I’m sitting in my counseling office and the woman across from me clears her throat, looks down at the floor, turns slightly toward the door. Fear is telling her to stay quiet, keep safe, don’t let the darkness out or it might overcome her.
But today she chooses courage. She looks me in the eyes and tells me what has been done to her by someone who should have loved, cherished, and protected her. When she finishes I say three simple words, “I believe you.” And the healing can begin.
This happened years ago but we’re living in a time now when more women than ever are daring to speak their stories, both in private and public. It’s easy to make these conversations about issues or politics, to take sides or voice an opinion. But today I want to invite us to instead remember this kind of pain is always first and foremost not about issues but individuals.
Suzie, Jennifer, and I recently interviewed Tiffany Bluhm, the author of Prey Tell: Why We Silence Women Who Speak the Truth and How We Can Speak Up, on the More than Small Talk podcast. Before doing so, I read the book cover to cover. It opened my eyes and broke my heart.
I still keep returning to one passage…
“As a woman, to be believed is to exhale. No longer holding your breath in hopes that someone will recognize your traumatic story for what it is: the unpopular truth. To be believed is to be seen and heard. To be acknowledged and understood. Women throughout the centuries have longed for their identities, stories, and voices to be believed. To be honored. Since the unfolding of history, God has asked us to listen to the voices of women. We must not miss our moment.”
I don’t know what your moment to listen will be. It might be in a one-on-one conversation like I had. It might occur at work or church. It might involve details from decades ago or just last week.
Whatever the circumstances, when we’re asked to listen let’s be safe spaces for the brave stories of women. Even the stories that make us uncomfortable, that we want to turn away from, that we wish we never had to hear. Then let’s say words that can let the healing begin…
I believe you.
I see you.
I’m with you.
I’m for you.
Tell me more.
Prey Tell releases March 16th but you can preorder your copy now. It’s not an easy, comfortable read. But it’s a brave, powerful, and important one. You can also listen to our interview with Tiffany this week on More than Small Talk.