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Rape Survivor Discovers Joy In the Midst of Depression

Before she exuded strength and courage as a stunt woman, Laurie nearly lost her life to depression. A sexual assault had robbed her of a happy childhood until she was invited to an unforgettable Christian youth event. Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

NARRATOR: Stunt double Laurie Singer Harper

has performed hundreds of dangerous crashes,

falls, and spills in her career.

She has to have courage, strength, and self-confidence,

things she had plenty of as a teenager,

growing up in North Carolina.

I found my joy in the gym, in gymnastics.

It was so much fun learning these skills.

I felt so much joy when I was in the air, flipping.

I felt confident.

NARRATOR: That all changed when Laurie was 15.

She was at a party when a boy she knew

asked her upstairs to talk.

Instead, he trapped her in a room,

put a pillow over her head, and raped her.

No one could hear her scream.

And I remember laying there on that bed, thinking, why?

Why has this just happened to me?

Why?

Why me?

These are the things that don't happen to people like me.

But I hated myself for walking into a room,

not knowing what was going to happen to me.

I hated the fact that I was in a position that I was helpless.

NARRATOR: Laurie felt too ashamed to tell anyone.

I just remember being so sad, so sad about it,

and so depressed about it that I didn't

know what to do about it.

But I didn't want to talk to people.

I didn't want to talk to anybody about it.

NARRATOR: With a growing sense of shame and self-hatred,

Laurie isolated herself from family and friends,

falling deeper into depression.

Depression, to me, felt like, why wake up

when you could just be dead?

It felt like, why get out of this bed when you're

happier when you're asleep?

The joy comes out, and there was just no hope.

NARRATOR: Then she started cutting herself.

I would look in the mirror.

And I would take thumbtacks, and I would scratch on my cheek

until it bled.

And then I would stop.

I couldn't really understand why I was doing it.

I guess I hated myself so much that if I wasn't going to die,

I was going to suffer.

NARRATOR: A few months after the attack, Laurie confided

in her best friend.

But that trust was quickly broken.

LAURIE: And next thing you know, people online

started messaging me about the rape.

And that put me to the very end of my rope.

I couldn't believe that my best friend that I trusted

would tell somebody.

NARRATOR: On impulse, Laurie downed a handful

of pills she found at home, a decision she questioned

right away.

After I took those pills, all of a sudden that boldness of I

want to die became do I want to die?

And I went downstairs, and I told my mom.

NARRATOR: Laurie's mom called the poison control center

and learned there wasn't any danger.

But she knew Laurie needed help, so she took her

to a psychiatrist who put her on medication for ADHD

and depression.

As opposed to always depressed,

I started becoming more even.

But just because I went on medication

didn't give me joy in my life again.

It didn't.

I was going along, living life, but I didn't feel good inside.

I didn't feel great like I used to.

I just still felt on autopilot.

NARRATOR: One day at school, Laurie

met a college student who invited her

to a Christian youth group gathering called Young Life.

At once, Laurie noticed there was

something different about her.

I was like, this girl, I had never seen

a joy like that in somebody.

I mean, this was more joyous than who I was before the rape.

And so I was thinking, that girl has got something special.

And whatever it is, I want it.

NARRATOR: So Laurie went to the meeting and discovered

what her new friend had--

faith in Jesus.

When I started to learn about who Jesus is,

I started to perceive joy in my heart again.

No matter what it was that was dark that had happened

in my life, he loved me anyway.

I said, yes, Lord, come in my life.

I'm ready.

I'm at the darkest place I've ever been.

And I accept you fully.

Bring it on.

After I accepted Jesus, it felt like the depression went away.

NARRATOR: Instead of giving in to depression,

she learned to depend on God for strength and joy.

God's presence gives me the confidence

to know that he's going to be there,

and he's going to protect me.

NARRATOR: And Laurie says it was God

who led her to a dream career as a stunt woman

and also to her husband, Will Harper, who

happens to be a stunt man.

She's learned that when she seeks God through life's

trials, she'll find joy.

Now I am hopeful for the future.

I know that he has a plan and purpose for my life.

Everything's changed.

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