I am thirty years old. This year has been very difficult. Actually, my whole life has been difficult…. I was abused from a very early age, the sexual abuse by a family member until I was fifteen.

As long as I can remember, I have lived a bad and dirty life…. I feel like I’m unworthy, and wonder who could ever love me. I feel guilty because I have bad desires. I’m confused. Today I had such a desire to take my own life! … I have searched the Internet for ways to do it quickly. I’m getting so depressed!

I’ve grown very distant from God in my heart. He has always seemed so far away. I try to pray, but it’s hard for me to believe. I feel trapped, and I lack faith.

Dear Friend,

Your story makes us very sad for you and angry with the person who abused you and stole your childhood. Medical research has shown that sexual abuse at a young age completely alters the psychological and emotional development of the child. In addition, in order to survive, the child acquires coping skills that will make it more difficult in the future to relate to others or have close relationships. The damaging effects can last a lifetime.

The first thing you need to know is that none of this is your fault. You are the victim. Even if you eventually cooperated with the abuser or kept it a secret, it is still not your fault. You were a child. You were not responsible.

All of the current emotions and thoughts that you describe are normal in your circumstances. If you will just search on the Internet, you will find that the way you feel is the same way that most victims of childhood sexual abuse feel. The confusion and isolation that you are experiencing are common and to be expected. You are not alone.

You desperately need to find a support group of people who have also been victims of sexual abuse. Start by going to your medical doctor. Tell her about your depression and thoughts of suicide. Tell her about the abuse, and ask for help in finding a support group. When you meet and communicate regularly with others who have been abused, you will begin to work your way out of the maze and confusion.

You obviously have faith and belief in God, or you would not have chosen to tell us your story. It doesn’t matter that you can’t “feel” God right now; He is not offended. Your abuse is not separating you from God, for that was not your fault and was not a sin on your part. However, just like all of us, you have sinned in other ways, and that does separate you from God. But it is easy to fix! The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”(1) Confess your sins and ask God to be close to you. Ask for His help and strength and wisdom. He is waiting for you to call.

We wish you the best,

1 1Jn 1:9