Edwards finds hope in educating

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Edwards recently attended the Christian Communicators Conference to hone her speaking skills. She also delved deep into her own heart, and found strength in a kind of forgiveness.

“I had to forgive my mother, who neglected and did not protect me. I had to forgive the people who had laughed at me in my life, or called me degrading names because of what I’ve experienced and its effects on me. I had to forgive the violators, and understand that when they did what they did, they were under Satan’s control. I had to forgive myself for my own mistakes,” she said. “And then I had to forgive God, who saw what happened and did not stop it. I know now that God was with me even in the darkest times, and I wouldn’t have survived otherwise.”

Education about childhood sexual abuse will prevent it from happening, as people learn the signs and symptoms and how to help, she said. Many times, children can’t or won’t tell what’s happening because they’re frightened, and sometimes the perpetrators may be the only adults paying much attention to them at all.

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Sometimes perpetrators groom the children, giving them gifts or special attention in order to buy their silence. And children, with their kind hearts, often do not want any harm to happen to anyone at all, not even to the person who’s harming them, Edwards said.

“If I had not been educated about this, I would still be a miserable person,” she said. “I want to reach every adult in every church, because I believe in the power of prayer. If we admit that it happens here, we can begin to end it. We can’t reach into every home at once, so I want to begin in places that accept God, and use my faith.”

Edwards wants every child or teen who has been hurt to know that no matter what the circumstances, it isn’t the child’s or teen’s fault.

Edwards writes a blog at www.writeblessings.blogspot.com, and writing has helped her feel whole again, she said. Prayer has been a huge source of comfort for her, too.
Edwards has four children and three grandchildren, and her husband has become a source of kindness and support in her life, she said, but not everyone understands.

“Just because I’ve found a place of overcoming doesn’t mean that other people are there yet, but I want to do what I can to begin to offer education and comfort,” she said. “I like what I see in the mirror now. It’s a God thing.”