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325. Empowering Lives with Purpose, Interview with Cindy Arevalo

By julie

Guest Cindy Arevalo is a survivor. She is an “Ally and Advocate” for other survivors in her community.  She is an Author, Entrepreneur, Wife, and Mom.   Cindy speaks of living in silence, breaking free from her thoughts, and what redemption means to her as she walks in a new life since she’s been redeemed.   WARNING: Graphic details when Cindy shares her story.    *****  

Kimberly Hobbs   Welcome to Empowering Lives with Purpose. And I’m your host, Kimberly Hobbs. I am the founder of Women World Leaders. And ladies, we are glad to have you today and also our guest, who is Cindy Arevalo. From California. Cindy, thank you so much for being with us today. 

Cindy Arevalo   Thank you so much for having me on Kimberly. It’s my honor. Thank you.

Kimberly Hobbs   Awesome. And today lady, we are going to talk about Cindy’s story storey living in silence and a word she chose today that is special to her as redeemed. So we will be talking about that today. And it’s our hope that through listening ladies that you will be inspired and encouraged to walk closer to Jesus when you hear some of these amazing life stories of how other women have overcome. It helps us to relate, to have compassion to spark ideas in our own life of how we can walk closer with our Lord and Savior. And so that again, the name of our podcast empowering lives with purpose. And God’s word says they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb. And by the word of their testimony, that’s revelation 1211. And that really is a scripture that’s awesome to even Cindy because she testifies of her story, God’s story that he has given her and she’s going to share that today, but I want to share a little bit about who she is. And before we get into this story,

Cindy Arevalo is an entrepreneur and works in financial services with her husband, she is also the author of living in silence where she shares her story of being a survivor.

She reveals the torment and abuse that she battled in secret at the hands of one of her teachers. Cindy found her voice and claimed her freedom, and now works serving as an ally and an advocate for other survivors in her community. And through her book and breaking the silence, she has created a larger network of support and hope for survivors of sexual assault across the globe. Cindy and Juan live in California with their children, and she loves answers Jesus now passionately. And today, she wanted to come on to empower you ladies with purpose and share what God is now doing in her life since she has found Jesus. Amen to that.

So Cindy, you chose the word redeemed today. And before we get into sharing about why that word is so important to you. Could you please share a little bit about your story about the tragedy of it? You were raped. And it caused you through the years to run away from God. So let’s begin there.

Cindy Arevalo   Yes, so I actually was 14 at the time when I met my abuser. He was a former substitute teacher of mine. And how he started grooming me was because he saw an insight of pretty much who I was at the time and at the time, I was very naive, very insecure. I was just very shy. And I was looking in him what I was not getting at home. I don’t know if that makes sense. So my parents worked long hours. My dad worked great night shifts. My mother cleaned houses for a living. She didn’t drive had to commute on the bus or on the train. So she leaves the house about 5am come home at 7pm She was tired. My dad was working. And my sister who is much older than me was busy in her own life. So I pretty much felt alone in the house. And anytime I tried talking to any of them, it felt like too much for them because they were just so exhausted from work. And here comes this man. And he gives me attention, which is something I was not getting at home he gives me attention he tells me I’m pretty that I’m smart that I’m more mature for my age that my jewelry looks nice. He started complimenting me on jewelry, just simple things. And he made me feel special. So I at the time felt so far behind from

I’m the curveball when it came to boys. I liked boys, but I felt like they didn’t like me. I had really bad acne on my forehead. My hair was super puffy, just unruly. It was going through its own phase, my teeth were crooked at the time. And I didn’t feel beautiful. I was ashamed to show my arms because I thought they were funny looking, they were skinny. And how that ended up happening was because one time when I was 11, I was my first spaghetti structure. And they felt like I was like growing up wearing my first spaghetti strap and my, my dad saw me and one of my aunts, and they looked at me in horror and in disgust. And I felt ashamed. I felt like I did something bad. And the way that they looked at me, they even pretended to gag and they said, What are you wearing? You’re not wearing any clothes, you’re naked, you’re disgusting, I felt that that I did something wrong. So since then, I used to wear even sweaters and the summer, anything was better I would I was more comfortable being sweaty, and hot during the summer then to show my arms and feel exposed. So he would compliment me on my arms, which is the opposite of what I was taught as a child. And I thought, well, you know, maybe he’s right, my arms are pretty nice. So then I started wearing just my, my regular uniform shirt without a sweater over anymore. And he slowly started asking me more about who lives with me, who am I around? What are their work hours, like, and I thought, he really cares about me. But what I didn’t know was that he was just figuring out my surroundings and my insights, to have more access to me. And he knew how insecure and shy I was, he knew that I had no experience with boys. He was aware that my parents were so busy that they were not around, let alone my sister. So he found it as the perfect opportunity to just take a hold over me. He started telling me that he liked me. And by like, I couldn’t process like yet. I thought, okay, he likes me as a person. And then he meant no, romantically. So he’s he started telling me that I was beautiful, that one day we were going to get married, and I was going to live with him on his boat. And he just painted this whole idea in my mind. And I believed it because I actually had a crush on him at the time, not knowing that it was unhealthy that it was not right, that it was a secret to begin with. Because he told me, you can’t tell anybody about this. Because if you tell somebody, I’m gonna get in trouble. And so where are you? And you don’t want that, do you? And I said, No, absolutely not. And let me just say you were little you were like 12 or 13. Right when this started, I was 14 when this started. Just very naive. My parents ever spoke to me about sex about boys, it was always a taboo subject and don’t touch it. And if we don’t touch it, it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t exist. And I wish my parents would have been a little more vocal, just so I would have been aware. And I would have avoided situations like that. 

Kimberly Hobbs   Mm hmm. Wow. So how then did the start that was how he started to

zone in on you? And then it actually became where he physically raped you? 

Cindy Arevalo   Yes. So he first started, of course, grooming me complimenting me. And then he led it to bone sex. So he started in steps, he started gaining my trust, building a friendship with me, telling me that I’m beautiful, telling me that he likes me romantically. And now he’s teaching me he’s educating me on what it is to have a boyfriend and what do boyfriend and girlfriends do and what do people and love do with each other? So he starts teaching me about phone sex first, and then he starts moving on from that. So prior to moving on from that one of the conversations that I had with him, I had just hung up the phone with him, but my sister picked up the other line before we hung up the phone. It was a two story apartment. And she heard him just say bye. That’s all she heard. And she comes up to me and she goes, who was that? And I said, oh a friend. She said no, that that did not sound like the boy that sounded like a man who was that? I said, Oh, it was a friend. She goes no, that sounded like a man. And I said no, it was

friend, she didn’t believe me. She went to my mother. She said, I don’t know what she’s up to. I don’t know what she’s doing. She’s being gross and disgusting. She’s talking to an older man, you need to discipline her, you need to talk to her. So my mom called me over, but instead of asking me, who are you talking to? Who is that? Why is it so wrong to be talking to an older man? She just, she just hit me in the face. She called me a slut. She said, I was wrong. I was disgusting. What was I up to? What was I doing? And that felt like she did enough to just discipline me. It was a subject that became untouched in the moment. And then my sister, dialed I believe was Star 69. Back then to call back the number. And he picked up thinking it was me. And she went off on the phone with him, she cussed him out. She told him that if he ever got near me again, if he ever contacted me again, if he ever was around me again, she would report him to the police. And she felt like that was that was enough. And she didn’t explain to me why it was bad. Nobody explained to me why they were afraid in that moment, or why it seemed alarming. So she went off back to her room. My mom was watching a soap opera back like nothing happened. And I’m sitting there confused. of what’s going on. Why is this bad? What did I do something bad? What’s what’s happening? I’m confused. So then my mother in the night, asked me who was that man? I said, He’s the, he’s a teacher. He got hired to teach Pe by then at a permanent capacity. And she goes, Oh, okay, a teacher. And what does he look like? And I said, Oh, he’s white. He’s tall. He’s big. And she’s like, Oh, okay, he’s white. And does he drive a nice car? And like, I think so she’s like, what is that? I said, I think it’s a Land Rover. She goes, Oh, okay. Those are expensive cars. Then you said he’s a teacher, right? I said, Yeah. She goes, so teachers make good money, right? And I said, I don’t know. I mean, I’m 14. I don’t know. And she goes, Okay. Well, I had a friend who actually married an older man when she was of age. And now they live happily ever after. So who knows? Maybe, maybe when you’re older, and you’re of age, you know, it might turn into something.

She’s like, Oh, my goodness, he must be so afraid. You know, just give him a call. He’s probably scared. Give them a call and let them know that, that it’s okay.

So I’m thinking and my mom thinks there’s nothing wrong. Okay, then it’s fine. And nothing else came to my mind. So I called him. He’s not answering the phone. I call him again, I leave on my voicemail saying My mom says it’s okay to talk to you. And he doesn’t believe me, but he does call me back. And he says, No, I can’t talk to you anymore. Your sister threatened me and no, I’m not going to lose my my job over this. And I said, But my mom said it’s okay. And you said what? I sent my mom said, It’s okay for me to talk to you. And he said, I don’t believe you. He’s like, put her on the phone. I said she doesn’t speak English. He said whatever he was, she knows that’s basic enough for me to understand. I need to hear it from her. So I gave my mom the phone and I told her to just say whatever she could, letting him know that it was okay. And all she said was it’s okay. That’s all she said. And from there, that was the greenlight that was where he felt like he had more than a foot in through the door now. He felt my mom’s aware mom’s aware of who I am. What I do. I’m in school. I have a romantic interest in her daughter, and she’s okay with it.

And from that moment, he started planning. So he planned the first attack.

After I came out of middle school, starting high school, I was in a summer break of two months. So he started the first attack there saying, I missed you so much, but we can be seen in public. Let’s meet up in a hotel room, somewhere where you can walk because again, we can be seen in public. And I’m thinking we’re gonna hang out, we’re gonna watch movies. We’re gonna order pizza, because he said he missed me. That’s what I’m thinking. And it was the opposite of what I was found with in that moment. He pushed me against the wall. The room was dark. I was frightened. Everything was so new to me. He was like on this frenzy of just uncontrollable lust. He started undressing me he pushed me

swimming against the bed. He starts pulling my pants down my underwear and he starts giving me oral sex and I tense up, I close my legs, I clenched, and he’s upset because he said, If only you were to enjoy this, you would understand how good it feels. And I was crying, I’m scared. I said, I don’t feel comfortable. He said, You just need to relax. If you relax, it’s going to feel good. So he switched tactics trying to relax me. He started fingering me. And it just, it hurts so much. And I was crying even more letting him know, it just hurts. And he was frustrated, he was angry. He felt like he was not getting what he imagined in that moment. So he tried penetrating me there in that moment, and I was crying because I hurt so much. And he was unsuccessful of penetrating me in that moment. And I cried, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was confused. I knew something wasn’t right. I was afraid to tell him something doesn’t feel right, because I did not want to upset him more.

And he said, Okay,

I’m not leaving here.

Like this. In other words, he’s pretty much letting me know, I didn’t come here to spend my time like this. So he says, I’m gonna teach you to give me a blow job.

So he teaches me how to give him a blowjob. And once he finishes, I’m confused, I’m disgusted. And he is mad. He looks upset, because he didn’t get what he wanted to get at the end of the day. But it was enough. And he cannot just dispose of me. He’s like, okay, you can go now, type of thing. And as I’m walking home, I’m confused somewhat, what just happened? Did I upset him? I’m not ever thinking he did something wrong. I think I’m in the wrong. I’m like, Did I do something to upset him? But if this is what people do, when they’re in love, why do I feel this way? Why, why am I being this way? Why does it not feel natural? I have a lot of questions. 

Kimberly Hobbs   Yes. And that is why I believe that as you were sharing with me earlier, Cindy, that again, you started seeking, you started looking for things in all the wrong places because you didn’t know what to do with this. And the cycle continued, right? Like you were just you were wandering and at this time, you didn’t know Jesus, your family. I mean, it just was

all of all of what happened in that place and forming you and in it was just horrific. You got involved in anything that you could find to help you heal from this, which was, again, you were left to your own. And so can you talk about right now,

as we see all that happened, okay. And I don’t want to take away from anything that you had experienced through that time. But

dealing with going to all these different things to satisfy the healing that didn’t work. Let’s fast forward years ahead. To you meet this man.

You meet another man. And let’s talk about what happened there. Because that changed the direction of your life. 

Cindy Arevalo   Yes, so actually, it was me and my husband, who met him. He’s a good friend of ours now. And at the time, we it’s the first time we meet him. He says, Hi, I’m and he says his name. And we introduce ourselves. He says, Hey, by any chance, have you accepted Christ in your life? And we said, No. And he said, Would you like to? I said, Sure. My husband also agreed. So in that moment, he prayed for us. And for so, so long, I ran away from Christ because I thought I was so unworthy. I thought I was so full of baggage and shame and guilt and anxiety and depression and suicide and so many, so many things, so much baggage, and I thought, Who am I to come to Christ as to ask him for help. When I’ve done all of this, who am I? I’m not worthy. And I thought I was going to face an angry Christ at me. And it was the opposite. And that moment when I accepted Christ, I started crying because I could not believe with what I was found with I was found in

that moment with His grace with his love.

Oh, just a beautiful, warm, letting me know, I’m here. I’ve been here, man. And in that moment, I couldn’t believe it that somebody like him would want somebody as broken as me. But here he was letting me know that it was, it was not anything for him that it wasn’t too heavy for him that it wasn’t too dirty for him, that it wasn’t too much of anything for him that he could redeem me that he could set me free. 

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen. And I’m sure that there are ladies out there listening that can relate to finding Jesus and feeling that moment of release that now Jesus is here, you don’t ever have to be alone again. And just knowing that you have now met your Creator, personally, and that you are free from all of the shame and guilt that you are carrying through these years. Because that incident and what happened in the in between and ladies, you can read Cindy’s book, Keeping the Silence and are living in silence, to find out that in between but

but now she has Jesus and your life was changing. Cindy, and you couldn’t believe that God wanted someone like you, you said, you were forgiven. But you couldn’t forgive your abuser. Even at this moment, even though you knew that you were forgiven. And you loved that, that moment in that time in your life with Jesus and you were learning. But you were still a judge. And you you told me about this and you wished you wished the best for this perpetrator as they sent him to prison, because you went through all of that too, and he did go to prison.

But you’re like you wish him the best. So long farewell. But God says that we’re not to hold a grudge. And when you and this is a scripture verse, ladies, when you are praying first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. That’s Mark 1125. So can you share here, Cindy, about what you went through when you had to face? That? You’re not a judge? 

Cindy Arevalo   Yes, it actually took a movie. For me to have that moment. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the movie, the shack, it’s a book also. And I was watching the shack and there’s a scene in there, where it shows a father and his two children there, a son and a daughter, and he has to convict one and save one. And then that moment, he realizes he can’t do that no matter what each of them has done. They’ve all done something. But he can’t do that. Because he loves them so much. And in that moment, that was what hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought that’s, that’s our father, who am I to? to literally just say, Father, please forgive me. You know what I’ve done. But please forgive me. I’m so sorry for what I’ve done. But no, you know what he has done? And no, he’s really bad, some mean person to not forgive him? Who am I to say that we are all his creations? At the end of the day, we are his creations we are His children. And

who am I to tell him Lord, do not forgive him? I’ve been a really good judge and judging him for what he has done to me and the other girls. And I thought, No, I can’t do that. And in that moment, I felt

where I told myself, Lord,

please soften up my heart because my heart was so hard towards them. So cold, so bitter, so dark towards him. And I thought, Lord, please soften up my heart.

And I said, I give him to you. I lay him at your feet. I don’t want to take it back. Because there was a lot of times where I thought, okay, forgive him, leave it at his feet, but then I would take it back and then I’m bitter again. I’m angry and all the emotions would just come up and that no, Lord, I’m leaving him to you. I’m giving him to you. And I felt freedom in that moment, where now I can talk about him. I can talk about the abuse and it doesn’t hurt me anymore. I remember everything very vividly. But it doesn’t hurt me anymore because I feel healed by God. And that’s only something that Jesus Christ can do. Nobody else can do.

knew that I was looking into the New Age stuff, the stones, the chakras, the meditation, the sound, bath, the stage, the palo santo all these things that they sell you on, and it was all just temporary peace and Christ gave me my everlasting peace, especially women from my abuser. Praise God. And you saw that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. God tells us that in his words. So, like you said, Who am I to be judge? I mean, God looks at all sin, and all sinners and praise God for movies in our life that can show us things like this that we can understand and get a clearer picture. So the word redeemed that you claimed as your word, Cindy, is found 147 times in God’s word, and I love the Scripture Galatians 220 It says, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh. I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me, and that is a beautiful picture of redemption. So Cindy, now you live in freedom since you’ve been redeemed and you’ve been forgiven yourself, and you forgave your perpetrator. And Psalm 1072 says, Let the redeemed of the Lord say so whom He has redeemed from trouble. And you could have gone the opposite way, honey, and you could have held on to all the anger and the bitterness which ladies listening some of us do we hang on to that ugliness when we’ve been wronged in our life. And so this redemption word, can you talk about this redemption word you did a little bit. But let’s, before we close, because we only have a couple minutes, but talk about your redemption. Yes, I felt set free. I didn’t have any more chains attached to any more bondage. I didn’t have my abuser anymore attached to me in any shape way or form emotionally. Because that’s where I had the attachment with him was emotionally in my heart, I could not forgive I couldn’t not let go of the hurt because of what he said and did to me. And that was an attachment that I had with him even though I claimed I did not have any more attached to him. That was one that was really big that was keeping us binded together. And the moment that I forgave him, that attachment broke off of me, and I found my freedom. So it’s not something that happened overnight. It didn’t happen in a couple of months, it took years. But more than anything, it took a lot of intimacy with the Lord spending a lot of time with him, because they were moments that just felt really difficult and the idea of forgiving, was almost an impossible idea and in my flesh, yes, completely impossible but but by the grace and the strength of God, not impossible at all. 

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen, honey, amen. That’s so true. You had every right in the world’s eyes, right to be furious with somebody who wrecked your life. But God right God showed up. He says Don’t let sin are don’t sin by letting anger control you, or give a foothold to the devil. That’s Ephesians 626 to 27. Don’t let anger control you ladies are the bitterness that comes because somebody else has sinned. Don’t give into that. No more bondage, right? God freed you, Sunday and by God’s grace, you can have redemption. Through the blood of Jesus, that word redeemed is so beautiful. God gave himself for us to redeem us all ladies. So I’m asking Cindy as we close right now, what is one piece of advice, honey that the listener who has identified to you with you as you have shared bit by bit that ugliness I know there’s women out there that have been through what you have been through, and it brings up all these thoughts for them and they’re hurting? What is that way that you can or give us something that you can leave with them that gives them hope?

And something that they can take to their heart? 

Cindy Arevalo   Yes. Well, first of all, I do want to tell the ladies that they are not alone, that they are believed they are heard, they are seen. They are loved. They are the daughters of the King. And I want to say that above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. That’s proverbs 423. And, therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation

has come, the old has gone, the new is here.

And I want to I want to just say that you’re not too much, you’re not too broken. You’re not too dirty, you’re not too full of sin and shame. You’re not too much of anything for our Lord, He gave His life for us, he already took care of that price for you on the cross. And I want to tell you that he loves you. He wants to redeem you. He wants to set you free and make a new creation in you. But you need to be willing to just open up your heart and fully surrender it all. To him, Give it all to him, lay it all at his feet. And I like this verse from Ecclesiastes 311, that says he has made everything beautiful in its time. And I really do believe that I believe that what I went through was not something in vain. I believe that that is something that the Lord is now using for a testimony because, unfortunately, sexual abuse happens far too often and far more often than we would like to imagine, especially nowadays, and there are a lot of communities out there that offer a lot of help and resources.

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen, there are and, ladies, one way is you can reach out to us at women world leaders And just let us know that you want to speak with us and and we can there are women that will just pray with you and listen. And also I know Cindy that you have made yourself available and your book available. And if you want to receive a copy of Cindy’s book living in silence, can you tell the ladies how they can get that? Yes. So if you go on Amazon, you type in living in silence by Cindy Arevalo, it’ll come right back up. And then I also have an audio version of it. For the ones that like to hear audible. There is an audible version of the book as well.

Thank you. And then if they want to reach you personally, you have made yourself available as well. And how can they reach you personally?

Cindy Arevalo   The best way for me it’s actually through Instagram. So if you type in

_Cindy_Arevalo. You’re able to find me on Instagram to send me a message. 

Kimberly Hobbs   And Arevalo is spelled

Arevalo. And Cindy, we are just so grateful again that you would come on and you would just share with the listener and I just feel really compelled right now to close out praying over the listener that right now maybe processing because of that word picture that you started out with in your story. It may have brought up so much for that person that is listening right now. And I just want to pray a covering over them. So can we pray together for our sisters? Yes.

Dear Lord Jesus, we just come before you right now God and we just pray over our listeners. Lord, we just pray that that one particular woman right now, that one particular girl right now that this has triggered some things in her past that she has not released to you God that she is holding on to so tightly that that hurt that brokenness, that anger that bitterness and and we understand that but God, please just open her heart to you right now and speak into her heart. And she knows who she is right now as she’s listening God. And please just hear her heart, hear her brokenness, hear her need for you, Lord, and we ask that you would reach her where she is God that you would allow her to step out and find help Lord, whether it be through women world And she reaches out to us or whether it be to Cindy and she reaches out to Cindy, God whoever let her find the resources she needs Lord, and only you know who that is and that each individual person that you would equip them, you would give them a word you would give them a confirmation at this very moment, Lord, that you are with her right now. And that you don’t want her to hurt Lord and you never leave any of us alone. You tell us that in your word and your promises are true. And Lord you are near to the brokenhearted. So God as you are near to each of these ladies, we just pray again God that you would just pour into her through the power of

your word there is healing in the word, there’s restoration in the Word, and there is redemption, as Cindy has chosen the word redeemed, and she is proclaiming it God to the world. We pray that that person today that needs your redemption, we just trust in Jesus as her own personal Lord and Savior, Lord, and she would trust that that is the only way that she is going to be free from all of this bondage in her life. And we pray right now that she surrenders her knee to what Jesus did on the cross for her sins and says, Yes, Lord Jesus, I accept you in my heart. Yes, Jesus, I want to make you Lord of my life. Please forgive me, Lord. And please come into my heart and be my savior, guide me and direct me into the truths that you have from my life. So I can be set free from all the pain and suffering that I have been doing. Lord, we pray that over the woman listening right now that need you so desperately, God, speak to her heart in every way that only you can. And again, we thank you, I thank you for sending my sister who’s come forward to share her story so that others can find healing. And God we know that you are going to do a mighty work through this podcast. We know right now that you are working in the hearts of women. And maybe it’s the woman who’s listening that knows a sister that is hurting and holding all this deep inside and she can’t reach her but God maybe this podcast can, and she can share this podcast with her. And so we pray over that right now to or whatever way that you see getting this podcast into the world. We pray it be done and we just thank you God for who you are in our lives and that you love us so much as your perfect creation. Just as Cindy said she felt so ugly and so ashamed and carried guilt and carried so much for so long. But God you look at Cindy has beautiful God she is your creation created a new in Christ Jesus to do the very good things that you planned for her long ago, that your word and Ephesians 210 You created each of these beautiful women. God was a purpose and a plan and they are beautiful in your sight. So God we just pray that you pour into them right now however you will and we thank you again. Thank you for this podcast. Thank you for Cindy our valo card. Thank you for women, world leaders and the ability to be here today. And we love you and we praise you in Jesus name. Amen.

Thank you Cindy. Thank you ladies we are going to close out because we are over our time but again, please reach out to us we have so many tools for you at women world We have books we have voice of truth magazine that brings hope and healing to your to your soul. Please check us out you can read it for free on women world That’s voice of truth and just go through this this unbelievable magazine that is filled with the gospel message of Jesus scriptures that will touch your heart. Ladies, we are here for you. So as we close, God bless you remember all content is copyrighted and cannot be used without express written consent. Have a beautiful day. Thank you, Cindy.

God bless you