A Healing Journey: breaking the silence surrounding childhood sexual abuse
December 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After surviving a decade of childhood sexual abuse, Christian speaker and author Nicole Braddock Bromley knows there is never so much evil in this world that God cannot use it for good if one is willing to surrender the pain to Him.
Bromley is candid about her seemingly perfect childhood growing up in a small, quintessential American town as the daughter of loving Christian parents. She was involved in numerous school activities, served as student council president, and was homecoming queen. There was no reason to think anything was amiss in her life.
What no one suspected was that behind closed doors, Bromley was being sexually abused by her step-father, a respected man in the community, a man she loved and trusted. The abuse began when she was a young child and she carried the burden of the secret and the shame until finally, at fifteen years of age, she revealed the secret to her mom. Her mother believed her story and immediately reported him to the authorities whereupon mother and daughter quickly went into hiding, afraid of how he might react towards them. A week later, Bromley’s step-father committed suicide.
In the aftermath of her step-father’s death, Bromley felt damaged and destroyed, blaming herself for his suicide. She wondered what people would think if the secret of her abuse was discovered, but also realized that hiding it within herself was destructive. Bromley says, “I needed to be relieved from my past in order to embrace my future.”
The healing journey began when Bromley stepped out in faith and began telling her story, beginning with her youth pastor and school counselor. “Breaking the silence is the first step to healing,” says Bromley. Next she took the opportunity to tell a group of youth at a camp she attended about the abuse, garnering an overwhelming response. Numerous teens wrote her to tell her they had gone through the same thing and thanked her for her willingness to open up about her abuse. From then on, Bromley was determined to be “a voice for the voiceless.”
When she speaks about her past, Bromley is often asked if she was able to forgive her father for the abuse. Bromley does not hesitate to affirm she has forgiven him but quickly points out that forgiveness is a process that should not be rushed. “Forgiveness brings freedom and healing but don’t push it too early,” she says. “It is about a relationship with God and not about the abuser, unchaining oneself from their sin.”
Now an internationally recognized keynote speaker, sought after guest expert on various shows, and the author of two books, Bromley regularly shares her speech about the sexual abuse she endured, entitled “Our Little Secret.” She also raises awareness for victims of rape and sex trafficking. Together with her husband Matt, she began a campaign across East Africa to stamp out childhood sexual abuse and sex trafficking. Bromley will be traveling to Cambodia this month to film a documentary on child sex trafficking as Cambodia has the highest rates of child sex trafficking in the world.
“I have seen God’s heart for the hurting, for people who never felt good enough,” Bromley says. “He cares about the hurting and sees a purpose for them.”
To find out more about Nicole, visit her website: I Am One Voice.org