Fifteen Years

Fifteen years.

I don’t know why I even thought of it today. I looked at a calendar and saw the date. September 21.

Is there something I’m supposed to remember about today? Somebody’s birthday?

And then, it just settled on me like a sudden fog.

Fifteen years.

Everything changed that night. I learned that just because a man is older, doesn’t mean he’s wiser. And just because he’s taken you on a couple of dates, it doesn’t mean he loves you. And when you say no, he’s not always going to listen.

I woke up the next morning, wearing clothes that weren’t mine, in a bed I’d never been in, and in a house I’d never seen.

And my life was changed forever.

I’m not angry anymore.

It took me years to get angry at him. That first morning when I woke up, I was immediately angry at me. Anger toward him took quite some time. But that’s gone now. There’s no purpose in it but to harden the walls of my heart and rot it from the inside out.

And I refuse to allow that.

And so I stand up today.

Fifteen years.

My head is not down. My eyes are not wet. My heart is not angry.

Because today, I can do something I couldn’t do fifteen years and a day ago…

I can reach out a hand to a sister and say, “We’re going to walk out of the pain, together. We don’t have to live here. We can choose healing. Forgiveness. Peace. And no one can take those away from us again.”

About Sarah Salter


  1. I love you, Sarah. You are amazing and strong and a true gift in this world. While it makes me angry against any person who would do what he did, I am also healed by your forgiveness. Thank you again for sharing your story. As you share, it gives others permission to share and heal, too.

  2. There are so many ways for a person to be hurt. None as invasive or personal as what happened to you and countless others.

    There are so many ways … but there is only one way to truly walk out of the pain, and that is Jesus. I see you walking and talking. I see you moving beyond the fears and “broken” feelings. I see you finding definition and release in the arms of God.

    You do not stand or walk alone. He goes with you. We, His Children, join you.

    May your journey and stand be an encouragement and an instrument in the hands of God to share His wonderful healing with others who have suffered such personal violations. I cannot pretend to truly comprehend all they feel, but you do and God does. Let His light shine.

  3. Sarah, you are a gem. Not many people would attempt to use their pain to bless others. (I guess that means you have something in common with Jesus: using own pain to bless others.)

  4. No matter how dark or how despicable, God really does turn all things to the good. Sounds crass almost until you see the principle in action as it is in your life. Thanks Sarah.

  5. Oh Sarah… Hugs to you.

  6. Thank you for opening yourself up and sharing this, Sarah. I, too, had one of those unforgettable days on September 21, 1996. I blogged about it for Tamara’s link-up; I’d be pleased if it blessed you in some way, as your story of pain and healing has blessed me.

  7. Beautiful :’)

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, everyone for your encouragement and support! You’ve made this week–that could’ve been so hard–such a great experience, instead!

  9. It’s no accident, the timing of this story and my community collection. There are sisters reading who need that offered hand. I am one of them.

    Thank you.

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Tamara, thank you!

  11. Wow, this is absolutely beautiful Sarah. I’m so thankful that you forgave not just him, but yourself. You are worth so much more.

    I’m glad you can now reach out your hand because there are so many hands that need it.

  12. How awesome to choose forgiveness. Thank you for sharing that.

  13. This, like its author, is beautiful and inspiring.

    I’d like to second Carolyn, too: “How awesome to choose forgiveness.” I recently made that choice in a very different set of circumstances, and my life is so much brighter for it.

  14. Bless you, Sarah.

  15. Thank you for sharing this, Sarah. May joy come into all your mornings now.

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