BREE STEVENS

Counseling helped me revisit the sexual assault. I discovered that it was linked to all my health issues, PTSD, and same-sex attraction.
— BREE STEVENS

When I was fifteen, I was blindsided by sexual assault.  For years afterward I battled depression, self-hatred, self-harm, pornography and masturbation, fear of men, and PTSD. I was terrified of revisiting the incident so I suppressed it and went on medication to cope with my health and psychological issues.

       In college I met a girl who, to this day, is my best friend. Our friendship developed quickly and we became extremely close. Although we’d suffered different forms of abuse, we became the answer to each other’s pain and the emotional intimacy we shared turned sexual. It never seemed to resonate with me to identify as lesbian or bisexual, but I couldn’t deny that I was in a same-sex relationship with my best friend. I hated what we were doing in secret, and I never found lasting fulfillment. The temporary escape I sought from my sexual trauma when we were together was short-lived, and only reinforced the disconnect I felt toward men. I convinced myself it was just a phase that would go away on its own, but three years later we were still stuck in a secret that was increasingly hard to hide while feeling more empty and isolated than before we became friends.

       The turning point for me happened when I woke up next to her one morning and saw two versions of my life flash before my eyes. In one future I saw myself living an openly gay lifestyle and married to her; behind me was a completely severed relationship with my family. In the next future I saw us standing beside each other and married, but not to each other. Our husbands, kids, and families surrounded us. We were in love with our husbands and more satisfied with them than we ever were with each other, and my relationship with my parents was restored. In that moment I heard Jesus say to me, “You can be with your best friend for forever. Whichever way you choose, I promise you, I will never leave you. But, if you choose a relationship with her, you will leave me." I couldn't bear the thought of leaving Jesus. I knew He was telling me the truth.

       So I chose. She chose. We both wanted the latter future, so we asked people in our church for help. The thought of opening up about our struggle was terrifying, but they embraced us. I got pastoral counseling and read books about finding freedom in my sexuality. Counseling helped me revisit the sexual assault, and I discovered that it was linked to all my health issues, PTSD, and same-sex attraction. Within months, my PTSD symptoms dissipated, I went off medication, and the sexual draw I had toward her began to change. She went through her own healing process too, and we’ve been healthy and free for four years now. The sexual tension and co-dependency are gone. We love our friendship this way.

       Today, I feel whole. I feel safe around men again, and it is not difficult to look them in the eyes. I am even looking forward to dating guys, something I had not felt in years. I love my body now, and feel empowered in my sexuality. 

CaliforniaAbram Goff