When I was eleven, my father molested me. Then two neighborhood boys—one continued until my family moved several years later. As a young adult it seemed I had “RAPE ME” or “tell me your sexual problem” tattooed on my forehead. Boys and men, even some women, assaulted me in word and deed.

Marked? Yes, I am!

I have been told that a sexual predator can be placed in a room full of 100 women, and pick out the one survivor of sexual assault. I know that’s true in my case. Dating almost always ended with an assault, if only in my psyche. When I met my husband-to-be I only shared my telephone number—no address. We met at a neutral location for dates, and I was afraid to kiss him for a long time.

As a young wife I was propositioned by both a father and his son on separate occasions—in church. These attacks had a negative impact on my marriage bed. Almost 20 years later the son subtly repeated his intentions in front of his date and my husband. And I responded, at first with embarrassment like it was all my fault. Then I remembered:

Every word is another attack from Satan on my soul causing me to doubt my forgiveness of past hurts, and my salvation through Jesus Christ. I didn’t make the sign of the cross, or cast out this man’s demons—I testified to him about my life today. I told him what God has done, and is doing, in my life.

I thought my mark had disappeared with my forgiveness, but found it is still there. Will it ever be gone? I don’t know. I do know, however, that predators are everywhere. They are in all walks of life, and we survivors must be careful to protect ourselves. God’s plan does not include our destruction. Satan’s does. We are in the midst of spiritual warfare.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:10-17 NIV).

In Christ Alone,
Berta Dickerson

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