January 12, 2000, is still vividly etched in Christine Turner’s mind – the day she first seriously entertained the idea she might have been sexually abused by her father. Chris was celebrating her friend
Cheryl’s birthday when they started talking about Chris’ childhood.
Chris confided she was exposed to pornography and sexual stories as a child of ten, had an inappropriate sexual knowledge for such a young age, and had often seen her father nude. Cheryl was quick to point out these childhood experiences were not normal and constituted child abuse. Cheryl encouraged Chris to seek further revelation.
Taking a step of faith, Chris prayed and asked God to show her if she had been sexually abused. Her prayer led to God revealing episodes of abuse she had repressed for almost 30 years! Her husband, Jeff encouraged her to seek counseling, and Chris’ journey to healing and helping other sexual abuse victims began.
Chris grew up in the small, agricultural town of Riverdale in the central valley of California, the middle child with two brothers. Her father was the school counselor at the local high school. Her parents separated when she was ten, and the abuse began when Chris starting visiting her father at his apartment. After her parents divorced, she actually went to live with her father, who had remarried, because a two-parent home was considered more stable!
After graduating from Fresno State with a degree in Education, Christ went on to get her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. She met and married a Navy pilot, Jeff Turner, in 1988. Together they had two children who both followed their parents’ career paths. Son, Jeffrey, is a pilot in the military and daughter, Allie, is a teacher. Christ taught in the Fayette County school system on and off for 20 years. She is now retired from teaching and focusing on writing to help others who have experienced sexual abuse. She believes in the power of a personal story and wrote her own memoir in 2018, Beloved From the Start: The Death of Innocence and Restoring the Soul from Childhood Sexual Abuse. You can purchase this riveting book on Amazon.
According to statistics, between 12 – 35% of all women are subjected to unwanted sexual contact by the age of 18. Easy access to online pornography has contributed to an increase in this terrible crime. In her book, Chris acknowledges that the two universal feelings experienced by those who have been sexually abused are that no one can fathom the all-embracing impact of abuse, and no one, including God, is trustworthy. Her goal for those reading the book is to bring light to this dark topic and to bring hope – “hope for healing, hope for healthy relationships, hope for freedom in sexual expression and most of all, hope to love oneself completely and honestly.”
For Chris, the turning point in her life was placing her trust in God and receiving His love. According to Chris, “the secret to change I discovered was not in trying. It was in receiving. Receiving is so hard because we were tricked when we were abused…The process of receiving and surrendering to God’s love allowed a gentleness, kindness, and tenderness toward myself to develop.”
Chris subscribes to the sage advice of an old proverb: “A problem shared is a problem halved, and a joy shared is a joy doubled.” She understands the power of community and healing together. She wants to give women who have experienced sexual abuse a safe place to share and support each other. Since publishing her book, Chris has written and launched a free, six-part curriculum called Art from the Heart that teaches women how to heal from sexual abuse.
Chris currently leads Art from the Heart workshops at Legacy Ministries in Peachtree City on Thursday evenings, and the results have far exceeded her expectations. The ages of attendees range from 18 years to 66, and all the women who started the workshops have completed the series. Chris is now getting referrals from counselors.
You do not need to attend a workshop to gain access to Chris’ material. Her website, belovedfromthestart.com, gives interested women the opportunity to watch Chris teach each session on video and to download the material for further reference. Topics covered include Family Systems, Shame and Trust, Boundaries and Safe People, Vulnerability and Authenticity, Sexuality, and Overcoming.
“My dream,” says Chris, “is that no longer will the abused be alone and silent in their pain, but we can connect and use our painful pasts to help one another heal.”