My whole life has revolved around being a victim of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), even though I didn’t know it. I’m Jeanie McElroy, and my grandfather molested me for years in my childhood, in my own home and his, and unbeknownst to anyone else.
I was raised in the Truth and believed that, in order to obtain salvation, I needed to obey every word of the Bible, especially those taught in the New Testament. In childhood, it meant “obey your elders,” “children should be seen and not heard,” and any divergence from this meant punishment —first from my Dad and next from God. The abuse I suffered at the hands of my grandfather, an elder in the church, caused such severe disassociation and complex PTSD that my memory is mostly blank up until about age 12 or 13. Around this age, I remember a lot of suicidal ideations, and I remember very strongly hearing from God that I was to become a worker.
I believe to this day that this call to the ministry, and the 11 years I spent in the ministry, all contributed to my being alive long enough to find safety and security from an inner source rather than from an external source, from knowing that God is in me, God loves me unconditionally, regardless of what I say, how I dress, what adornments I choose, and what I believe.
My journey of healing began one day when I was walking through a mall in 2019. I was drawn to a kiosk, and after asking some questions, I discovered this was a non-profit that supported victims of sexual abuse through counseling and community. I was immediately moved to contribute and began feeling the stirrings within me to share my story and my triumph over abuse in an effort to support others in their healing as well.
This opportunity has now arrived in the form of helping with the Victim-Survivor Advisory Board of the Voices for the Truth, coming full circle back to the belief system that protected the predator who victimized me. It’s your turn to heal, and I’m here to support you.