I read an article this afternoon that filled me with an overwhelming urge to respond to it, because what the article stated simply was not true. The title of this article, “Ariel Castro’s death is ‘last slap’ to victims’ faces, psychologist says“, grabbed me immediately, and made me angry for the victims of the crimes committed against them by Ariel Castro. As a former victim of sexual abuse, I agree that it is true that most victims long for justice, but whether or not the perpetrator of the crimes against a victim receives justice in this lifetime or not, healing is still very much possible for those who have suffered because of the sins committed against them. As a matter of fact, I want to go on record as saying that healing is entirely possible regardless of whether the perpetrator ever faces justice in our lifetime, or even if he/she never even repents or admits to his/her crime or apologizes.
He decided his fate, something they were never ever ever able to do for themselves. He had ultimate control. To some extent this was in a way his last slap to their faces — ‘I’ve got this over you’.”
~ Dr. Linda Papadopoulos,
U.K. based psychologist and author ~
To say that this felon had ultimate control is asinine. I believe it is more accurate to say that by committing suicide, Ariel Castro proved that he was completely out of control, just as he was when he kidnapped, abused and imprisoned Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. While he controlled his victims’ ability to escape and get help, for more than ten years, he seriously lacked self-control. Further, when Amanda Berry escaped Castro’s house with her daughter, we see that although she had been a victim since she was sixteen years old, on that day, Amanda Berry was the one who exhibited the self-control so sorely lacking in her tormentor. For it was on that day that Amanda Berry ceased being a victim, and became a heroine to herself, her daughter and the other two women who had been locked up with her.
I don’t deny that these women are rightfully angry with the man who had tortured them for so long, as evidenced by the statement Michelle Knight made in court on August 1, 2013…
You took 11 years of my life away, and I never got it back,” she said. “I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning. I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity.”
~ Michelle Knight ~
The words Michelle Knight spoke in court that day were far truer than any spoken by the psychologist quoted in the article written by F. Brinley Bruton, Staff Writer, NBC News. Yes, this evil man stole many years from her life and the lives of the other women he imprisoned, but indeed, his hell was just beginning. When she said that she will overcome all that happened to her, she spoke truth, for there is complete healing for those who have been wrongfully victimized, especially when they turn to Christ for their healing. Further, her words were certainly prophetic words, for unless Castro repented of his sins against God and these women, and who knows how many others, he is facing an eternity in hell alot sooner than anyone imagined.
Going forward now these girls are going to have to find a way of healing without a sense of justice,” said Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a U.K.-based psychologist and author.
As for the statement above by Linda Papadopoulos, I submit to you that these precious women can most definitely find a way of healing with a better sense of justice than they witnessed in America’s courts. For Almighty God does not presume that all are innocent until proven guilty. He already knows Castro’s guilt and so there will be no more trials, no waste of taxpayer’s money, no false justice, and no plea bargains. Castro will not have life in prison, and if he did not repent, which is unlikely, given the evidence, he will instead suffer eternal damnation for the crimes he committed. Now, Castro may have wrongfully believed that he was escaping justice and sticking it to his victims one last time, but the truth is that he did not. Instead, he chose to seal his fate of an eternity in hell much quicker than he would have if he had chosen to stand trial and face life in prison. He also cheated himself out of any chance to find repentance and salvation while in prison. Believe me, justice was served, when he could have chosen mercy and grace.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
New York City therapist, Eva Usadi, said that the victims of such crimes as the ones committed by Ariel Castro, feel great grief. I would say this is a no-brainer that any lay person could have stated. Think about it — the victims have had their innocence stolen and a large portion of their lives stolen, not to mention many of their hopes and dreams. Not only have they had all of these things stolen from them, they have also suffered great physical and emotional pain, as they were tortured and chained. It’s only natural that they would be grieved by all of this. That’s why I take great offense at the following statement made by this same therapist…
The grief comes from there being no real justice.”
~ Eva Usadi, New York City Therapist ~
Give me a break! Their grief comes from all of the reasons I stated above. As I read the statements of the mental health professionals, I was disgusted. They offered a whole lot of useless opinions, but no real help or hope to the victims. That’s why I felt led to write this response to that article. Although the victims of this particular crime may never read this post, I feel certain that other victims will read it, and I want to offer hope to them.
As someone who has suffered from abuse, I want to make it known that there is hope and help for other victims, and true healing only comes through Jesus Christ. Yes, for some, the healing may be quick, but for most, the healing will take a long, long time, perhaps over a period of many years. Healing is different for every individual.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”
My beloved readers, if you have been abused and mistreated, there is healing for you in the hands of God. As you kneel down and humbly cry out to Him, casting all your worries and cares on Him, I want you to understand these two things…
- As you humble yourself and cry out to Him, know that the Lord God will lift you up in honor at just the right time. He has not forgotten you, nor has He forgotten the humiliation that you have suffered, and it is His will to honor His children. Therefore, hold your head up, for it is not God’s will for you to suffer shame.
- “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood.” ~ Isaiah 54:4 — NLT ~
- There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:1 — NKJV ~
- “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
- It is safe for you to cast all of your cares onto the Lord, because HE CARES FOR YOU!!! Beloved readers, all too often, when someone has been victimized and abused, it is the victim who feels ashamed and unlovable, instead of the abuser, and this is a lie straight from the pit of hell! That’s why Jesus was so adamant about bringing things out into the open, so that the truth would be revealed.
- Beloved readers, where the scripture says “Israel”, place your name there instead, speak it out loud, and hear how much love the Lord has for you.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My beloved readers, please understand this — regardless of whether your victimizer never repents or never spends one night in jail, this does not mean that justice will not be served. Nor does it mean that you cannot heal. The fact is that in most cases, the abuser never does repent and never serves time for the crimes he/she committed, and that’s where it is important to have faith in God.
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Beloved readers, justice will be served, and you will be healed from your shame and your pain, if you will seek Jesus and ask Him to heal you. Just look at these words that Jesus spoke…
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
My friends, He was sent to heal your broken hearts, as well as mine! Rejoice, because your pain will not last forever. Please be encouraged and know that Jesus understands your pain, and just as He is healing me, and just as He has healed millions of others with broken hearts, He will also heal you, if you ask Him to. Please don’t be discouraged by the news articles and opinions that have been written by so many people who think they know everything. It is one thing for someone who has never sought or received healing for themselves to give you an opinion, and quite another thing to hear from someone who has also suffered at the hands of someone else.
Before closing, I have to include one final thing that is vital to a victim’s healing, my beloved readers… It will take time, but there can be no healing until you forgive your perpetrator. As heinous as Ariel Castro’s crimes against these beautiful young women were, they must forgive him if they are to receive complete healing. I’m not saying that this must be done today, because they will need the Lord’s mercy, compassion and grace to be able to do this, and true forgiveness often takes time. It also takes willingness. Remember, my beloved readers, if we want to be forgiven, we must first forgive others, regardless of their sins against us… I know it sounds difficult, maybe even impossible to you, but I assure you that when we forgive others, we set ourselves, not the abuser, free.
My prayer for each one of you who has suffered the pain of abuse, is that you will find complete and total healing through Christ, who came to heal the brokenhearted. May the Lord bless you!
Cheryl A. Showers