America’s Junior Miss in 1967
Asst. Press Secretary for Sen. John McClellan (AK)
CBS affiliate morning TV talk show Rosemary’s Guestbook in Richmond, VA
Founder & Pres. of
Friendship Imports, an int’l importing company
Vice Pres. of Lascaris Design Group in Washington,
Graduated from the Univ. of TX in 1971 in
Radio, Film, and TV
Married to Former Senator Paul Trible (currently president of Christopher
Rosemary Trible: Hope for Rape Survivors
FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM
Rosemary Trible wants to tell others that the cycle of fear can be broken and lost joy can be found. Her life is a testament to the power of forgiveness and what was meant for evil is now used for good.
A year ago, someone asked Rosemary two questions: “What if you didn’t have to be so afraid?” and “What if you could help someone else not to be so afraid?” These questions inspired her to share her own journey from fear to freedom.
Rosemary was raised in a strong Christian home, and she accepted Jesus as a child at a Billy Graham Crusade. In 1975 she had been married to Paul for four years, and he had begun his political career, winning his first race to become Commonwealth’s Attorney for Essex County, VA. Rosemary got a job an hour away from their home, hosting and producing her own daily women’s show on WTVR in Richmond called Rosemary’s Guestbook.
In December she did a show about sexual assault, which was not talked about on TV in those days. The station was flooded with calls and letters as hundreds of women responded. The next week Rosemary stayed overnight in Richmond to tape extra shows to air over Christmas. At 11 p.m., she went down to the restaurant for coffee. Returning upstairs, she unlocked her door and went to her writing desk. With her back to the windows, she heard the curtains part. A man grabbed her from behind, and she felt the cold steel of a gun muzzle on her temple and his gloved hand around her neck. “OK, Miss Cute Talk Show host, what do you do with a gun at your head?”
Although Rosemary struggled and fought, pleaded and prayed, he raped her viciously. As he finally left, he said, “I will kill you if you tell. I know where you live.” But she immediately called the front desk and they sent security and the police, but no trace was found of the rapist. She called Paul, who was visiting his parents, and he immediately drove two hours to Richmond. The police had no leads. She was sure her assailant had raped many other women.
The night of Rosemary’s rape had been a night of horror, but even more devastating was the fear the rapist had planted into her heart like a dagger. For months Rosemary was overwhelmed with fear, shame and worthlessness as she cried out to Jesus. Gradually as she turned to the Word for comfort, the intimacy with the Holy Spirit returned. Determining that the rapist would not win, Rosemary decided to fight for her joy to return and write down every day something she as grateful for.
LEARNING TO FORGIVE
As she gradually healed, Paul’s political career took off as he entered the race for Congress from Virginia’s First District in 1976. She was pregnant, and then gave birth to their first child, Mary Katherine, while she was still healing from the rape. Having Mary Katherine gave her joy and her fear subsided, however, Rosemary felt violated again when the Trible home was robbed six months later.
She cried out to God, “I can’t live with this fear. Come hold me close. I need your presence more than anything. Lord, I surrender everything in my life to You.”
This was a turning point for Rosemary. She knew she couldn’t overcome this without God giving her strength. After a few moments, she heard in her heart, “Do not fear…I am here.” She experienced God’s love and realized that He is not about religion, He is about relationship. For the first time, Rosemary knew that God was with her in the midst of her pain.
Paul won the race and spent six years in the House of Representatives and then spent six years in the U.S. Senate. During those years, the Lord led Rosemary to friendships that would help her through the healing process. He also led her to work with other congressional wives with several inner city ministries in D.C.
At one of the initial dinners
with some inner city pastors, Rosemary met Pat Patterson. He was a big man who reminded her of her rapist, so she became a little nervous. She asked him about himself, and he began to share his story. Pat had spent five years in Alcatraz. Rosemary’s heart started pounding. Pat also told how one of the inner city pastors shared the Gospel with him, and a year later Pat received Jesus as his Savior. When Pat got out of prison, he came to D.C. to help that pastor work with inner city kids who are heading down the wrong path.
From this meeting, Rosemary knew the only way to truly be set free was to forgive her rapist. She went into the bathroom and prayed. She told the Lord she forgave her rapist and that she would pray every day that someone would tell him about Jesus and that she would spend eternity with him. A huge burden was lifted as this act of forgiveness set her free.
Paul did not run for a second Senate term, because he truly wanted to spend time with his children. He practiced law and then led a public affairs company. On January 1, 1996, he became president of Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News. Five weeks later on Feb 9, 1996, Rosemary drove to a friend’s home in Gloucester, VA, for a weekend retreat with six college women, two of whom had recently been raped at other universities. A snowstorm began as Rosemary drove down the Interstate in her four-wheel drive Explorer. Suddenly she lost control as the SUV spun down the interstate, slammed into the railing and stopped in the middle of the road, facing the oncoming traffic. She was amazed she was alive and the car not damaged.
She headed to the nearest exit, realizing she felt a bit confused when she turned to the right instead of left. Stopping to pray, Rosemary realized she was more affected than she thought by the accident. She lost all concept of time, but it must have been several hours, because she turned off the ignition, lights and locked the doors. Then she heard sirens as an ambulance came screaming up to her. She was unconscious and couldn’t talk, but could hear everything they said.
The first night in the hospital, while in a coma, was the most wonderful experience Rosemary had of her life. It took her to a new level in the Lord and she truly believes she experienced passing from this time through the curtain between the visible and invisible. In this altered state she was surrounded by a warm blanket of love. A beautiful, diffused white light had not left her since she was in the car praying. The light comforted her and took away all fear and anxiety.
She saw and talked with five different Christian friends who had died in the last several years. They appeared the same age as when she had last seen them, yet their faces radiated peace and happiness. Then she noticed a figure deep in the shadows. When Rosemary asked who he was, he replied, “I am the man who raped you. I would not be here except you forgave me and prayed that someone would tell me about Jesus and I would be set free.” It was 21 years after the rape. Rosemary says this was the great gift of her life – to be face-to-face with the man who had stolen her joy and to see him now at peace with God and forgiven of his sinful past. After slowly coming out of her coma over three days, Rosemary fully woke up. She knows nothing will ever separate her from the love of Christ.
Rosemary ministers to many hurting women, especially those who have been sexually assaulted. She says it is important for a woman to have at least one woman (and ideally several) to come along side her through the pain of the healing process. The power of prayer, forgiveness, and friendship were keys to get Rosemary from fear to freedom.
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