Wendy is a survivor. She is passionate about reaching out to other survivors of sexual abuse and helping them learn how to thrive in person and on her website, Finding Hope and Healing. Wendy’s book, Hope and Healing: A Survivor’s Faith-Based Perspective on Recovering from Sexual Abuse, is for survivors and their support people. She loves sipping cherry hot chocolate, wearing toe socks, and doing yoga to find figurative and literal balance. She listens to audiobooks on 2x speed while caring for her less-than-perfect house and just-right-for-her husband and six spirited children in their southern Utah home. Wendy has written over 600 family-friendly articles and book reviews for familyshare.com and the Deseret News with millions of views and counting.
You can read Wendy’s story here or, in part, below.
I’m not exactly sure where to start with my story. There are some things I know happened, but I also strongly believe there’s abuse I don’t cognitively remember.
The first instance I’m aware of happened a couple weeks before I turned 3 years old. I’ve always known that I had been inappropriately touched by my uncle, but I never really knew the extent of what had happened. I told my mom something about the abuse afterward, but no action was taken other than telling me to stay away from him.
While going through therapy through LDS Family Services, I had a couple of snapshot memories of the sexual abuse I endured as a toddler–the touch was much more than I had thought. His actions against me were more severe than I previously allowed myself to think. This discovery shook my reality, my sense of security, and made me question so much of my life.
Sexual abuse continued throughout my childhood and perhaps into my pre-teen or early teen years (again, I’m not very sure on timelines or all the details. I have scattered memories I struggle to piece together). This was not just from my uncle, but from others in my family or people in my life. They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but maybe it does. How does one person, one child, get abused more than once by more than one person?
The conflict between right and wrong, and what I was basically raised in as normal, created a raging inner turmoil. What I was being taught at church and what was happening at home were not in harmony. It is a confusing situation for anyone to be in. Like, sex before marriage is wrong and pornography is wrong, but is it when that’s what’s happening at home? How is a child supposed to discern what is really right and really wrong?
Eventually, I disconnected somewhat from my home life. I busied myself at school with many extra-curricular activities including theater, speech team, badminton, and various clubs. I tried to become someone other than who I believed I was. I attended seminary and read my scriptures regularly–surely I could pay a penance of sorts and make up for all I thought I had done wrong, right? . . . Read the rest here.