by Rachel Johnson
We’re back with more on Nicole Bromley, the incredibly inspiring motivational speaker and author who founded OneVOICE Enterprises. In the previous post, we learned about Nicole’s past and the events that led up to the creation of her foundation. Now we get to take a look into Nicole’s life as a mentor, a speaker, an author, and a leader.
P.S. Not only is this woman smart, courageous, and bright, but she’s funny, too!
Q: What is the most frightening thing about being so vulnerable with your audiences and supporters, whether you’re delivering a speech or they’re reading your books?
I guess it would be judgment…or having a pencil thrown at me. But at the end of the day, I have embraced my brokenness and I know that Jesus has taken my shame, so that removes much of the fear that could come with being so vulnerable with my life and story. Probably the most scary thing for me is the chance that my heel would get caught on a mic cord as I am pacing the stage and I would bust it in front of two thousand people. Well, actually, that would probably just be funny.
Q: Conversely, what is the most powerful thing about disclosing personal information to your community of supporters?
I think there is a great deal of power in being transparent and in sharing real life stories of brokenness and struggle. It lends others courage and gives them permission to say “me, too” and I think that, for many of us, those are the two most important words we could ever speak aloud. They can be the first step to healing and spark a journey toward wholeness. They have the power to change a life forever.
Q: What has been your most memorable speaking experience or presentation, and why?
That would definitely be my campaign in East Africa in 2010, specifically speaking in the first public forum to ever address sexual abuse and trafficking in the country of Uganda. After I finished speaking, the Honorable First Lady of Uganda, Janet Museveni, shook my hand before unveiling a five-foot-tall replica of my book Hush and officially launching it as a resource for the people of her country. I was in shock at how this culture had embraced my message and mission. I felt completely humbled that God would use me as a pioneer in breaking the silence on such hushed issues across East Africa.
Q: This month is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. If you could give a commission to our readers on what to do to honor of this month, what would it be?
Be aware: One in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by the age of 18. Break the silence: Share your secret with someone you trust and begin your healing journey. Be an open ear to a friend who needs one: Just as one abusive relationship can completely distort an abused child’s development, so just one healthy relationship can lead to a tremendous amount of healing.
A charge given in my book Hush helps explain this commission:
“If no one sheds light on what is being done in the darkness, it will never stop, and survivors will never know the truth that will set them free from the lies that keep them in bondage. Every time we bring abuse into the light, we help prevent more abuse while we help its victims heal. “Victims need their own voice to break free from their silent pain. But they also need your voice. They need my voice. Together, our voices become one voice, one that rings loud and clear as it speaks words of love and truth, of validation, acceptance, and comfort. Our voice will penetrate the darkness to expose sexual abuse for exactly what it is. Our voice will lead wounded hearts to a safe, open place of healing. And as we speak out, our voice will reduce the risk of abuse for the next child, and the next, and the next.” (Hush, p. 13)
Q: Do you have any free time in that busy schedule of yours? If so, what do you like to do to unwind?
With two boys (age three-years-old and eighteen-months-old), free time from work is typically spent playing trucks and trains, digging outside in the dirt, or chasing each other around playgrounds, growling like dinosaurs—not exactly what I call “unwinding,” but it’s the season we are in right now, and I can do a pretty good T-Rex roar.
But whenever I do get free time alone, I like to go out to eat with a friend, play basketball, shop, paint or sit outside with a good book.
Q: What encouragement can you give to women who feel the need to share their stories, whether through speech or the written word, but have fears about disclosing information about their personal lives?
To all my fellow survivors out there: I pray you’ll find the courage to tell your secret. I pray you would begin the healing journey Christ has for you. Find someone you trust. Share your story. Write it down. Read it out loud. Cry! Yell! Get it all out!
Why? Because I believe childhood sexual abuse is one of the best-kept secrets in our world today, and I believe that the first step to healing is breaking the silence.
But it isn’t easy. If you have been abused, sharing your secret may very well be your biggest fear. I know the feeling. It took ten years for me to tell my secret. But I now know that I am not alone. After hearing me speak, many people tell their story for the first time and I receive emails years later saying that was the day that would change their lives forever.
So find your voice, Lovely One. You deserve to heal. And I am confident that as you find the courage to share your story, God will use you to help others find their voice too. God bless you and may the silence be broken.
When have you spoken out about an injustice done to you or someone else? How did it turn out?