I grew up in a very Christian, very conservative household. We went to church two or three times a week, and I never doubted that Jesus loved me. I still don’t. But since my days of getting patches on my Awanas vest for memorizing bible verses, some things have changed.
Darkness has overcome me on more than one occasion, and I see people for who and what they really are now. I’m less naive, and more aware. I’m cautious about my thoughts and opinions because I know they’ll either offend my family or my friends, and I can’t please everyone.
In fact, I don’t have a problem admitting that in a horrifically short amount of time after I did the scariest thing I’ve ever done by making my last post public and putting it on Facebook, a family friend shared an article on her profile with the description “I’m a white female. A victim of sexual abuse…and I’m voting for Donald Trump.” Mind you that this lovely passive aggressive post came barely an hour after I came out and told my own story of abuse and why I couldn’t vote for Trump.
So, yes. There’s been backlash. Public, or not public, I could feel it. The normal family members who usually pour out nothing but love for me when I talk about my dad’s death were silent with my revelation. The usual aunts who would comment on a post about my love life? Absent when I tell the truth about my rape.
And I can’t deny that I understand it. It’s a tricky subject, and hard to talk about. Even after I posted the truth, and was overwhelmed by the amount of lovely people coming to me with their own stories, I didn’t know what to say. It’s not easy, no matter where you’re coming from. But that doesn’t make their abnormal silence hurt any less.
Because on that day, I finally stopped feeling the need to apologize for what I believe. I know people will support me, and I know people will oppose me, no matter what I say. I know some members of my family are out there thinking “you’re voting for Hillary! She’s a criminal who’s ripping babies out of vaginas!” (and to you I say, please read more), but there’s also the family members who have taken the time to understand my story. Who have commented with their love and support and how they admire my strength. The ones who, when faced with a morally confusing topic, cling to love. To them I say, thank you.
This post isn’t meant to be angry or full of spite towards my family and friends who don’t yet understand my truth, it’s to say thank you to everyone who has been by my side, in whatever capacity possible. To the aunts who comment with their love, thank you. To the Sophomore-year classmate who messaged with her support, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has seen me for who I am: survivor, Christian, Democrat, and wrapped me in their arms with love and grace.
On a personal note, I’ve been washed clean with God’s grace many times over. And His love is the only love I need. After that night, when all I felt was empty and dirty and dark and not my own, He held me in His arms and lavished me in a love so strong, I was new. My dad was there again, and I was new.
So, if you happen to disagree with me on this, I don’t really care. I am who I am and I believe what I believe because of my own personal journey. The things I’ve been through and the decisions I’ve made. I cannot consciously support a man who is ignorant, unqualified, cruel, and basically the furthest thing from Jesus and still call myself a Christian. I can’t vote for a man who has been accused of sexually assaulting numerous women when I myself am a survivor.
Feel free to disagree, but that’s what I believe. And to everyone who has been there for me, thank you. I love you, and I appreciate you more than you know.