I was born to a couple who should never have married. I'm not sure what attracted them to each other (their relationship was always turbulent and combative) and I don't remember many peaceful days while they were together. Dad finally had enough and left home when I was nine years old.
When Dad left, Mom needed someone to babysit her five children so that she could work. She asked her family for help. I'm not sure why I never met them before, but I don't remember meeting some of her family until the year before my father walked out. My mother's father and stepmother had always been a part of our lives, but I don't remember meeting her mother and stepfather until I was eight. When Mom's family began to care for us, my life changed completely. Darkness entered and my childhood ended.
Beginning with her stepfather and then two years later, her father, my sisters and I were regularly sexually abused over a period of 15 years. I was nine years old when the incidents began and I was emotionally unable to break away from the abusers until I was 24 years old. During those 15 years, I was victimized by six different men associated in some way with my mother and her family. My step-grandfather, grandfather, my stepfather, my mother's friend, my mother's uncle, and the husband of my mother's friend all abused me and some of them also abused four of my sisters as well. I remember only one incident involving three of these men. As for the other three: I remember I was between ages 9 to 12 with my step grandfather; I was 11 to 24 with my grandfather; I was 14 to 16 with my stepfather.
Writing this and seeing the words in front of me makes it all see surreal. Who is going to believe me? How can anyone believe that something like this happens in what is seemingly a normal family? But it is thoughts like these that perpetuate the secrecy that allows this to continue throughout families, "normal" families from generation to generation. I was warned never to speak of it or bad things would happen to me and my family.
I was 15 when I learned that this didn't happen to all little girls and I was 18 when I told my mother what had happened and was happening still. My mother's response was my first clue that she had been abused also. When I told her that her father was sexually abusing me, she replied, "So what! He did it to me also." I never discussed it with her again.
I waited another year before I told my father. He didn't dismiss me as my mother had done, but he didn't help me either. He asked me if I wanted to have my grandfather arrested. I could not bring myself to do that. I didn't want to hurt my grandmother (my mother's stepmother) and I didn't want to tell the police the details of what was going on. I thought they would tell me I could not press charges because I was 19 and no longer a child. I thought the police would arrest me for committing incest. (This is something I was threatened with when I was younger.) I only told my father that I didn't want to hurt my grandmother. And he never mentioned anything about it again and I was afraid to talk with him about it.
Most of my teen years and young adult life was lived in fear. I will write about that tomorrow.
Dear Heavenly Father:
Your mercy and grace have sustained me. You have given me new life and new hope beyond the torments of my past. I pray that someone will read what I'm writing and they will be encouraged to have hope for a better future. I know that the pain they experience is devastating and it may seem as if fear is suffocating them. But Lord, wrap them in Your wings. Hide them in Your shadow. Ease their burden and give them peace.
Please forgive my intruding, but I couldn’t help not notice the severity of it all. Thank you so much for sharing dear sister and welcome to T2O!!!!
Truly, like a hammer, the force of your words most assuredly reflect what you have experienced. I am so very sorry you or anyone would have to endure one solitary inappropriate advancement by an acting adult. One violation alone would need prayer, confrontation, forgiveness and continued support for all by working towards some form of a tranquil life. But yours wasn’t one or several but endless. Certain things we say fall well short of description like this till all we can do is call upon Him and say, Heal the damage Lord!
So difficult and slow, this process of healing lest the Lord himself adjust. But I was glad to see your confirming of His “new life and new hope” for you. A new life beyond how the devil is able to utterly blind and darken some people’s understanding. It’s almost as though I can hear my own resistance to Christ’s own words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
But how can we? They know exactly what they are doing for themselves. But yes, they have no idea what they are doing to themselves as well as all they set out to harm. So in that, they are totally blind and must be forgiven. That’s not easy, as I too have had to forgive an overpowering space of encounters of my own from those childhood years. By no means to the extent you have been subjected to.
May He infuse your words into every heart, however and wherever they may benefit someone.