In Southeast Asia, wild elephants are trained to be docile while young.
When an immature elephant is first captured, it is securely tied or chained in place, so that its will may be broken. Unable to escape and denied food or water, the little elephant is repeatedly beaten while the trainer speaks in a calm voice to acclimate the elephant to commands. Afraid, in pain, hungry, and thirsty the young elephant is finally forced to submit.
Adult elephants would be strong enough to break free, but continue to believe in the power of the chains to hold them.
Could there be a more clear picture of child abuse? We were repeatedly assaulted, at our most vulnerable. It is no wonder the scars linger.
Now adults, we, too, have the power to break free from our chains. The very knowledge is exhilarating.
But the extent to which release from our scars is possible will vary from one individual to the next. For most, this will be a process. Setbacks should be expected.
There is no standard for suffering. Each victim is unique. Release from our scars is not a test of our worth, a calibrated measure of our recovery, or a competition with other victims.
Continued bondage is not another reason to berate ourselves. Some scars may be intractable. But there is reason to hope.
“Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands” (Acts 12: 7).
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