A month ago I went back to St. Kitts. I had not visited this beautiful island, a home away from home, in 5 and a half years. I had served as a community development worker here.
However, five and a half years ago I was assaulted, strangled, beaten, robbed, and an attempted rape took place on my body, mind, and spirit. 4 years ago I went through a trial that sent my attacker away to prison for 46 years.
Since my assault I have fought through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, nightmares, anxiety, and fear to work to overcome the storm and become healthier and better.
My trip to St. Kitts was a big deal for me. I had many positive experiences serving there, but my last encounter on the island was so hurtful, traumatic, painful. I thought that my visit to St. Kitts was primarily to have the courage to visit the prison and confront the man who assaulted me. For different reasons that did not happen, but God knows!
I remember sitting in the home of my adopted family during my visit last month. On the local station they were showing a celebration on television of the men in prison. I was confused. People in the community where seeing on television a live party for men in prison. They had a live band, food, music, and the whole works. I was still confused.
Yes, people could see their loved ones who were in prison via television. But, what about the people who were watching whose perpertrator’s were in that same prison. How did we as victims and survivors feel? Did we want to see the rapists, attackers, perpertrator, and robbers who hurt us?
Even though it was only television my heart raced. What if I saw him, the man who hurt me? It had been years since I had an anxiety attack but I felt it coming. I took a deep breathe and was about to leave the room, but before I left I asked my adopted sister. “Could you please turn the station off? The man who assaulted me is in that prison.” She quickly changed the channel and noted, “you should have told me.” Deep breathe!
My trip to St. Kitts ultimately became one of the most restorative experiences of my life. I revisited every place that had brought me peace at one point, but had also brought me fear at another point. I visited all of the girls I had taught and who taught me. They are now working women!
I went to the churches I had once taught and preached at. I reconnected with them, teaching and preaching again! I walked down the deserted path where I had once seen my attacker. Instead of seeing his face, I saw the sun, palm trees, and small monkey’s! I walked around the community and instead of being afraid, I received multiple hugs and cheek kisses from friends daily.
Though I was afraid to walk alone at night, I slept peacefully. No nightmares, no pain, and when anxiety came up I took a deep breathe, said a prayer, and talked to God until I fell asleep again.
Healing is a journey and sometimes it is a battle to get to the other side of a storm. But, it’s possible. With God all things are possible.
Years ago my aunt told me to keep this scripture close. She was right.
Psalms 91:1-16 (NKJV) reads:
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
Hope Writer: Argrow “Kit” Evans
Swahili (In English)
1 Yeye ambaye anakaa katika nafasi ya siri ya aliye juu Je kukaa chini ya kivuli cha Mwenyezi. 2 Mimi kusema ya Bwana, “Yeye ni kimbilio langu na ngome yangu, Mungu wangu, katika Yeye nitamtegemea.”