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The Horrors of Sexual Assault

with Wendy Blight | January 18, 2010

Her college graduation had been fabulous. Now Wendy enjoyed her time celebrating with friends and dreaming about her upcoming wedding and career. But little did she know that something – someone, horrible, was waiting for her just around the corner. Today Wendy Blight opens up about the rape that caused her to shrink in fear and desperately search for God.

Her college graduation had been fabulous. Now Wendy enjoyed her time celebrating with friends and dreaming about her upcoming wedding and career. But little did she know that something – someone, horrible, was waiting for her just around the corner. Today Wendy Blight opens up about the rape that caused her to shrink in fear and desperately search for God.

The Horrors of Sexual Assault

With Wendy Blight
|
January 18, 2010
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  Wendy Blight had been spending a fun, early summer afternoon with some friends out by the pool at her apartment complex.  It was around graduation time her senior year.  She had no idea the events that were about to unfold in her life that would mark her for life.

Wendy:  I walked up the back stairs to my apartment, walked inside.  I looked towards the front door and noticed it was locked.  Which should be a good thing, but in college we always left our doors open so we wouldn't have to take our keys.  I thought "That's really strange,” but I didn’t pay much attention to it.

I turned and walked up the stairs and when I looked up there was a masked man standing there with a large hunting knife, wearing hunting gloves.  At first when I saw him, I laughed, I thought it was a joke.  It’s just very surreal to see someone, a stranger standing like that.  But the minute he reached out and grabbed my arm, I knew that it was not a joke.

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, January 18th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey and I'm Bob Lepine.   We'll hear today about the devastating evil that Wendy Blight experienced on that summer day in May, years ago.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. Our listeners are going to hear, it's a challenging story we're going to unpack this week on FamilyLife Today. But before we dive into that, Dennis, we have been encouraging listeners all month long to spend time together as a family in God’s word.  We’ve been taking a verse of scripture that is actually the verse that you and Barbara use in the daily devotional Moments With You.  Each day you start the devotional with a scripture verse, and we’ve been sharing that with our listeners here on FamilyLife Today.  So, what is the verse for Monday, January 18th?

Dennis:  Well, it's Psalm 32:6, and the psalmist is talking about talking to God. Here's what he said. "Let everyone who is godly pray to you in a time when you may be found."  I don't think there's a day that goes by for an individual, a married couple, or a family when we don’t need to find God in the midst of life’s circumstances.  And, cry out, call out, ask God to help, ask God for wisdom, ask God to direct and guide, and show you how to live.

Bob:  So, tonight as couples get together and talk about this verse, how would you encourage them to have the conversation?

Dennis:  I might ask our children around the table, "What's a decision you're facing where you feel like God might help you?"  If the kids don't have anything, perhaps you as mom and dad, or just as a married couple if you have no children, just talk about, what are we facing right now where we need to cry out to God and ask Him to be found, to be near, to help us at this critical time?

 

Bob:  Again if our listeners are interested in receiving the Moments With You e-mails that we send out free of charge, you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com and sign up to have Moments with You sent to your e-mail inbox every day.  If you want to get a copy of the book so the two of you can read through it together, you’ll find that information online at FamilyLifeToday.com, as well.

You know you talk about crying out to God.  It's circumstances like the one we're going to hear about today that often leaves people wondering "Where is God in the midst of this kind of, almost unspeakable evil?"

Dennis:  Yes, and I just am not sure any children need to be listening to the broadcast today because we're going to be talking about rape.  Our guest doesn't know this but, for a number of years, I've wanted to address this subject on FamilyLife Today, because I think there are a number of women who have experienced this and I’m not sure the Christian community really knows what to do with it.  I don’t think that we really know how to best offer the kind of grace, support, comfort, that allows a woman who has experienced this to truly come forward and express that.

I’m just grateful for you Wendy, and for you book and your work in this area.  You’ve turned a personal tragedy into a message of hope for women.  And with that I’d like to welcome you to FamilyLife Today.

Wendy:  Thank you so much.  I'm so happy to be here.

Dennis: Wendy Blight was for a number of years a trial lawyer.  She and her husband Monty were married in 1987.  They have two children and live in Charlotte North Carolina. And she has written a book called Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story.

You wouldn’t think Wendy, that going to a school like Baylor, in Waco, Texas, that a young lady who just graduated from college right?

 

Wendy:  Yes.

Dennis:  Who is about to be married, would all of a sudden find yourself in a dramatic situation. But that summer after your graduation was really kind of a storybook summer wasn’t it?

 

Wendy:  Yes.  Actually just my four years at Baylor were amazing.  I felt like I did live a storybook life where I got to Baylor, and pledged the sorority I wanted to, dated my husband who played football for Baylor.  I was a Baylor Beauty on the homecoming court.  I was active and involved on campus, and I also was one of three graduates chosen to work for the university for a year to travel the country and represent the school.  And I was also engaged to be married. So I felt like life couldn’t have been in a better place.

Dennis:  That summer ended however, not with a storybook ending.

 

Wendy:  No.  Just a few days after I graduated from Baylor, it was the weekend after we graduated and there were lots of my friends that were leaving to go to graduate school or go back home.  And it was our last weekend all together.  

So, we spent that day by the pool where we lived in the apartment complex.  So I stayed out there till about four o’clock in the afternoon, and slowly but surely people began to leave the pool, including my fiancé.  We were all sort of announcing where we were going.  My roommates were leaving town and said, we are leaving, saying goodbye, so it was very clear that I was going to be going back to my apartment alone.

Finally there were a few people left, and I walked up the back stairs to my apartment, walked inside.  I looked towards the front door and noticed that it was locked.  Which should be a good thing, but in college we always left our doors open so we wouldn't have to take our keys.  I thought, “That’s really strange,” but I didn’t pay much attention to it.

I turned and walked up the stairs and when I looked up there was a masked man standing there with a large hunting knife, wearing hunting gloves.  At first when I saw him, I laughed, I thought it was a joke.  It’s just very surreal to see someone, a stranger standing like that.  But the minute he reached out and grabbed my arm, I knew that it was not a joke.

Dennis:  Did he pull you into the apartment?

Wendy:  No, I was inside already, walking up the stairs to my bedroom.  So he was waiting at the top of those stairs.  So he had gotten in through that door and locked it, and that's why it was locked.  My roommates had left it unlocked.

 

Bob:  When he grabbed you, you said you knew this was no joke.  What happened next?

Wendy:  Well, I wasn't that frightened at first because he began to pull me down the stairs, so I thought he was hiding from police, or just wanted money or something.  So I said, you know, “Watever you want just let me know.”  But he proceeded then to walk me around my apartment and have me close every blind, make sure every window was locked.  And when he took me to that back sliding glass door that I had come in, there were still a few people by the pool.  I remember pleading in my mind “please someone look up here” because he was holding that knife to my neck the entire time.

Finally he turned me back toward the kitchen which is where the stairs were, and he had me take the phone off the hook.  I knew then that he was going to stay.  Then he took me back towards the stairs which is where the front door was, and I knew this was my last time.  So I grabbed for the door and the lock.  And the moment I did that, he threw me against the wall, put the knife up to me, and said "Don't try that again or I’ll kill you.”  Then he took me up the stairs, forced me up the stairs.

Bob:  You understood that he was there to rape you.

Wendy:  Still, at that point, I think I probably knew it, but I didn't want to believe it.  It was when we actually went into my room and he put me over by my bed and he was between the door and me, that's when I knew.   It's hard to explain.  I think you keep thinking you’re going to get out of it.  Untill finally, you reach a place where you can’t escape, you’re a captive and that’s where I was.

Dennis:  So at that point, you weren't sure if he was going to murder you or rape you.

Wendy:  Right.

Bob:  What was going through your mind, do you remember?

Wendy:  No.  I don't remember.  I do remember when he told me to undress, and put me on the bed, the way I describe it is a feeling of, like I wasn't even in my body any more.  It's almost as if I was above myself looking down.  And it was a terror unlike any I've ever known.  But I don’t have a lot of memory of the event, which I think is a blessing from the Lord.

Bob:  Let me ask you, where you were spiritually at this point in your life, had you grown up in a Christian home?

Wendy:  Well, I grew up in a Catholic home where we would go to church Saturday nights, or Sunday mornings, depending on upon if we wanted to go out to breakfast the next day.  But, no, it was a home where I said my prayers before I went to bed, "Now I lay me down to sleep,” so I would say I believed in God and Jesus.  Had no idea of what a relationship with Christ was about.

Dennis:  So you weren't growing through your college years.

Wendy:  Not really, not spiritually no.

Dennis:  So there wasn't a perspective to be able to handle an event so horrific as this in terms of pulling back and going, "Where's God in the midst of this?"

 

Wendy:  Right, when my question about "Where's God in the midst of this?" came, my question was "OK, the God I've learned about is a good God, and would not allow this.  So either I've been a bad person, or God is not who He says He is."  That's where I was.

Bob:  Do you remember, crying out, praying in the midst of any of this?

Wendy:  I remember crying out. "Why me? I don’t understand what I've done."  That kind of crying out I did do to God and I was very angry.

Bob:  Were you silent while the attacker was in the apartment?  I guess you couldn't make much noise; he didn't want anybody to know what was going on.

Wendy:  Right. I cried a lot.  I was just so frightened that I cried, and then whenever I would cry, he would get more angry with me and tell me to shut up.  So, I never once screamed.

Bob:  From a timeframe perspective, how long from when you walked in the back of your apartment, until he was gone?

Wendy:  Probably about 60 minutes.

Bob:  So, for the better part of an hour, you were assaulted.

Wendy:  Yes.

Bob:  And your memory of that is faint. 

Wendy:  Yes, I mean, I remember certain things, that he said or certain things that were done, but overall, it's a blur.

Dennis: You know, as you tell that story, God is incredibly gracious.  Even in the midst of something as evil as this kind of violation.  To somehow protect a woman's memory to not have to relive that for the rest of your life.  I know there are certain parts that you do. But that you describe it as a blur.

 

Wendy:  I'm married to a husband and have two people in my family that love music.  When we walked in my room, my stereo was on.  For some reason I said to him, "May I turn the music off?" and he said yes, and so I did.  And now I understand, because there is no song, there is no music in my mind that ever will remind me of what happened.  When you live in a home where it’s on all the time, I think that was another place God was protecting.

Bob:  But, how have you come to a point to reconcile that in that 60 minutes where you're being assaulted, somehow God is there, and ordaining what's happening to you?

Wendy:  It was through a long journey of analyzing God.  My questions that I address in the beginning of the book saw three scenarios with God.   One, God knew what was happening but wasn't powerful enough to stop it.   Because He put this world into—sort of created it and then he left and lets it run on its own.

The second one was that God saw what was happening to me and was just really chose not to do anything about it, because he couldn't.  He was not able to.  

But, the third one, which the one my heart stuck with, was, God knew what was happening.  God allowed it and had a reason for it.  That’s the one that stuck with me and as God placed certain amazing people in my life, that I call God appointments; He followed that questioning road for me.  That journey that kept me holding on.  That there’s a reason for this in my life.

So, I did question and I went through scenarios.  It wasn't like overnight I said "God allowed this…” I remember sitting in my bathroom on the floor, holding a bible my grandmother had given me, saying “This is just junk!”  Because, how can a holy God in heaven look down on earth and see a child of His be subjected to this evil, how could you do that?  How could you allow that?   So, yes, I was in that place for a long time.

Dennis:  I don’t think I’ve ever known a person who has been raped, but I’ve talked to a number of people who have ministered to them and have told their stories.  Bob and I have had interviews here on FamilyLife Today with guests who have talked about children who were being sold into sex slavery.  The evil that is being perpetrated upon children and women, and even men and boys, all around the world. You really are left to go back to the question you were asking.  

What do you believe about God as the truth? Who is He?  What’s He like?  Are you going to turn against Him, or are you going to search the scripture and find out that, He really is a good God.  That, yes evil does occur on this planet, in terrible, terrible unspeakable ways, and that He has put us here to represent him and to somehow in the midst of our brokenness and other people’s brokenness proclaim him, which is what you’ve done.

You’ve actually taken a crisis that occurred in your life that you didn’t do anything to create. And yet, today, you’ve turned it into a message of hope.

Wendy:  Yes.

Dennis:  Why did you do that?

 

Wendy:  I turned it into a message of hope because when it happened to me, I had nowhere to go.  I had no one that I knew that it had happened to.  I wasn’t really involved in a church.  I didn’t have a lot of strong Christian friends, so I just fumbled around for so long.  I would read some self-help books.  I took some prescription medication.

Dennis:  Were you angry?

Wendy: Oh, yes!  I was angry with God.  I was angry at life that this would happen to me.  So I searched so many places and finally, when there was no where else to go, that’s when I turned to God’s word.  So when the healing process was complete, my commitment to God was that I wanted to be that person for other people.   I wanted to be there when someone else after they were raped or even if they’ve lost a child.  Wherever they are in their brokenness I wanted to be there and provide that hope that I didn’t have when that happened to me.

 

Bob:  Did you think in the midst of the attack, that he was going to kill you?

Wendy:  Yes, I did.

Bob:  When he had left, you did go to your fiancé’s apartment and told him immediately what had happened?

Wendy:  All I said at first, I don’t remember any of this.  He and his roommate said I kept saying, “Mask, knife, gloves,” but I couldn’t talk.  I was just crying so hard.  They all ran out to look for… one stayed with me and the rest ran out.  But, he was gone by then.

Dennis:  At that point, your fiancé called the police, and the police came right?

Wendy:  Yes.  I didn’t want him to because of the threat, but they all three convinced me that it had to be done.  That they would protect me.  When someone has been a victim of a crime, they are not reasonable.  I was not a reasonable person.  So you’re so afraid that what they said is true. But we finally did, and immediately went to—which every victim of rape, assault—go immediately to this hospital.  So, don’t shower, don’t eat anything don’t brush your teeth, just go right to the hospital.

Bob:  Your impulse had to be, I want to be clean.   But you're saying that, for evidence purposes, you need to make sure that you preserve the evidence.

Wendy:  Correct.

Dennis:  You know, Wendy, as I’m listening to you… I’m a daddy.  I can’t imagine what a father would feel for his daughter, and what he would feel for the man.  You mentioned he was never caught.  So, there was never the chance for the closure that comes by finding a person convicting them, locking them up, and feeling like there was some sort of justice that was done.

And yet, these things do happen.  And we are left to sort through our own beliefs about who God is, and who we believe him to be.  Whether daughter, father, mother, victim, the most important thing you think is what you think about God.  

I’m just glad that you processed that, and you didn’t become imprisoned by your anger and your bitterness, and your questions that were impossible to answer.  But, that you went to the scriptures and found out the truth about God.  Because I do think that if a person will search them, with integrity and honesty, it’s not going to be a simple concise answer, but they will find out the truth about who God is.

That, yes He is a good God, and yes there is evil on this planet, and it’s still occurring.  The question is, if you don’t sort it together by explaining who God is, then how are you going to explain it?   How are you going to make any sense of that kind of evil being perpetrated on a young woman who is about to be married.

Bob:  I know people who have lived through what you’ve experienced.  Or there may be people who have friends or relatives who have gone through something like this.  I know the reason that you decided to put your story in a book, and to come on radio and talk about it, is so that you could provide a help and comfort and hope you could do what 2 Corinthians 1 tells us to do, which is to comfort others with the comfort we’ve received.  You have received comfort from God in the midst of this.  You can pass that on to others that have been scarred by the same kind of experience you have been scarred by.

We’ve got copies of Wendy’s book which is called Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.  We’ve got it in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  If you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com, there is information right there about the book.  Again our website is FamilyLifeToday.com.

You can also call 1-800-FLTODAY for more information about how to get a copy of the book. Again it’s 1-800-358-6329.  1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY.  When you do get in touch with us the folks on our team will let you know how we can have a copy of the book sent to you.

Let me quickly just say a word of thanks to those of you who do help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We appreciate your partnership with us and your ongoing involvement in the ministry. We are listener supported, so those donations are what keep us on the air in this city and in other cities all across the country.

I think most of you have heard us say this from time to time.  But I want to make sure that everybody knows.  Our conviction is that your first priority, when it comes to any kind of financial giving, ought to be to your local church.  We would never want you to do anything in giving that would take away from that giving priority.  But we do appreciate those of you who have been able to, over and above your support of your local church, to help fund the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  We could not do this without you, and you are appreciated.

This month if you’re able to make a donation of any amount, to support FamilyLife Today, we’d love to send you a two-CD set that features a conversation we had a while back with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, the author of the book Love and Respect.  We probed with him the concepts in that book.  And many of you told us that conversation was particularly helpful.  That two-CD series is our gift to you this month when you support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount.

If you’d like to receive the CDs, when you make your donation online, just type the word “RESPECT” in the key code box on the donation form, and we’ll be happy to send it out to you. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, you can make a donation over the phone, and just ask for the Love and Respect CDs, and again we’re happy to get those out to you, and we do appreciate your partnership with the ministry of FamilyLife Today.

Now, tomorrow we’re going to continue to hear more of Wendy Blight’s story and hear about the grace of God in the midst of the kind of evil that she experienced.  I hope you can be back with us for that. 

I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine.  We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow.

© 2010 FamilyLife

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