She was made to feel that she brought it on herself and contributed to her own victimization. She spent the rest of her life in a destroyed and ruined state. She was abandoned by all who could help her, deserted, and in personal poverty. Absalom took justice into his own hands, but Tamar never got the help she needed.
In our families and in our churches, we have those who are suffering in the silence of desolation. In some instances, people are aware of the abuse but have told the victim of the abuse not to talk about it. Victims have been told, “Just get over it. Don’t think about it. Don’t let it bother you.” They are never given validation, and the opportunity to hurt so that they can heal. Those who could help and should help have abandoned the victims and treated them like they did something wrong.
Although Tamar’s story ends with her suffering in the silence, that does not have to be the way your story ends. There is salvation from your suffering. Understand that what happened to you was not your fault. There was nothing you did to deserve being violated. You are still valuable, God loves you, and you can overcome what happened to you.
Spiritually, bring all your painful feelings and hard questions to God in prayer. Invite Him to minister to you through His Spirit and His Word. And as He heals you, seek to bring His healing to others. Believe that God has a good future filled with new hope in store for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Walk into your future one step at a time, knowing that you'll make progress with every step you take. Additionally, support groups, professional counseling, Christian counseling, and agencies that provide resources to victims of abuse have been proven helpful in assisting people in overcoming the pain of abuse.
If you are currently in an abusive situation make safety your first priority. You can call 911 for immediate help. Develop a safety plan in case you need to leave home quickly. For help call 800-799-SAFE for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or 211.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.