In this first blog, I’d like to begin with some questions that you may be itching to ask; especially, if you have read For the Silenced Ones.
If you have read my book: Whether you are a survivor, are walking along with a survivor as they seek healing, or just happened upon a compelling book cover, my prayer is that the redeeming power of the love of Jesus met you as you read the pages.
Now, let’s tackle some questions.
Probably the most frequently asked question is this. “So, Charisse, I know those things, like satanic rituals, they happened like back in the ’80s, but they don’t still happen today, do they?” As much as I would love to answer that to the negative, the answer is that it most certainly does happen today in many communities. Based on all the people God has brought into my life that are survivors and from healers who are working to help survivors, this type of abuse is very common. A local prayer minister once told me that he averages one person a week in need of ministry from satanic ritual abuse. In fact, there is probably someone in your life right now who is a survivor of ritualistic abuse.
A large part of the reason I wrote this story is to bring awareness to this fact. (I’ll go into more of the why I wrote it in another blog.) There really are “silenced ones” who are afraid to tell their story because they fear no one will believe them, they are full of blank spaces with no memory of large segments of their lives, often a result of a fragmented mind left after the abuse, or they are currently in the grips of an abuser who is silencing them through coercion.
“Are you an expert on SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse)?” The answer is affirmatively “no”. I’m not a psychologist, a licensed counselor, or psychiatrist. I’ve never studied up on the subject because quite frankly to do so would have thrown me into mental chaos. In fact, I was afraid of my “psych” friends in college, because I was terrified to learn how my mind worked. My experience with the subject matter is from personal experiences with my own journey of healing, from the many survivors’ stories I’ve listened to over the years, and from the stories from “healers” who worked with survivors.
The burning question, “Charisse, is this your story?” The best answer I can give you is there are elements to this story that are similar to my own, but many elements of abuse are common among most people who have experienced it.
If you were to sit down and hear five ritual abuse survivors stories who had never spoken to each other nor had “studied up on what to say”, they would all sound extremely familiar. The reason is because many of the ways secret societies split the mind into dissociative parts are very similar. Much of the abuse is also similar, for example, sex trafficking is extremely common, blood covenants are also almost always present, etc.
Many of the challenges that ritualistic survivors have to face are the same.
One of the largest challenges I feel most face is the fear of no one believing their story when they have a difficult time even believing it for themselves. When flashbacks come, memories may seem faded or surreal, so many survivors have an extremely difficult time grasping their own stories, because of the shattered state it leaves the mind in. I have a friend in her 70’s, that still has a hard time believing that her story is true.
If the survivor happens to be in “church”, almost always when a survivor’s story begins to come out, they are rejected, because it appears that the church simply gets “uncomfortable with the subject matter” and doesn’t know how to help, so they turn them away. This to me is extremely sad. The response is typically fear-based, furthering the victim’s beliefs that they are crazy, beyond help, mentally unstable, etc..
In truth, most survivors I know, especially those who have walked through a good bit of healing, are the most compassionate, forgiving, resilient, and faithful friends one could be honored to have. They are sisters and brothers who are just very broken. They are “the least of these”, and how you treat them, Jesus says, is how you treat Him.
“What’s the worst thing I could do as a friend to a survivor?” Tell them their story is not true, and/ or turn your back on them and walk away because it’s too much for you.
One of the best things you can do, whether you fully can grasp it or not, is to look them in the eyes, and tell them you believe them. The way my counselor always put it to me was “Your memories may be distorted at times because of the trauma you went through, but your feelings don’t lie. If you feel terrified, something happened, even if the car was really red, instead of you remembering it blue. You deal with it as if it happened because, in their mind, it did.” Some of the greatest healing moments for me have been when a friend has looked me in the eyes and validated me. What a tremendous gift that is.
“Charisse, demons aren’t real, are they?” Well, whether you believe the book called the Bible or not, it doesn’t take much exposure to life to realize there are evil forces at work in our world. Yes, I most assuredly believe in the existence of demons, but I also most assuredly believe that Jesus Christ defeated all the powers of hell, death, and the grave, and crushed the enemies head under His foot. So, though demons can have the rights to torture us, (see Matt. 18, Eph. 4:26-27, and many others), Jesus has the ultimate authority. When we repent, He sets us free.
“Is DID (dissociative identity disorder) just demon possession?” No. A human is created to have protective mechanisms that are triggered into place by abuse, especially as a child. I call this a “gift of God” because it enables people to still function in life until those wounds can heal.
I do believe the demonic can play on the disassociated parts. These would be called mental strongholds in some cases. These patterns of thought that don’t line up with God’s word and God’s framework for us, set themselves up against the knowledge of God, and later in life can become like a curse to us, causing sickness, disease, mental illness, etc.. (I’m not saying all mental illness or physical illness is sin based btw.) Parts of the mind are not demonic in nature. They are just pieces of a broken mind, soul. In Isaiah 61, Jesus said He came to heal the brokenhearted. A broken heart is a broken heart. He can put together those pieces.
“How did you learn to hear God so well?” I laugh inside at this question. First of all, I firmly believe God speaks to us today. The sheep hear the true shepherd’s voice. Yet, sometimes there is so much noise it can be hard to hear. I learned to hear God in walking out my healing journey with Him. My counselors prompted me to hear His voice and held me accountable to God’s truth revealed in His word. Other ways He spoke to me are through the Bible, nature, friends, family… There are countless ways God speaks to us. Often, we are just not aware of it. But He is speaking. And His voice sounds like love.
“How long does it take to be free of things?” Well, this is a hard question to answer, because everyone’s journey is so unique to them. Jesus doesn’t heal the same way twice, because He is creative and knows the best way for us. For some, freedom may seem very quick, but that’s often because we haven’t viewed the backstory. Many times, for the Satanic Ritual Abuse survivor that journey towards freedom takes a lifetime. And that’s OK. I’ve had to learn that my own brokenness that is left can be beautiful. God will continue to press into my brokenness bringing more freedom, but also He will use my brokenness to lead someone else into healing.
“Where do I start or help someone else to start this journey?” Well, I think it’s best to start with prayer and ask the true Lord Jesus to bring in the right people at the right time to help you along. Take the first step, and read through the resources, and contact the places you feel prompted to. The first step leads to the next step. It may get messy, but that’s OK too. Life is messy. And God is good with messy. So, let’s begin.
Pray with me today.
“True Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your great love for me, even if I can’t feel it or see it now. I ask you to bring into my life the right people and resources that can help me on my own unique healing journey with you. I will follow you as you lead me. Please protect me from anyone or thing that would try to distract me or keep me from pursuing You and the path for healing you have for me. Give me the courage to follow You. I pray your will be completed in my life. I surrender to You, true Lord Jesus. Show me how much You truly love in me in ways I can understand it.
In Jesus’ Name,
My friend, as you prayed, I also agree with you and pray you will find the path to freedom and healing in the love of God. Blessings.