He Too Anti-sexual assault campaign
MEET OUR FEATURED COURAGEOUS SURVIVOR VANESSA JOHNSON
Vanessa Johnson, alongside her husband Reggie Johnson, leads Greater Love Christian Church Center in Stanton, Virginia, where the two build up and empower believers through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Vanessa has a heart for those who are broken and hurting, especially because she knows what it is to be devastated, shattered and destroyed inside by the pain of sexual abuse
The inspirational survivor, who is warm, friendly, and deeply caring, is being highlighted by Empowering Everyday Women Ministries, Inc. for our “He too” anti-sexual assault campaign for very specific purpose: she attributes her healing from the pain of her past to the life-giving power of Christ.
who is vanessa?
She is the founder of Thrive2Heal Ministries, a nonprofit organization committed to helping others heal from past trauma, has a heartbreaking, yet triumphant story of overcoming through the power of our conquering Savior Jesus.
EEW: Vanessa, share your story of sexual violation.
VANESSA: I was violated as a small child, as well as when I was elementary school age. My early memory of being raped is not as vivid as when I was a little older, however, to this day, I suffer from the physical internal lacerations as a result of that trauma to my body.
When we moved from Baltimore to a rural area in Virginia I began to receive attention from one of my uncles. At first, he was kind and made it seem as if he had care and concern for me. Eventually, I had to pay him for all of that attention. He molested me for 2 years on and off, and often, it was feet away from where my parents played their poker games.
No one ever asked where I was or even noticed him taking me to another room, with no door, only a curtain. What is not discussed about molestation is the turmoil your mind and body go through.
Here is what I mean: your body is now experiencing feelings and cravings that it never has before, but your mind has alerted you that this was wrong. That place of confusion created anger and rage on the inside.
This lasted into my adult years until… I met Jesus!
EEW: How long did it take you to speak out?
VANESSA: It took years to speak out. After only a few years of being married, my husband and I were having a tickling match. When I asked him to stop and he didn’t, I completely lost it! That’s when I opened up to him about what happened to me in the past and the journey to healing began. I also shared my story through my book, Thrive: A Call to Healing, in 2012. Immediately I came into contact with people and family that wanted that same healing and freedom through Christ I talk about in my book.
EEW: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you were initially trying to process what happened?
VANESSA: I wish I knew that healing was possible. I thought I would be broken and function from that place of that wound forever.
EEW: Why do you believe God chose you to speak out and help others?
VANESSA: He chose me because he built me to be very strong and He knew once I was healed, I would do everything I could to wreak havoc on the kingdom of darkness and this tool of perversion that Satan uses to destroy lives.
EEW: What advice can you give to other sexual assault survivors that will help them along their path?
VANESSA: Choose to heal. Though Christ is the only one who is able to heal and set us free, I believe that supernatural healing starts with a choice. Once you decide you want to be free, it will open up opportunities for you to meet other survivors and gain strength from them for your own healing journey.
Purchase a copy of her book through Amazon, Books a Million, or www.thrive2heal.com. If you purchase it through her website, she will sign your copy and send it personally. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Got a story of your own?
Be a part of EEW Magazine's He Too anti-sexual assault campaign and tell others how Christ has set you free from the pain of your past.