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One year ago today I gathered every ounce of courage I had and did something that would forever change my writing and public story. I went live on NPR and for the very first time, publicly named my second sexual abuser — my father.

Until that day I had been very open with my story about my former cult leader and his abuse against me, but I had not yet been ready to share the details of the abuse I had endured within my very home. Prior to my interview I had considered and practiced my answers for two full days and I had never planned on opening up about my home abuse and my many failed attempts to reach out for help. But minutes after going live the words just spilled out. Immediately following the interview I sat alone in shock of what I had just done. And yet, I knew it had been the right choice.

Doing that radio interview changed everything for me. It changed how I tell my story, and it gave me my voice back — I felt so very empowered afterward. It helped me to create new boundaries and find incredible peace and freedom in finally letting go of things I should not have been clinging so tightly to. It also opened up multiple opportunities for me become a source of help and hope for other survivors.

Speaking out publicly about my father also forever changed the relationships of those around me. Many people showed their support, and many survivors confided in me about their own abuse stories. But other relationships unfortunately suffered a devastating blow. Sadly, this is the cost many survivors pay for speaking the truth and exposing dark secrets to the light.

Still, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I am no longer controlled by secrets and fears. I found my voice and my autonomy. I am a survivor and I do not hide my scars for the sake of having a “nicer” story. I believe I have told my story with truth and integrity and I am proud of that.

Sometimes the scariest moments for us turn out to be the most rewarding. ?

If you would like to hear the recording of my interview, click HERE. I shared my story of abuse and how God brought redemption in my life, and then I discuss practical ways for the church to address the issue of sexual abuse.



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About the Author

Emily Elizabeth Anderson is a Christian blogger and rising activist for people who have experienced abuse within a Christian environment.

After growing up in a fundamentalist cult for 23 years and experiencing childhood domestic violence, Emily began her journey to recovery in 2015 and eventually found Jesus to be her ultimate healer. She soon turned her passion for writing into a blog and her story has since been featured on several media outlets including NPR.

She married her best friend, Joshua, in 2020 and together they are passionate about educating on the realities of trauma survival and recovery, as well as supporting survivors they meet through their online community.

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