While working on a crossword puzzle this clue appeared on the screen, “_____
heals all wounds”. Time was the answer they were looking for and though I have
heard this saying most of my life, this was the first time I saw it as a lie. If time
heals all wounds then why does an adult child’s heart still ache because of the
rejection from a parent and why does a mother still cry years later for her child
who died way too young? If time holds such magical powers as to heal all wounds
why do sexual assault victims, even 60 years later, still wake up in a sweat because
the nightmare was too real. Time’s magic seems powerless to remove the feeling
that no one can be trusted because they were sexually assaulted by a friend, family
member or stranger. Why can they still be taken back to the assault in their mind
by a touch, smell, sound or taste that is reminiscent of their assault even after
decades of time has passed?
Not only does time not heal all wounds, for some it can be an accuser. I have
heard many victims say, “It happened so long ago! What is wrong with me? Why
can’t I move pass this?” Time seems to blame us for every day it moves on
without us. Time taunts us with what we should be, where we should be and how
we should be until we feel hopeless, helpless and alone.
Time will continue to pass with or without us, for that is what it does. We cannot
wait for some magical moment when enough time has passed to make everything
wonderful or normal in our lives again. It just won’t happen. The only thing time
can do is to put distance between when our assault happened and the present.
Time may not hold supernatural powers but neither is it the enemy. With time
things can improve, but it is not the mere passing of time that heals, it is what we
do within that time that makes the difference. If we use time to work through the
hurt, things will get better. If we take time to make healing a priority in our lives,
healing will come in stages. If we make time to be good to ourselves and to
celebrate even the smallest of victories, restoration will eventually find its way into
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy once said, “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I
do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers
them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” This is a more
accurate assessment of what time can do. Sexual assault leaves its mark on our
lives. It leaves a scar that, on some days, can ache as it did when it first happened.
But on other days, it’s just a reminder of part of our life’s story. Just a little
something to think about.