I want to warn my readers that this blog is graphic in detail, I am uncomfortable of sharing these details but I really think it is necessary for people to understand what a child of molestation truly goes through, the pain and confusion that this disgusting act creates.
Millions of children are robbed their innocence of being a child, once this heinous act occurs they will never be the same. Millions of people are survivors of molestation, I am one of them. Many people think this is an unforgivable sin, it is not.
I was six years old when it happened to me, we had just moved to Florida. We moved to a rural area into a subdivision that had not been developed, no roads except for paths that had been made by cars. There were very few homes in this area and there were no other children for me to play with.
There was this very nice elderly couple that lived very close to us. They were so nice to me and they were like grandparents to me. They didn’t have any children of their own so they spoiled me. I liked going to their house to visit, they always had little gifts for me.
Then one day I was there and the lady wasn’t home. It was just him and that is when it started… He asked me a question and of course a curious 6 year old response is “yes”, giving him permission to proceed. The question was “Do you want to see my belly button?” How clever was this man? See, that is how these predators work to gain trust so the child will fall right into their trap, just like a spider that catches their prey in a web.
After this occurs, the the child knows something is not right, they live in shame and hides the dirty secret because they feel guilt. At least this is how I felt because I said yes and I was curious. I know you get the picture, it was not his belly button he showed me.
I do feel that I was one of the lucky children of sexual abuse, how can anyone be lucky? When it came to his sexual abuse of me, there was no penetration, he was fixated on oral stimulation on a child and he loved to flash his business to me any chance he got. So, I feel I was lucky because he didn’t force me to perform oral on him, nor there was no penetration. I just know what happened to me was traumatic enough and he had no right! He stolen my innocence!
Even at 6 years old, I was smart enough to know, not to go around him when she was not home…but that didn’t stop him. See at 6 years old, you like to be spoiled, especially when you have no friends to play with. I liked the lady (heck, I probably loved her as a child) so why wouldn’t I go back there when she was home because I thought she would protect me.
Then she caught him in the act doing what he did best. On this day, they were outside doing yard work and I playing outside in their yard. He was in the shed with the doors opened. I was in front of the shed and what did I see? That dirty old man flashing me his so called “belly button”. At that moment, she walked up and caught him. What did she do next…? She turned around and walked away, shaking her head while he was pulling his pants up. She didn’t do a thing but go inside the house. I never went back to that house, not even after his death.
He died at an old age and never got caught or prosecuted. He got away with it but I do know that he had to face God for these sins.
I never told my parents about what happened, I kept it a secret until they died. I didn’t feel it was necessary to tell them as it was done and over and the man was dead. I figured it would only make them feel useless that they were unable to protect me from this situation. My Grandmother particularly as she was very overprotective of me.
I grew up thinking I was okay. I knew that I was just the victim of this man and that none of it was my fault. I even convinced myself that I was good and that I didn’t have any issues. I shoved that memory as far out of my mind as I could. That was until the age of 45 years old and denial got the best of me. I was like a volcano that erupted, hot lava pouring out like a hot mess. I had fool myself all those years.
Here is the trigger to my volcano. I was attending a Dignity Serves class in my hometown that teaches people how to deal with distressed people. They were teaching us how to deal with all kinds of distressed people, including child predators. I left that class a blubbering mess and cried for 20 miles home as I didn’t think I could continue with this class. I didn’t think I could do what God was asking me to do, which was to forgive and love someone that was a child predator. I spoke with the instructor and he told me that this might not be the best time to take the class. He also told me that I wasn’t the only one that has had this experience that had went through the class. They also experience many of the same feelings that I was going through. I did put on my big girls panties and finished the class, although it was extremely difficult. I knew that I need to proceed and face everything that I had pushed out of my mind.
I had an eye opener on this night, when this volcano erupted… I finally realized that I was not his only victim. See, living out in a rural area like we did, I always thought I was his only one. It hit me like a brick wall, that day he flashed me and she turned around shaking her head in disgust, wasn’t the first time that she had caught him. I realized that after 40 years that she didn’t respond like someone that was shocked for the first time…she was disgusted that she caught him again. Here is the thing, she was just as guilty as him, she did nothing to protect me or any other children.
So, how do you forgive someone that commits these kind of acts on children? I got another lesson from God while I was at a church service. The pastor was telling us about a father and child story, he said that no matter what that child did, the father would never turn his back on his child. That the father would love that child regardless of the wrong they had committed. He told us that our Heavenly Father, loves us the same way, that he would never turn his back on us either and he is always with us. The pastor displayed a picture of an man holding the hand of a small child walking on the beach. That image has stuck with me to this day.
This is the moment that forgiveness happened for me. I realized at that moment, that there was an entire man, the child molester was only a small portion of who he was. I don’t have to love that portion of that man that did this to me; but I am called to forgive him. Realizing that this was just a small portion of who he was, allowed me to forgive him. I also, forgave his wife, I don’t know what her struggles and fears were at this time.
This is an ugly story, one that is excruciating for me to write as it happened to me. The thought that a person can do this to a child is disturbing, it makes me feel nauseated. The beauty is that God allowed me to see this man in another light, that there is more to a person than that one sin. This lesson in life has allowed me to forgive him and be released myself from my own prison of guilt and shame.
That is where the beauty comes in, I am not the only person that has experienced sexual abuse and God has given me the strength to share this story with others. I hope my story will give others hope also, so they don’t continue to live in their own prison, to know they in time they can forgive even one of the most heinous acts on a child. To know, that you are worthy and you can love yourself again, but it all starts with forgiveness.
You’re not alone, you are loved,
The Girl that was Abandon