For Girls Only: Secrets


Today I’m beginning a new series that I’m going to run on Fridays that I’m calling “For Girls Only.”

Gentlemen, may I suggest you leave now? If you don’t, please know that I won’t be held responsible for what you see or hear or get embarrassed by. If you do, by chance, hang around, please remember to sit quietly in the back and raise your hands before asking questions.


I got raped.

There’s just no easy way to say it. And no matter how I phrase it, it will always sound unpleasant and ugly and disgusting, because that’s exactly what it is—unpleasant and ugly and disgusting. But as hard as it is to say it or write it, it’s always harder for me to hear or read that it has happened to someone else.

This week, a girlfriend of mine asked me and some of our mutual girlfriends to pray for a friend of hers who was recently raped.

Thinking that my girlfriends already knew about my rape, I mentioned it. I was mistaken. They hadn’t known. And suddenly, they were pulling me aside to whisper, “me too” or “my sister was raped” or “my best friend went through that.”

These discussions caused a domino effect in me. I had question after question after question:

Why didn’t I know that about them?

Why hadn’t I told them about me?

Are they healed or are they still suffering?

And finally, What can I do to share the healing I’ve found?

Ladies, something that I know intimately about myself and that I’ve noticed in other women in the church, is that we keep secrets—about the big stuff and the not-so-big stuff, too. Sometimes we’re protecting someone—sometimes ourselves. Sometimes, we’re afraid of looking weak or incapable. And if we keep enough secrets for a long enough time, it becomes a habit, or worse—a lifestyle.

When I was molested by a babysitter, I kept it secret. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew it was wrong. I was protecting myself (i.e. will they believe me and still love me?) and I was protecting him (i.e. I don’t want him to be mad at me.) And even though I didn’t understand what was going on, I had a sense that what was happening was something to feel guilty and shameful about.

When I became severely depressed as a teenager, I kept it a secret. As a Christian, I felt guilty that I could not “overcome” the depression and be joyful and thankful. Plus, as a preacher’s kid, I felt pressure to “look the part” even if that meant faking it.

When I was eighteen and began to party, I kept it a secret. I couldn’t let everybody see what a hypocrite I was—especially my Dad’s church members.

And then, at the height of my foolishness, I went to a party one Saturday night with my new boyfriend. I was three hours away from home, with no car, no money, no cell phone, and no common sense. At the party, I chose to drink (underage) and the bartender (a friend of my boyfriend) chose to spike my drinks (I heard him bragging about it later).

I remember almost everything that happened that night, including the fact that I couldn’t walk or hold my head up. And I remember waking up the next morning, knowing that my life was never going to be the same.

I didn’t need any encouragement to keep this secret. It was all my fault. I had willingly gone away for the weekend with my much-older (nine years older) boyfriend. I had lied to my parents about it. I had chosen to drink at the party. I had put myself in the position where the only ride I had to the party was my boyfriend, who at the end of the party decided not to take me back to the house where I was supposed to be staying. I had gotten myself raped. That was nothing to brag about. Keeping it secret was the only option.

I kept my secret for over a year. As added self-punishment, I waited another decade to allow myself to let God start healing my emotions.

I did not tell this story so that we could have a pity-Sarah party. Don’t pity me! God is healing me! My point in telling this story was this: we who have been hurt are like butterflies. We’re so pretty that the enemy takes us by our wings and sticks us in mason jars. We can see the world around us, but we can’t completely participate in it. And although we try and try to break out into the world, we only succeed in bruising ourselves in the process.

When you tell your secret, God takes the lid off the mason jar.

Mark 4:22 says, “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.”

What’s keeping the lid on your jar?

Jesus is standing there, waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

If you have something on your heart that you wish to share, please find someone safe and loving—a pastor, sister, or friend—to share it with. Please feel free to leave your comments here, anonymously if you wish. I will pray for each of you and respond as I feel the Spirit leading me. If you wish to email me, you may do so at

About Sarah Salter


  1. Thank you for starting this, and for creating an opportunity for those who need a safe place to come and share when/if they need to. I realize it isn’t easy to open yourself up like this, but I also know your story has and will reach others that need to hear it.

    You know you have all my love and support, Sarah.

  2. Okay Sarah, I read the warning, but I read this anyway. I do hope you don’t hate me for it. I’m not perfect, nor will I rant off into a guys are pigs and should do this or that ((Although I would love to)) I won’t throw a pitty party And if you choose to delete my comment I’ll understand that too. No one should have to go through that. I’d love to say so much more, but Sarah you know I’m a soft kind hearted soul. Just know that if you don’t already. I’m in your corner and always will be 😉

  3. So glad you’re healing. So glad all this is behind you. So glad you could share this with your friends. Now kindly provide the names and addresses of the babysitter and ex-boyfriend so we know where to show up with the pitchforks and torches.

  4. I am glad you are speaking out too. I posted about my rape on my blog a couple weeks back to let it all out. One thing I have learned since this has happened is that no matter where you are, who you are with or what you are doing there is no deserving being raped. I too have been astonished at how many women I know that have experienced this and not said a word. It is a heavy burden to carry alone. Thanks for sharing and it isn’t pity when I say I am sorry this happened to you, it is deep empathy and compassion and I wish you never had to have this experience.

  5. What Wendy said.

  6. Sarah:
    You kind of know where I am at lately, although I haven’t really shared all the “whys”, I now see that I probably do need to find a safe person–besides God to do that with.
    I’m sorry for what happened to you. It’s never RIGHT for someone to take something so intimate that belongs to you. Never DESERVED, etc. But I do thank God that you are finding healing.
    You made a statement in this blog that I could actually picture and it will be quite some time before I forget it : “we who have been hurt are like butterflies. We’re so pretty that the enemy takes us by our wings and sticks us in mason jars. We can see the world around us, but we can’t completely participate in it. And although we try and try to break out into the world, we only succeed in bruising ourselves in the process.”
    Someone once said we are only as sick as our secrets. I’m glad you have opened the jar. You are to beautiful to be held captive.
    I pray this series will continue to grow and BLOW the door wide open on the secrets that make so many people sick.

  7. I agree with what everyone else said. Thanks for sharing your story, Sarah. I look forward to your future Friday posts.

  8. it really is good to be able to talk about anything that has been a part of our lives and thoughts. i find that talking helps many people to process the thoughts. sharing experiences and thoughts can keep people from feeling that they are all alone.

    i seems in anything that we think we are alone in, all i takes is mentioning it, and we find out differently.

  9. What Helen said Wendy said..

    I’ll be praying for your continued healing. Thank u for being brave enough to share this.

  10. What courage you have shown in sharing this, Sarah. I’m just blown away by the strength you have. Never underestimate the power of God’s redeeming love. Keeping you in my prayers.

  11. Sarah Salter says:

    Ladies, I just love y’all for being so supportive! And Wendy, I’m NOT giving you names or addresses… Put DOWN the torches and pitchforks! (But I love you for offering!)

    Thanks everybody for coming by and sharing!

  12. *Sitting quietly in the back as requested, admiring your courage in silence*

  13. I saw your email about this series you’re undertaking, and even though I’ve been off the blog for a bit, I had to make time for this. I’m so glad I did, even though the topic is such a hard one.

    Thank you for having the courage to step up and speak out. Thank God for healing you. And thanks to everyone who supports a person who stops sitting in silence. I hope you have found your way out of that Mason jar, Sarah. *hugs*

  14. Sarah, I’m glad you shared this. I think it is such things as this that God can use for His glory. I’m not sure that you know quite yet how many lives you can/will touch with your story and how many women need to hear it. Thanks for having the courage to do this and yes, you are a beautiful woman no matter what you’ve experienced along the way.

    Now excuse me, I have to go find my pitchfork.

  15. In sharing your story Sarah one can tell that you are in the healing process or have been healed. It was a courageous act for you to share your story so that others may benefit and it will be for the glory of God. God is faithful not just a slogan in my life but a testimony of God’s mercy that He shows in our lives. God bless you. Have a wonderful day, hermana Sarah.

  16. Dacia Bryan says:

    Sarah, that statement about butterflies: “We can see the world around us, but we can’t completely participate in it. And although we try and try to break out into the world, we only succeed in bruising ourselves in the process.”….those are some Holy Spirit anointed words there, if I have ever read them. Thank you for your ministry of words…and we are reading the “Mad Church Disease” book as well and that has really touched us too. God bless!

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