Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you had to do something but the thing you knew you had to do was so far beyond your capabilities that you were certain that your sanity would be called into question? This is exactly where I found myself a few months ago.
At 4am on May 23, 2018 I was awakened from a deep sleep by what I believe was the Holy Spirit of God. Some of you reading this will understand what I mean by this but others will not…that’s okay. We all know people that say God told them this or that and I admit when hearing such proclamations, I’m about as skeptical as they get. I believe that if we abide in Him, the Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit to lead, guide and direct us through this thing called life but my experience on that early Wednesday morning was far more than that. It was like God himself was talking to me in a voice that could be heard only in my soul. This is not the only time this has happened to me but I confess that similar experiences of this magnitude in my life have been rare.
For the past five years I have been the Executive Director for an organization, Abortion Anonymous, Inc. (AbAnon). The purpose of AbAnon is to create awareness regarding the emotional harm caused by abortion, and to provide a path to healing for those affected. As Director of AbAnon I have heard hundreds of abortion stories over the years. Many of these abortion stories have also had a sexual abuse or a sexual assault component as part of the overall story. Upon hearing about the sexual abuse or assault I would think, “Oh, that’s unfortunate.” But then give no further thought to the matter.
Back to being awakened at 4am on May 23rd. That morning I heard what I believe to be the Holy Spirit telling me. “You (AbAnon) are to create a healing curriculum for victims of sexual abuse.” Now wide awake and in full control of my mental faculties I jumped to my feet and said. “Yes Lord, I am your humble servant and ready to do anything you might ask of me.” NOT. To my shame I remember lying there thinking, or maybe even saying aloud, “God, are you nuts? Are You not aware of my calendar and the impossible amount of work I already have to do? This idea is ridiculous!”
Not able to go back to sleep I got up and started my day. Like Jacob in the Old Testament, I wrestled with God…for the entire day. But by the end of the day I had set aside my doubts, my fears, and my skepticism, agreeing to obey and to do what I had been called to do.
Over the next couple of days I shared this story over coffee with some close friends. I didn’t know how they would respond but I was already questioning my sanity. I know what I had heard but couldn’t get beyond my own inadequacies. Having no personal experience in abortion I was already leading a Post-abortion healing organization and now, having no personal experience in sexual abuse, how am I to also lead a sexual abuse healing organization? In my mind it made no sense. These close friends were of no help in talking me out of doing this, as a matter of fact, they seemed to be fully on God’s side of the argument.
A few weeks later at our monthly AbAnon Board of Directors meeting I slipped this topic into the meeting agenda. What I thought might be a five minute conversation turned into an hour and a half conversation. Several of the Directors shared their own personal story of sexual abuse. As a Board we discussed the obvious questions: Do we have the staff to offer a sexual abuse healing program? NO! Do we have the time? NO! Do we have the funds? NO! DO we have any resources at all that would offer an intellectual reason to move forward with this idea? NO! So, based on absolutely no logic or reasoning, the AbAnon Board of Directors unanimously voted to develop a sexual abuse healing curriculum.
Sexual Abuse Victims Anonymous (SAVAnon) is the result of all this. The SAVAnon curriculum will be called Victims No More. SAVAnon will operate under the legal entity of Abortion Anonymous, Inc. but to the general public, SAVAnon will have no obvious appearance of being connected to AbAnon. It will have its own website, SAVAnon.org, its own marketing strategy, videos and marketing material. But the beautiful thing about SAVAnon is that it will be able to operate in tandem with AbAnon, having “Victims No More” Groups available anywhere AbAnon Groups are available.
At this time the rough draft of the SAVAnon women’s curriculum has been written and reviewed by a group of women who each have their own story of sexual abuse. The same artist who drew the sketches for the AbAnon curriculum has also agreed to do the sketches for SAVAnon. A SAVAnon “Pilot Group” has been scheduled to start later this month, publication of our curriculum will hopefully be in April and we plan a full SAVAnon launch this coming May. A SAVAnon curriculum for men will follow in a few months.
Here is an excerpt from Victims No More:
“According to childtrauma.org, in the U.S. one out of three females and one out of five males have been victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18 years.” And in some parts of the country, these rates are much higher.
Sexual abuse causes lifelong damage to the individual with symptoms that are varied and universally common. Victims feel a deep sense of sexual shame, depression, anxiety, worthlessness, guilt, and difficulties with careers and relationships.
If not dealt with, the trauma associated with sexual abuse can result in PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and anxiety that could last a lifetime. Some of the possible symptoms of PTSD resulting from child abuse include:
- Suicidal tendencies
- Withdrawal from and mistrust or fear of adults
and authority figures
- Hyper-sexuality and promiscuity
- Avoidance of sex and physical touch
- Problems with sleep or fear of going to bed
- Nightmares and/or flashbacks
- Addictions to drugs, alcohol, or food
- Unusual sexual behavior
- Lesbian lifestyle
- Sexually abusing other children
(35% of child sexual abusers were abused themselves as children.)
- Phantom pain
Exact numbers are impossible to obtain because most sexual abuse cases are never reported, but studies suggest that there are at least 60 million sexual abuse victims within the USA and probably well over a billion worldwide. The NEED for SAVAnon is huge. I have learned that people do not support charitable organizations because the organization HAS a need; they support charitable organizations because the organization MEETS a need.
At AbAnon we rarely ask for money. Our funding comes through our financial partners; most support us with $20, $50 or $100 each month. But to properly launch SAVAnon we need to raise an extra $50,000 and we’re hoping to raise this by inviting you to ignore any logic or reason and to join us in this seemingly impossible dream. Any amount will help. Below, you can find information on how to donate.
Perry Underwood, Executive Director
Check can be mailed to:
Abortion Anonymous, Inc. (AbAnon)
PO Box 11664
Spokane Valley, WA 99211
Donations can be made online at: