Its been a few weeks now that I have gone back and forth between writing my story, especially in a public platform such as the Internet, so here it goes. I pray it lights up someone’s darkness.
Stats say child sexual abuse happens to more people than one would think; 1 in 5 girls, and 1 in 20 boys are a victim of child sexual abuse. Yup, I’m going there, I’m going to talk about those things that you normally shy away from, or say “It will never happen to me.” Until you open your eyes to those around you and realize that even though it didn’t happen to you- your sister, uncle, cousin, or best friend is struggling to get through the aftermath of it all. This is a voice to all who nave stayed silent due to the embarrassment and shame, and a war cry to those who are trying to deal with it now. By the way the month of April is Child Abuse Awareness month.
I honestly couldn’t tell you when it all began, because I didn’t know any better. Much later I came to find out my own mother had also experienced the violence of rape and abuse, but she wasn’t equipped to guide me as she thought she was already protecting me by coaching me with saying , “Don’t ever let anyone touch you there!”, or “If someone touches you inappropriately come tell me right away.” I don’t think any of that messaging instructed me to know what to do when that “anyone” turned out to be someone close. Someone that I believed was to love me and care for me, so why would they do something like that? Much less why would I need to tell her that I was being “touched”.
I was in middle school, so 13 years old when I recall being trapped, thinking death at this point was better than living a lie. I couldn’t say what was happening…. to anybody. The few times I hinted my prison to those closest around me was fruitless. I was alone in a despair that I couldn’t get out of. My abuser (who later I came to learn was also an abusee- talk about generational curses but that’s a talk for another day) would come in with a kitchen knife when sneaking in to my bed and say, “Put us both out of our misery, put it straight through” as he pointed to his heart. I wanted to so badly but I couldn’t kill, I’d rather die!
As time went on the most sickening and disgusting of thoughts started to sink in. I think we rarely talk about this or acknowledge it as part of the ingredients that fuck our psychology up (excuse my language), but the seduction of sexual acts feel… shall I say…great. If it wasn’t so then obviously we wouldn’t have this issue. I felt gross for taking pleasure, for giving myself the thought of enjoyment, for thinking that at some sick level it was all my fault for liking it.
Time continued to go by, day after day living a lie. No one suspecting anything, pretending everything was okay, making good grades in school, hoping that the night wouldn’t bring my unwanted visitor. Then the night that changed everything was one at church where the guest preacher for the evening urged everyone to walk up to the front for prayers to be answered. I used to believe that the guest preachers where the key to my miracle, that one of them would be nudged by the Spirit and prompted to help free me from my misery. So expectantly I went up as I usually did, kneeled down, and started balling my eyes out. I begged God that if He truly was real, that if He truly loved me, that he would make it all go away. The preacher laid their hand on my head, offered blessings for being a “teenager who served the Lord”, and moved on to the next person. I was devastated, “that’s it God?!?” Surely after all this time praying the same prayer every night and crying my heart out there had to be something more for me. Then a different prayer emerged, one that was an ultimatum to my faith. “If I ask Stephanie (my little church friend who was 12 at the time) to respond with a yes or a no, then I will take it as the answer to the question, ‘should I tell my mom?’ If she says no, we are done and I’ll end this stupid life myself. If she says yes, I’ll tell my mom at this very moment and you can handle the rest.” I was 15 years old at the time and even though super naive about a lot of things, I knew that God’s super natural interventions where really the result of aligning free will to his plan. Let me explain real quick, God makes the first move and presents himself as the answer, you have to decide if you’ll accept it or not. The plan of my miracle was that my mom would find out so that she could protect me, but I was too scared. What if she says it’s my fault? Or worse I’ll be responsible for my family breaking apart because the police will take us away. Where will we live? What if my little brothers and sisters blame me? And on and on. The alternative of sticking it through while I figured a plan to run away seemed better. As much as I thought death was the better alternative it was the positive influence from adults that saw something special in me that helped me keep going. So at the end of that I wiped away the tears and approached Stephanie. “Why am I saying yes or no?”, was the first thing that came out of her. “I just need you to give me one please, yes or no?” “Ummm Okay… yes!” My mom was pregnant with my youngest sister when I sat her down to say “he is touching me”. We both cried for a long time, and that was the beginning of the longest healing journey you can imagine. And this psalm always brings me back to that moment.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
God in his sovereign plan has all the pieces laid out for you, so I’m telling you “yes”, go ahead and tell your protector whether it’s your parent, a family member, a teacher, your local police authority, let them know you need help from this screwed up experience we get tagged with. What happens in the aftermath will be one of the hardest things you’ll have to get through, but you’ll have to expose the darkness into the light first.