By Deun Ivory
Please save me.
I am hurting.
These are words that never made it passed my parted lips. I was an adolescent who was all too familiar with sexual abuse by the age of 11. With no hope in sight, I’d made the conscious decision to become a voiceless victim.
For 7 long years I was subjected to the sexual perversion of my stepfather and never spoke a word of it. You would think that my mother’s intuition would serve its purpose and somehow alert her that something was wrong,
She remained clueless — even through my emotional transparencies — she noticed nothing.
I wanted so badly for someone to recognize the joy that wholly dissipated at the mention of me going home to my stepdad. I wanted someone to recognize the fear that found a home in my weeping eyes.
Year after year the abuse proceeded until I was off to college. I was finally separated from the man who tainted my innocence. Through vital disconnect, I found myself longing for something or someone to fill this gaping hole that became a part of my identity. I longed to be free from the internal rage that developed while keeping the molestation a secret. I longed to be free from the misconception that the abuse was my fault.
God gave me that.
I found healing in community. I opened up. I released. I shared my shame. I started reading my Bible and realized that forgiveness was the only corridor to reclaiming my freedom. After reading about Jesus and truly experiencing His love for me through day-to-day displays of grace, I was compelled to pray for my stepdad instead of hating him. I no longer looked at him as a villain. He was a troubled man who made terrible mistakes. There is no excuse for what he did to me, but harboring hate towards him doesn’t make me feel any better. It doesn’t remove pain, it exacerbates it. It builds a wall, trapping me inside.
Unveiling my scars to people who may be looking for hope, answers or closure, has given me a sense of healing that not only helps me but also helps others. I am now absent of self-destructive resentment, which has given me strength to move on and strength to let go of my past.
Deun Ivory is a photographer, illustrator and writer. Her passion for the arts, the gospel and the black aesthetic serves as a huge inspiration for many of her art pieces. She uses visuals to communicate her interpretation of beauty, truth and grace. With a distinct style of unorthodox minimalism in both, photography and illustrations, she has managed to form her own creative lane. View her work and follow her here: Deunivory.me, Instagram: @Deunivory