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Corridor of Hope by Leah Rentz-Hemphill is a moving journey of victory over abuse.

I have endured the pain and pleasure of writing this book for those of us that have been abused and survived. I write in memory of those who did not survive the pain and destruction that exceeded their capacity to live on. To them I say, " Have a good night rest" from those of us who continue the struggle of finding a resting place even in our own skin. Lastly, I write for those who are seeking to understand and who have chosen to walk alongside us, survivors, as we struggle to deal with our history of shame and survival.

I am a survivor of childhood trauma. This book is about some of my experiences and healing of childhood abuse, mainly sexual abuse. We know that talking about abuse is difficult, particularly sexual abuse. Most people would rather avoid the topic all together. They don't want to think or read about it. Even the churches don't want to deal with it even though their walls are permeated with occurrences.

It is my hope that this book will encourage you and assure you that the darkness and suffering you have experienced is indeed real. Also, it is meant to assure you that there is a way out of the shadows of darkness, and that others have gone before you and now want to lend their voices to encourage you.

You will find within these pages a chorus of voices. First, of course, is my own voice, which comes in several different forms. I am the voice of the little girl crying for love and finding abuse. I am also the voice of an adult woman who is finding her way out of the shadows of darkness into the light of the corridor of hope. There are roles that I play that also have voices, the voice of the therapist, minister, wife, and mother. I am the voice of a SURVIVOR!

If you listen closely you may even hear the voice of perpetrators who also were victims but who have not resolved their issues. The victim has become the victimizer! Their voices will warn you not to allow the pain and hurt continue to contaminate your life and spread in to the lives of others. The voice of the perpetrator may surface to severely warn you that continuing to read may cost you more than its worth. The voice may come to reinforce the warning already given you; "Keep silent, no one will believe you; it will be your fault if the family (church) break up; you asked for it; you deserted what you got; or I love you so much I just couldn't help myself." This is the voice of FEAR.

The National Violence Against Women Survey 1998 states that violence against women is not a stranger crime: For 76 percent of the women surveyed who were raped or physically assaulted as adults, the assailant was as intimate partner or date. Also, 52 percent reported being physically assaulted in childhood or adulthood and 18 percent of them reported attempted or completed rape. Of those sexually assaulted, 54 percent were less than 17 years old.

The Center for The Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence states that if we translate those numbers to any congregation or gathering of the faithful, we would see that one in four women - and one in 12 men-sitting in the pew each week has been a victim of assault. Now add to this the fact that the perpetrator is most likely also sitting in the pew, perhaps even beside the victim.

The greatest voice, at least for me, is the voice of the Redeemer. Some of you may not believe or are afraid that He does not exist, at least not for you. Some may not want to know Him yet. Some are still angry with God for "allowing" such horrible things to happen to you or someone you care about. Perhaps you blame God for what happened to you because your perpetrator was a person claiming to represent God in their actions. Perhaps to trust anyone, most especially a powerful Redeemer is unimaginable to you.
Some of you long to hear His voice and are desperate to know that he speaks to you. He who is called the Man of Sorrow is here, and he is working even in your darkness and though your corridors of despair. Whether or not you believe in Him, I've found His help most valuable for my survival and recovery. Whatever your story is, there is no darkness He cannot banish, no depth He cannot plumb, and no devastation He cannot redeem. He can also transcend distance and time to get to your pain. So, no matter what happened, when it happened or where it happened He is present to redeem. He only requires an invitation from you.

Our English word survive comes from the Latin word supervivere. It literally means, "to live above or beyond." To survive means to keep alive against the odds. A survivor, then, is one who has experienced something extraordinary and yet manages to keep on going. Many survivors feel worse before they feel better. Today I've learned to continue the process of embracing the pain of healing. I say pain is inevitable so choose, the pain of bondage or the pain of healing and recovery. I extend to you the hope of healing.



copyright 2005 Treasures Out of Darkness Ministries, All rights reserved.