Thank you for the comments on my last update. They were incredibly helpful. I’ve talked to my guy friend about seeing my assailant since I told him my story, and he’s been wonderful. I told my best friend about how I felt today, and she was supportive. 

Speaking of today, it was another rough day. I didn’t understand why during the service, but I understand now. I’m trying so hard to maintain my composure each Sunday, and keeping up the act is exhausting. I’m extremely tired every week, and I deal with a lot of physical symptoms (such as muscle tension, shaking, feeling a weight on my chest, a racing heart, etc.), which are very likely connected to my emotions. It feels like a small part of me chips away every time I have to be there. My feelings and needs are last in line just to maintain an image – to show that I’m not defeated by what my assailant did to me (according to my parents). However, I don’t feel like I’m winning by dealing with the effects of trauma so often. Leaving does not mean he wins, and it never will. It’s almost like my parents chose this church over me, and it feels like a betrayal. However, I don’t know if I’m making this into something it’s not. 

Sometimes I wish my parents would acknowledge my pain. It’s hard to accept that maybe they won’t, and I’m still working on this. I oscillate between feeling angry about their response and feeling completely resigned (like nothing will change and I won’t ever leave this church). 

I’m worn out, but I’m trying to hold onto hope. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Gamato04

    Thank you for this update, it takes a lot of courage to share. I do not think that you are making this into something it’s not, because it is something. How you feel is normal and your parents should take them into account. Having to deal with such intense emotions every Sunday is not fair to you.It is great to hear you say that leaving does not mean he wins because that statement is so true. It is always okay to make decisions to protect yourself.

  2. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for coming back and sharing an updating us. So glad to hear that both your friends have been supportive since you told them. Service sounds like its been a really tough place for you to be. Would it be possible to go every other week instead of every week? I feel like every time you go things trigger memories and that can’t be good for you. Then you won’t have to leave the church but maybe you get some space from him. I’m sorry your parents won’t acknowledge your pain. We acknowledge it and we are here for you.

    Stay strong,


  3. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,

    Thank you for coming back to share another update with us! always happy to hear how you are doing. I think that you are doing all of the right things to heal from your trauma. And by this you are winning. Your feelings and emotions are completely valid, I am sorry that you are still dealing with this pain without the support of your parents. Your pain is real and it is normal. You are so strong! Keep pushing through!

    Sending lots of support,

  4. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear music2799,

    I am so happy to hear that you found the last comments on your update helpful, for we will always be here for any kind of support that you need, and I am happy to know that we were able to help you in some way, shape or form 🙂
    As far as church goes… after everything that you have told us thus far it truly does seem like that if you were to stop going to this specific church, a lot of your emotional, physical, and mental health would better from doing so. If you were to leave, I do not think that means he won, as you said. What I think it means is that a chapter of a story is closing and you can finally move on from that story. Your healing journey will still continue, but it will continue in a different way. I can only imagine that by not seeing him once a week, every week, this would lift such a weight off of your shoulders. Where your parents are concerned, it would seem to me that if they truly were validating your feelings and respected how seeing him every week makes you feel, that they would be more understanding if you chose not to go to this church anymore. It seems that they care more about their image and their affiliation with their church, then how this situation makes you feel.
    I do not mean to speculate and perhaps I am diving into more of the opinion side of myself, I just care about your and your healing journey. I think it is safe to say that everyone at AVFTI all care about your well being and healing journey honestly <3 In the meantime, continue to try and focus on the things that YOU love and make you happy. I am so happy that you continue to have a healthy support system in your corner to help you navigate through all of the tough times. Keep your head up. You got this. Stay strong <3 Sending you more hugs.

    – Jordan

  5. Lizzi

    Hey music2799,
    I’m so glad to hear that your friends were supportive when you talked to them. It helps to have friends that understand and care while you’re going through difficult times. I’m sorry about church being difficult and your parents pushing you to continue going there. You’re very strong for still going and facing him, but you shouldn’t have to go somewhere that makes you uncomfortable. Even if you left that church, it wouldn’t mean that you’re defeated by him. You’re a victim that shouldn’t be forced to be around their assailant. It’s so difficult and exhausting to keep up appearances and act like everything is okay. Those physical symptoms can be really intense and drain your energy. I hope you can find a way to relax physically and emotionally, even just for maybe an hour a day. Yoga or meditation are things I’ve always found to help, but just relaxing and watching tv can be relaxing too.

  6. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    hey friend

    I am so sorry you are feeling stuck and worn out right now. It hurts people close to us who refuse to acknowledge the pain and trauma you have been through. Your feelings are valid and We are here for you. Feel free to reach out if you need anything!

  7. candyappleb Day Captain

    Hi music2799,

    I’m sorry that you’re feeling stuck and worn out right now. It hurts when people close to us refuse to acknowledge the pain and trauma we’ve been through. Your feelings about it all are totally valid. We’re here for you. We support you no matter what. Please feel free to reach out if you need anything.

    All the best,

  8. tayestlack Volunteer

    hello love, thank you for sharing your story with us. i’m so glad you’re still hopeful. situations like these can be very upsetting and nerve wracking. you shouldn’t have to attend a church that makes you feel this way, but you’re strong to keep attending this church. maybe reaching out to your parents again to try to make them understand how you’re feeling. you are so strong. please come to us if you need anything. i hope you have a lovely day.

  9. colton95 Volunteer

    I think it’s great that you’re holding onto hope and that you found the courage and strength to share your story! As a Christian myself, I assure you that if you really feel uncomfortable attending this church then you don’t have to go! I sincerely hope that things get better for you and that you will be able to persevere! Feel free to reach out to anyone here if you need to get something off your chest.

  10. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hi again music2799,

    Thank you for coming back and updating us! I’m really glad to hear about the supportive people you have in your life.

    I very much relate to those physical symptoms you’ve described. It’s also difficult to try to manage them when you’re in a triggering space. I agree that leaving doesn’t say that you’ve been defeated, and I see why your parents’ opinion on that would feel like a betrayal. I think that they’re trying to help without really doing the hard work to sympathize with your experience. It’s so valid that you feel conflicted about this relationship with them and with your experience. Do you think that you could go to church with one of your friends instead of continuing to attend the one you’re at?

    Come back any time. Sending lots of good vibes your way!

  11. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, music2799. I’m glad to hear you have some support from your friends. I know how big a void can be left when your parents aren’t supportive though. I relate a lot to your feelings of ‘keeping up the act.’ I had to do this at a family event recently. Even though it went well, it was draining. I can imagine how exhausting it must be to do it every Sunday! As much as I wish it were different, I have to limit my involvement for the sake of my mental health. Try to remember you are in control of whether or not you continue to go to church. Do what you think is best for you, not anybody else. Your spirituality is about you, it doesn’t have to be tied to a specific church or any physical place. Your feelings and needs deserve to be a priority. Thanks for the update. Stay strong—we’re always here and we acknowledge what you’re going through.

  12. Jevati Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for updating us on what you’ve been thinking and experiencing since your last update.

    It’s really difficult when people we love have a certain idea of how they think we should respond to trauma we’ve experienced. Sometimes they genuinely just think that’s the best way (that it will lead to healing, that it will be empowering), and sometimes it just so happens to dovetail with something they want (like being able to stay at the church).

    It’s okay for you to question whether your parents would be ready and willing to leave the church if that’s what you identified as the most helpful thing for you. It doesn’t mean you’re making something out of nothing; it means you’re reading something from them that’s making you unsure of their ability to support you in the way you need. Would it be possible for you to tell them that you’re not sure if staying at the church is healthy for you, and you’d like to explore other options? It wouldn’t have to be framed as permanently leaving. You could consider trying a different church for a few weeks and see how you feel with that. I hope they would be willing to try a new church with you, but even if they’re not, maybe you could consider trying it on your own?

    At the end of the day, you deserve to be able to do what’s right for you. Not what makes things easier for other people. It’s totally valid for you to have the concerns, feelings, and reactions you have. We’re here for you, music2799.

    – Jev

  13. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    Thanks for sharing another update. I’m sorry you’re feeling so worn out and drained. Yes, trying to keep up an image is so mentally and emotionally exhausting! I think it’s very normal to feel how you’re feeling right now. And you are right – repeatedly seeing your assailant and having to regularly deal with the effects of trauma is not winning. However, it does highlight the incredible strength and courage you have. I don’t know if that helps with going, but I think it is really strong and courageous. And still crappy, because you shouldn’t have to feel forced to do that. I’m really sorry you’re in this predicament. I am sure you’ve had numerous discussions with your parents about this, but a few possibilities just came to mind. Does you assailant attend every service? I know some churches offer Saturday evening mass, so if he does not attend then, maybe you can suggest to your parents that you all start attending that service? Or if religious faith is the core of your parents concern and they are not willing to leave this church, maybe you can propose that you attend service at a different church? But hold on to the hope!!! Keep your chin up and stay strong my friend.

    Sending love and support,

  14. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi music2799,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I’m sorry that your parents don’t seem to be helping you through this. I’m glad that you at least have supportive friends to help you out. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  15. zelda Day Captain

    I’m really proud of you for leaving the church. That’s a huge step in your recovery. I’m really sorry that your parents aren’t in your corner. That’s really tough. Just know that we’re all here for you. And if you ever need extra support or just someone who’ll provide a listening ear, you can always reach out to me. I’m here for you.

  16. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear music2799,
    It is wonderful to hear that you have some people that you can rely on to be there for you. I am so sorry to hear that you are exhausted from trying to be strong while doing something to please your parents. Your feelings are valid, your health is valid, and if you are feeling betrayed, then you have been betrayed. You are correct, leaving the church in order to take care of yourself and to heal does not mean he wins. This isn’t a game or a competition, this is your life and your health and you must do what you need in order to take care of it. You aren’t being too sensitive and you aren’t making a big deal out of nothing.
    Something I have recently started doing is Future-Self Journaling, where I focus on one thing I want to change and I write about it daily for thirty days. There is some structure to it because it is designed to rewire your neural pathways in order to create the change. If you Google it, the first site that comes up will explain the process and the reasoning behind it. Her website, videos, and social media accounts are beyond helpful.
    Sending you love and strength,

  17. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    It is good to hear that your friends have been supportive. I’m sorry that you feel that way about your parents and church, I hope they can acknowledge what you have been through one day. keep holding on, we are here for you. Thank you for sharing


  18. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    I’m so happy that your friends support you. That is great. I’m sorry church is still so hard for you. Just remember, you are strong and you can get through whatever comes your way. If you see him, remember how many people have your back if he tries to talk to you and if you don’t see him thats the best. Don’t worry about having to see him though if you haven’t see him because the more you worry, the more stressed you are about seeing someone you might not see. Thank you for updating us. If you need anything else we are here.

  19. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    I’m happy to hear that the comments on your last post were helpful. It sounds like you have good support in your friends. I hope you know that we are here to support you too.

    I’m sorry that yesterday was a difficult day. Your feelings about going back to that church are valid. If you are not comfortable there than that’s okay. Is there a way that you could stop attending? You are right that just becasue your stop going there doesn’t mean that he is winning. I’m sorry that your parents aren’t more suppotive of you. You deserve all the support in the world. Please hold on. Things get better, and healing takes time. You are not alone. We understand your pain, and we are here for you. Please let us know if therei s anyting else that we can do for you.


  20. music2799 Day Captain

    Thank you for your comments. I’ve been writing about how I feel and telling people I trust about what happened.
    I guess this comment is a mini update. Yesterday, my parents noticed that I wasn’t in a good mood and asked me what was wrong (a few times). I didn’t want to tell them due to how they’ve responded in the past, so I didn’t talk about it. When my dad asked me, I didn’t tell him what was wrong, and he told me to get over it in an annoyed tone. I was already so upset, and his response made that feeling so much worse.
    Then my mom asked me this morning. I told her I didn’t want to talk about it, and she didn’t listen. She kept pushing me to tell her. I know it was out of concern, but it was so frustrating. I said that I was mad because he was still on the altar. I didn’t tell her how I felt about still having to be there because I didn’t know how she would respond.
    She essentially responded by telling me that there was no point of thinking about this and that I was being too sensitive. She said that we can’t control what they do. I know I can’t control him being on the altar, but what she said hurt me a lot.
    I had already been wondering if I was making a big deal out of this, and the way they responded amplified that feeling. I’m trying to remind myself that my feelings are valid, but it’s tough. These past couple of days have been emotionally exhausting. I have a little bit of hope, but I also feel ready to give up.

    1. Ashley Day Captain

      Thank you for continuing to provide our community with updates, music2799.

      It seems like taking the time to reflect on your feelings has provided you with powerful insight. It makes sense that maintaining your composure throughout church every Sunday feels exhausting. You don’t owe your assailant anything; I wish that your parents would let go of the idea that your presence means you are undefeated. Nobody should be forced to deal with unpleasant physical symptoms on a weekly basis. Leaving the church certainly doesn’t mean that he wins. Making the decision to leave the church means that you have acknowledged this situation is taking a toll on you and that you need to step away for your wellbeing.
      I promise that you’re not being too sensitive or making a big deal out of this.

      Please keep holding onto hope.


    2. Kayla Volunteer


      I’m sorry your parents comments were so dismissive. It seems like they don’t want to acknowledge the situation for what it is, despite the harm they’re causing you. I’m really glad to hear you’ve been able to reach out to others – that’s super important. Writing is one of my favorite ways to navigate my emotions and to vent my thoughts. Sending you love.

  21. Knina7 Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    I am so sorry that you have to be reminded of what happened every week. I am also sorry that it feels like your parents betrayed you, I can understand why it feels like that. What happened to you is in no way your fault and I am sorry that you have to keep being faced with a reminder weekly. A good way to channel your emotions is by journaling, or writing a letter to the person that hurt you. I am glad that you found some hope, you are so strong! We are always here to listen!

    Sending Love and Hope,

  22. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi there!
    I’m so sorry that you are faced with a reminder every week. I’m sure that would send tons of mixed feelings & emotions. You do have support here. I’m glad you found some hope. Sometimes having even the slightest but of hope can carry us through. Continue holding on to that. For me sometimes when I’m not sure how to feel, I journal or find another way to release the emotion. I’m glad that you came back to give an up date. Stay strong. You are worth it!

  23. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I understand why this feels like a betrayal. I would feel the same way, I think. You shouldn’t have to relive your trauma every week. No one should have to do that. Thank you for coming back to share, and please let us know how else we can support you.


  24. sam Volunteer

    I’m so glad that you’ve got people in your life that support and listen to you, and that you continue to share your story with us. You didn’t deserve anything that happened to you, and you don’t deserve to be confronted with it today, either. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing physical symptoms connected to your emotions—that is really exhausting and confusing. Hang in there. We are always here for you.

  25. musicislove

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for sharing with us again, I’m so sorry it was another rough day. Nothing is worth your well-being and if leaving that church will help you then I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I can’t imagine how hard it is to go there every week and I think you are so strong and brave to do so. Exhaustion, anxiety, and everything else your dealing with in relation makes sense, and if you want to find another church that you can feel safe at you might be a lot more comfortable. I’m also sorry that you feel like your parents chose the church over you, of course that would feel like a betrayal, everything your feeling is completely valid. I’m so glad you’re holding onto hope, you’re so brave and I’m glad you’re still here and fighting. We’re always here and will always support you!