Hope in the Darkness
About the Guest
In the United States, 1.3 women are raped every minute. Today rape survivor Wendy Blight remembers her attack 22 years ago and tells Dennis Rainey what she would do to protect her own daughter from sexual assault. Hear Wendy share how she overcame her fear and even found forgiveness for her attacker.
In the United States, 1.3 women are raped every minute. Hear Wendy share how she overcame her fear and even found forgiveness for her attacker.
Hope in the Darkness
Bob: Before you introduce Wendy Blight to our listeners. We have been encouraging them all this month to spend some time together as a couple or as a family each day in God’s word throughout 2010.
Dennis: Reading the Bible. You do it in the morning, before you go to school, maybe. Some families may want to do it on the way to school.
Bob: Yes, you use to do that, right?
Dennis: I use to do that and pray for our kids. Maybe, it will be at the end of the day or at the dinner table. Perhaps as you go to bed with your spouse, just a brief time of reading the scripture and talking about it a bit.
Bob: You have been pointing us to a particular scripture each day so far this year. The scripture you are pointing us to is the one in that you use in your daily devotional Moments With You that you and your wife Barbara wrote so what is today’s scripture?
Dennis: First Corinthians 13: 7. And everyone who knows 1st Corinthians 13 knows that’s the love chapter. Love bares all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures’ all things. You know this is a great verse for any family, for that matter, any person who is going through a difficult time to remember the truth. First of all about God’s love for you. Secondly how we are to model this kind of love for those in our families.
This is a great verse to talk about all these things it says love does. Love bares all things. Are you baring the weaknesses of your spouse? Believes all things; are you respecting your spouse and trusting them? Hopes all things; endures all things. Love is an expression of unconditional acceptance of another person and it does mean that when you speak the truth you speak it in love.
Perhaps before the day is over you take these four things that are described about love and talk about what one thing your spouse could do to help you feel more loved.
Bob: If our listeners are interested these daily devotionals aresent out via email. You go to FamilyLifeToday.comand sign up to have the emails sent to you or you can get a copy of the book Moments With You by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. You will find information at our website at FamilyLifeToday.com about how you can receive a copy of the book.
Now as I said we are going to be dealing with a theme today. Actually, we have been dealing with it all this week. A theme that parents may not want their younger children to be tuned in for because it revolves around a sexual assault that took place in the life of our guest Wendy Blight. This is a subject that somewhat surprisingly Dennis is more common than most of our listeners probably realize.
Dennis: It is, in fact some statistics around this subject indicate that between one in three and one in four women in America will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. In fact America leads the world in terms of sexual assault and rape. We have a guest who has been willing to step forward and share a sensitive story but an honest story about her own experience. Wendy Blight joins us again. Wendy welcome back.
Wendy: Oh, thank you
Dennis: Thank you for sharing your story. Wendy was a trial lawyer for a number of years with three different firms before she started having children. She had a couple of them. She has been married to her husband Monty since 1987. She has written a book called Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story.
Wendy as we talk about these statistics they really are alarming. Rape is not one of these subjects that are talked about so a lot of it goes unreported, right?
Wendy: Absolutely. It goes unreported for many reasons. Sometimes, because what I talked about, the threat and the fear that the person will come back and hurt you again. Also, for many women especially in date rape situations because of shame or guilt which need not be there but it is.
Bob: I am guessing that most of the sexual assault that takes place; is that. It’s a guy and a girl who are on a date and the guy becomes aggressive, and a girl says stop and he doesn’t. She winds up being raped.
Wendy: Those situations as well as the ones with the date rape drug where the girl is not necessarily there on a date but they’re at a party or they’re somewhere together. And she is the victim of the date rape drug in her drink.
Dennis: You know, as we’re talking here. Wendy, it occurs to me there may be some of our listeners that don’t understand or know about the date rape drug and how it works but it really is prevalent on the college campuses and is now finding its way to high schools, correct?
Wendy: Correct. What it is, is that just someone can drop this drug in a drink and then in a short time, I don’t know what the time period is, the girl is basically unable to function very well. Then doesn’t have a memory of what happens to her and then wakes up. Quite often, they’ll find themselves on a bed or somewhere they don’t remember being because they were taken there.
Bob: You have been aware of this happening with girls in high school, right?
Wendy: Yes. Just recently, I always talked with college girls. I have now been made aware of three situations where I live where there were young girls age 16 to 18 years who were the victim of the date rape drug.
Dennis: In a lot of cases these rapes are never reported. The statistics I have indicate only 16% are ever brought forward to the police.
Wendy: Yes, that’s correct. First of all, for the reasons that we talked about that they don’t want to tell. Then, I think also the process that has to be gone through all the way to take something to court. Some people just don’t want to go through all of that because they are already dealing with so much pain.
Bob: I am a dad. You’re a mom. You have a 15 year old daughter, right?
Bob: What have you said to her so that she knows how to handle herself and be protected?
Wendy: Well, probably too much for a child. Having me for a mother is not a good thing and as well as her friends and her mother’s friends.
I tell her most importantly as she’s at an age now where people begin to have parties. She may go to parties next year or the next year and in college. My most important, I guess, advice I want to give to anyone who is going out to a place where they are going to have a drink in their hand. First don’t let it out of your sight and if you put it down anywhere then don’t come back and get it. Just get yourself another drink.
Bob: Whether its ice tea, a coke or something more.
Bob: What about rules for your daughter related to being out on a date with a guy?
Wendy: Thankfully, she’s not there yet being 15. When I talk about this I say we should always insure that when you’re going out for the first time you can meet in a public place, meet them at the restaurant, have a great time there and then leave. You start to get to know somebody that way.
Or, if you insist on going on a date with someone you don’t know then you make sure someone knows where you are at all times. What time you’re going to get to the restaurant. What time you’re leaving and where you go after that. Always make sure people know where you are, who you are with and what you’re doing.
Bob: You say someone you don’t know, what if it’s a nice guy and you have gotten to know him at school? He seems like a good guy, maybe you’ve gone out a couple of times. When can you think this is probably safe for us to go out and be alone together?
Wendy: Well, I think the longer you date someone especially in a college situation, I mean, there is always going to be the kind of guy who can fool everybody. I think that after a few dates and if people know him or her, you can get to know someone’s character and feel comfortable with them. So I would say the most important thing a women can do, we have a God given instinct.
And for me, I’ve shared with you how I saw that front door locked. I should have gone with my instinct and said that door is never locked. Gone to find Monty and said “Hey, can you come in my apartment? This just doesn’t feel right.” So, God gives us instincts and if something doesn’t feel right or a person doesn’t feel right then listen to that and run the other way.
Bob: I just have to say, don’t be naïve in thinking that because the young man makes a profession of faith in Christ or goes to youth group…
Dennis: Yes, right.
Bob: …or shows up to Bible study that he’s safe. Because…
Dennis: Singles group.
Bob: Yes. We are hearing more and more about young women who are assaulted by guys who show up at those groups. There are some guys who are predatory around Christian groups because they know that they will be trusted if they are showing up there.
Dennis: These are subjects that we must discuss with our young people before they get into high school and go away to college. This is not rare. This is happening on Americas’ college campuses today. This subject also occurs, though, in marriages. There are a number of women who are raped by their husband. Explain that phenomenon. That seems like that shouldn’t be.
Wendy: Yes. My only experience with that is when a few women have spoken to me after events that I have spoken at. I can’t explain that. I do not understand, except for I wonder if these are the men who commit these rapes before they were married. Now there in a marriage relationship and they can’t continue with other women so now they have their wife.
Bob: You know, obviously forcing anyone to be involved with you sexually, whether it’s your wife, a date or a stranger. That does not square up with what the scriptures teaches us about how we are to act, how we are to love, and what godly character looks like.
Dennis: Yes, exactly. While we’re talking about the scripture, I know that in Wendy’s situation, it was the word of God that was used to bring you to healing and hope and ultimately do a work in your heart. As I’ve listened to your story my mind goes to a passage in Hebrews chapter 4 verse12. “It says for the word of God is living, and active and sharper than any two edged sword; piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
I’ve never thought of the word of God being a scalpel. That really is what it’s describing and what you experienced in your own heart. The scriptures were used in your heart to go in and cut out the fear.
Dennis: How did God do that?
Wendy: Well, I can probably even tell you better with unforgiveness. I could not forgive, first God and could not forgive the man who raped me. I had a godly grandmother who spoke to me and said “Wendy, you will never heal from what’s happened in your life if you don’t forgive this man.” I remember thinking “How could my godly grandmother ask me to forgive this man who did this to me!” She pointed me to scripture on forgiveness and when God puts His word in front of you like that, that’s a scalpel. That goes in and digs deep.
Dennis: Tell us about that story of how you ultimately came to give up the right to punish him because that’s what forgiveness is.
Wendy: Yes. I so wanted revenge. I didn’t even realize that’s what I wanted was revenge. So, the journey of learning how to forgive was so long. I would read those verses and I would say “Okay, Lord I am ready to forgive.” I just couldn’t and I couldn’t. It wasn’t until I sat with some words written by Beth Moore. Where she talked about God asking us to forgive someone is not asking us to forget what they’ve done.
It’s giving up the right to be the one to avenge it and handing that over to the Lord. All of a sudden, I don’t know it washed over me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes that that’s what I needed to do. I sat on the sofa and I remember saying out loud to this person I didn’t even know who he was. It wasn’t like he was in front of me.
Dennis: You never caught him, never determined who he was, so you didn’t go to trial.
Wendy: Correct. So, I had to say all this out loud with no one there but me. As I did, I wept in a way that I don’t know that I’ve ever done before. I forgave him and I named every single thing that he stole from me, my dignity, my worth, my value. I named it all. As I named it, it was like something was lifted off of me. It was Powerful! You can’t explain it unless you’ve been through it but it’s the most amazing thing, to forgive.
What we don’t realize in living in un-forgiveness is that scripture that talks about that root of bitterness. It infects every part of your life. I think that that’s what was happening with me.
Dennis: Wendy, I am glad you allowed us to come and walk through with you that process because there are people listening to us right now. Perhaps some who have been raped and never told anybody. Perhaps, others, who were sexually assaulted through sexual abuse as a child, or emotional, physical abuse, maybe it’s a relationship with your husband or your wife.
They’re listening to your story and they’re reflecting on their circumstances and they’re realizing “I’ve got to do that.” What you’re admonishing them to do is go to the scripture and take a look at Christ’s words who talks about forgiving seven times seventy, an infinite number of times giving up the right to punish and avenge. At a point and time, releasing that punishment and letting God ultimately settle the score.
Bob: There was a particular night when you and the kids were alone. You’ve already told us you didn’t allow yourself to be alone. The fear was just overwhelming but on this particular night you said “We’re going to stay alone and we’re going to be okay, right?”
Wendy: Right. This was 13 years later after my attack. I had a routine whenever Monty would go out of town. I would go around the entire house and lock every door, set the alarm, turn every light on outside, keep all the lights on inside and turn on the televisions. It use to be that I even had my kids sleeping in the room with me and but I had them in their own rooms this night.
I decided I was really going to be a big girl. I prayed my verses and I called a friend named Meg. I told her that I was staying alone. I always did that. I always made sure I had someone praying for me that knew we were home alone. My routine was to always leave my television on and I laid down to go to bed. It was like the Lord impressed on me “turn off the television.”
I remember out loud saying” I am not turning off the television Lord because I will hear every sound in the house. Just let me leave the T.V. on’” but it was heavy upon me to turn that television off. I had never done that and just lay in complete silence in all the years that I had finally been staying alone. So I had turned it off and as I lay there, I was waiting for that fear to just rise up in me and it didn’t. As I laid there, I experienced the most amazing peace that I had not experienced in 13 years.
There was this picture in my mind of a wall of angels around my house. I remember I just started to weep. I got out of my bed, knelt down on my knees and I just began to praise God. Because I forgot what this feeling was like. I had not had it for so long. It was the most joyous moment.
Finally, when I got done with my crying and my praising God, I picked up the phone. It was probably midnight or so. I called my friend Meg. I said” Meg! Meg!” I told her what happened and I didn’t hear anything on the other end of the phone. I thought “Meg! Are you not excited for me?!”
She said “Wendy, right when you hung up the phone with us Bill (her husband) and I prayed for a wall of angels to be around your house. I knew in that moment it was God and God alone that took away that fear because I saw that wall of angels. When she spoke those words it was as if the Lord was saying to me “Don’t ever think that this was a coincidence. Don’t ever think it was the passage of time. But by My Words you have been healed.”
Dennis: I am sorry listeners can’t see your face as you say that because that peace and the joy that you experienced that night continues on.
Wendy: I just want everyone out there listening to know that God is big enough. He is big enough for whatever you have. His word says it is health to our body and healing to our bones.
Dennis: There’s a passage in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 that you really remind me of also. It says we are to comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted. That’s really what you’ve done here.
Wendy: Yes. It is what drives me. In the beginning when I was so afraid, to stand up in front of a room, Even today, to sit here with you it drains me so fully but at the same time I know it’s what I’m called to do. It’s such a blessing.
Dennis: God’s using you in the lives of a lot of women. To bring that same joy that was hidden in your life forward to let them experience it, too. I just really appreciate your courage. I am grateful you’re helping the Christian community. Those who are followers of Christ know how best to bring that same comfort and grace and joy to their friends. I appreciate you. Thanks for being with us Wendy.
Wendy: Thank you for having me.
Bob: I know we are going to hear from a lot of our listeners who have either experienced what you have experienced themselves or they know somebody who has. So, I think what you’re doing here and I think what you written in your book is going to be used by God in a lot of situations. We have copies of the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. It’s called Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.
You can go on line at FamilyLifeToday.com and request a copy or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY that’s 1-800-358-6329. When you contact us we will let you know how you can get a copy of Wendy’s book sent to you.
I want to take just a minute here before we wrap things up and let our listeners know, especially those of you who help support this ministry that we could not do this without you and we really do appreciate those of you who either from time to time will call or go online and make a donation, as you are able to do that and those of you who are lifetime legacy partners who help support the ministry with a donation each month. We very much appreciate your partnership as well. FamilyLife Today is listener supported.
If it weren’t for folks making donations we could not continue to air this program on this station or on other stations all across the country. You know every year there are folks for whatever reason they’ve help support the ministry in the past who are not able to, circumstances have changed and again for whatever reason. They’re just no longer able to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today and that’s why we are always hopeful there will be new listeners. Those of you have been tuned in for awhile but you’ve never made a donation. We are hoping you’ll consider a first time donation to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
If you are able to do that this month we have a thank you gift we’d like to send you. It’s a two CD series that features a conversation we had a while back with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, the author of the book Love and Respect and we’d love to send those two CD’s out to you as our thank you gift when you support FamilyLife Today this month.
If you donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com just type the word “RESPECT”’ in the key code box that you find on the online donation form. If you call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation just ask for the CD’s on Love and Respect and we’ll make sure to get those to you. Again thanks to those of you who are able to help with the donation. We do appreciate your partnership with us.
Now tomorrow we are going to talk about an exciting 2nd year event that’s coming up in 2010. It’s going to be taking place in the fall. It’s the National Bible Bee. We will let you know all the details. You can find out how your kids can be a part of this year’s competition. We’ll talk about that tomorrow. I hope you can tune in. I want to thank out engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team.
On behalf of our host Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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