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Barb

I would like to begin by giving thanks to my Father in Heaven for the opportunity I have been given to share my faith story with you. I consider it a great privilege, a great honor. The purpose of my talk is to give praise and glory to God who has been there for me from the time I was a child up to this point in time.

There are some gaps in my memory, but I recall witnessing alcohol use and violent behaviours at an early age. As well, I was being sexually, physically, and emotionally abused.

When I was approximately six years of age, I was sent to a Catholic residential school in my birth mother's community. I was there for one school year. Not all of my experiences at residential school were good as some of the nuns were unkind to me. However, there is a positive aspect to attending that residential school. I learned about God. I learned how to pray. When I returned to Matheson Island after that one-year period, I recall praying every day. It was what helped me to survive in an abusive environment.

The things I learned at residential school and the Mennonite Church Sunday school have played a big part in my life. I have come to realize that it was part of God's plan for me.

When I returned to Matheson Island after attending the Catholic residential school, the various forms of abuse I had experienced prior to going to residential school continued. I had nowhere to turn but to the Lord. I recall, in my youth, believing that God loved me but not as much as He loved other people. I saw myself as being a "bad" person because bad things were happening to me - physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

I want to share a very special experience I had when I was about 13 years of age. The house I lived in had two rooms – a bedroom area and a kitchen area. On one particular winter night, Mary and Joe were drinking in the bedroom section. I was at the kitchen table doing my homework. Joe stomped into the room, grabbed my books and threw them into the wood stove. He said, "Why are you bothering to do that when you're going to be nothing but a tramp on the streets of Winnipeg"? I responded with, "Just because your daughters are like that, it doesn't mean I'm going to be like that." That was the wrong thing to say but I was so upset that he had thrown my books in the fire. He was very violent when he drank. He would physically assault Mary on those occasions. On one occasion, he attempted to shoot one of his sons while under the influence of alcohol. My response enraged him. He threw me on the floor, began dragging me around by the hair and kicking me. I somehow managed to escape out the door. Joe was right behind me. As I indicated earlier, it was winter and it was dark. We did not have street lights in the community at that time. There was a pathway on the side of the house and my plan was to run to the woods and hide, possibly in the stable with the horse. However, I missed the pathway and ended up being waist-deep in snow. I gave up at that point and waited for Joe to reach me. I was certain I was going to die. Suddenly I heard the sound of snoring. I turned around. Joe was approximately three feet behind me. He was standing up and he was sleeping. I quickly got out of there and ran to a neighbor's home where I was in the habit of going for protection. These particular neighbours would always take me in and now allow Mary and Joe to come into their home to take me home. It was a safe place for me. They let me in and the lady of the house told me to go upstairs to bed. There was a bed in each corner and one was vacant. I lay down and went to sleep. The next morning, their daughter, Linda, who was around my age, told me that when she had awakened during the night, she saw a figure all in white standing over me. I recall feeling a sense of peace that someone was watching over me.

The various forms of abuse I experienced as a child and adolescent greatly impacted my life. It affected the relationship I had with my ex-husband and my children.

Abuse in any form is damaging. In the case of childhood sexual abuse, there are various behavioural patterns. For example, there is the inability to recalls years of childhood, there are memory gaps. There is extreme difficulty becoming intimate with others. It is difficult to enjoy sexual contact with your spouse. There is a pervasive pattern of promiscuity; unexplainable feelings of anger/rage or fear. In some individuals, the anger/rage is directed inward – these individuals may have suicidal tendencies. Sometimes suicide seems to be the only way out of ending the painful feelings. In my adolescent years, I attempted to take my life on several occasions by overdosing on painkillers. Based on the number of pills taken, I should have died. The Lord saw fit to keep me alive and I am very thankful He did. In other individuals, the anger is directed at others. Imagine if you will, a child who is being physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused by adults. The child is in a powerless position. They do not like what is happening but they are powerless to stop what is happening. They are not allowed to verbalize their feelings. They are forced to suppress their feelings and emotions. What impact do you suppose this will have on that child? It is also common for survivors of childhood abuse to use alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.

When I was 40 years of age, I began doing my healing work – to work towards resolving the childhood issues that had negatively impacted my life. As well, in my 40th year, I began attending university. In May 1996, I graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. I completed my Master of Social Work degree in 2003.

As previously stated, childhood sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm. Psychological, emotional, physical, and social effects include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, and poor self-esteem. Behavior problems include substance abuse, self-destructive behavior, suicide, and crime in adulthood. All of these behaviours make people feel unworthy. They think that God cannot possibly love them. I know that God loves each and every one of us. That is why He sent His son to die for our sins.

The sexual abuse and violence that I experienced led me into a path of destructive behaviour. It was a period of darkness in my life. It could have been said of me then, "Why does she behave that way" like some people say of Native people – "Why do Native people act the way they do?" Many of the people I saw as clients had backgrounds similar to mine. Perhaps they, too, were trying to cope with their pain. With the love and mercy of God, I was able to heal from my past. I am here today because of that great love. I, too, could still be out there, lost and living in darkness.

I know that the Lord helped me in my healing journey. I want to bless Him by sharing my story with my brothers and sisters in Christ, to share with others about what He has done in my life. I want to share with others that with God's help, I was able to heal from my painful past. He did it for me and He will do it for you. One of my favorite Scriptures is from Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." God loves you. He wants to give you hope and a future, no matter what circumstances you are in. He has everything already figured out. There is peace in that.



I witnessed alcohol use and violence throughout my childhood and was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused from a young age. 


When I was six I was sent to a Catholic residential school in my birth mother’s community. Some of the nuns were unkind to me, but there was a positive aspect as I learned about God and how to pray. After a year I returned home and the abuse resumed. I believed God loved me but not as much as He loved others. I saw myself as a “bad” person, but l still prayed every day, and I know this helped me to survive.

A memory from my early teen years stands out. Our house had two rooms, a bedroom and a kitchen. One winter night Mary and Joe, the people who raised me, were drinking in the bedroom and I was in the kitchen doing my homework. Joe stomped into the room, grabbed my books, and threw them into the wood stove, saying, “Why are you bothering to do that when you will be nothing but a tramp on the streets of Winnipeg?” I responded, “Just because your daughters are like that doesn’t mean I will be!” I knew it was the wrong thing to say, but I was upset about my books being destroyed. Enraged, he threw me on the floor, kicked me and began dragging me around by the hair. I managed to escape into the dark winter night, but he was right behind me. I thought I might hide in the woods but ended up waist deep in snow, unable to move. I gave up at that point and waited for Joe to reach me, certain I was going to die. Suddenly, I heard the sound of snoring behind me. He was right there but had fallen asleep. I crawled out of the snow and ran to a neighbour’s home.

The abuse I experienced led me onto a dark path of destructive behaviour, and I attempted to take my life on several occasions because that seemed like the only way out. I should have died, but thankfully the Lord saw fit to keep me alive.

At age 40 I began to work towards resolving my childhood issues, and started attending university. I now have a Master of Social Work degree. Through His love and mercy, God healed me from my past. One of the Scripture verses that helped me is 1 John 1:9: "God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure” (page 373).

Barb Veilleux

Barb Veilleux helps page


Abuse in any form is damaging. In the case of childhood sexual abuse there are various behavioural patterns. For example, there is the inability to recall years of childhood and other memories, and becoming intimate with others is extremely difficult. It is difficult to enjoy sexual contact with your spouse. There are pervasive patterns of promiscuity and unexplainable feelings of anger, rage or fear. In some individuals, the anger or rage is directed inward. These individuals may have suicidal tendencies. Sometimes suicide seems to be the only way to end the pain.

In other individuals, the anger is directed at others. Imagine a child who is being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused by adults. The child is in a powerless position. They do not like what is happening, but they are powerless to stop it. They are not allowed to verbalize their feelings but are forced to suppress their emotions. What impact do you suppose this will have on that child? It is also common for survivors of childhood abuse to use alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.

As previously stated, childhood sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm. Psychological, emotional, physical, and social effects include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, and poor self-esteem. Behaviour problems include substance abuse, self-destructive behaviour, suicide and crime in adulthood. All of these behaviours make people feel unworthy. They think that God cannot possibly love them.

I know that God loves each and every one of us. That is why He sent His Son to die for our sins.

DATES TO REMEMBER

Come see us at MissionFest!

Missions Fest Vancouver  2018    

Jan 26 - 28, 2018

 

Missions Fest Winnipeg  2018    

February 2 - 4, 2018


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