A Survivor’s Testimony

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Survivor Series – Survivor 1
**Note: Discussion of sexual abuse may be upsetting to some readers**

TRIGGER WARNING

I was sexually abused by an adult male as a child. My abuse started with smaller physical touches, while he incorporated fear into his actions to help keep me quiet. He told me my family would dispose of me like the weekly trash if they found out. I would be damaged, dirty goods and they would be ashamed of me. Of course I kept my mouth shut, because who wants to be sent away?

As a child, I was, and I still am, a people pleaser. I did not ever want someone to be mad at me, or feel like I did something wrong. So, I just did what was asked of me because that meant I was being a good little girl. If I was being good, no one would be mad, and if no one was mad, I felt like I wasn’t going to get into trouble.

Those smaller physical touches turned into requests, more like demands I guess, for me to touch him. With my hands, with my mouth…. I always closed my eyes and my mind sort of hallucinated alternate realities that took me to any place but the present. They never made sense, these alternate worlds. Cotton candy clouds, Unicorns with knights and pizza swords. Colours swirling all around me. Random unrelated objects popping into my mind.

I still feel his hands on my body all these years later. Steering me, forcing me, tricking me. I think that is why I am so afraid of people touching me now – whether it is a hug, a tap on the shoulder, someone grabbing my arm lightly as they pass – it takes me instantly back to dark bedrooms and basements, naked and 6 years old. I am ashamed of when I cringe at a safe person’s touch. They don’t mean to trigger me, but they do. He robbed me of the comfort of physical human connection. I hate him for that.

The worst of it all, aside from the brainwashing, threats, and fear-based manipulation, are the rapes. I cry as I type this, because I have never spoken much of it out loud before. Not even to my therapist. I won’t go into details; because I am not sure my heart will let me. But I will say this. To be a child, A CHILD, and have a grown man…. I can’t even type it. The emotions, the absolute terror, the physical pain, the pressure and weight of his body on mine…. I will NEVER forget it.

I thought about leaving you with a happy ending, an image of hope (I do live a happy life full of love, just so you are aware). Instead, I have decided to leave you with an image that may help people realize this happens way too often. If you can picture me, then maybe you might do something about it. Maybe you will make a promise to educate yourself, talk to your kids, your family, your workplace. The children need you. They need us. If you are a survivor, maybe you will feel okay to share your story, too. Because we don’t have to live in silence.

Imagine, if you will, that he has left the bedroom. A man, dark hair, not too tall. But to me, he is a giant. A giant physical being of darkness that haunts me. He leaves angry, of course. Ashamed of what he has done. Again. I am left to sit there, confused. I want to cry. I don’t know exactly what I would be crying over, though. Because I do not yet know what he has been doing to me. It doesn’t have a name. It is everything and nothing all at once. As the hallway light shines in from the door, cracked open slightly, I take a deep breath. I tell myself I hate this. Whatever “this” is.

I pick up my clothes. Most likely a boyish pair of pants and a baggy t-shirt (my sad attempt to be less appealing to him – sadly, it never worked). I put on my shirt and cover the sweat, not mine, and the redness from my stress that still lingers on my skin. I pick up my underwear labeled “Tuesday” but it isn’t even Tuesday. Who cares what day it is. Who cares about the days at all? I put them on, and then my pants.

I stand on my two wobbling legs and try to stop the knocking in my knees and heart. I take another deep breath. I walk towards the door and grip the doorknob. Too tightly. In an attempt to bring me back to the present. I must now act in a play I didn’t rehearse for. For a part I didn’t want. I pull open the door, step into the hall in my unmatched socks. I am sure there are holes in them. I am not sure how, though, because I have nowhere to run. I smile. Not genuine, of course. I play the part of a little girl who is okay. But I am not.

I descend the stairs and sit opposite him in his living room as he ignores me. His wife comes home and joins us. I am reminded of how desperately I want to cry out to her. But I don’t have the words. I just have the fear.

-Anonymous.

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Stand Strong

The Man travels from city to city checking on His children. He sees a child playing in the park and the sound of her laughter fills the air.  He kneels down and gently cups her cheek. “You are so loved, little one,” He states and moves on.

In the next town He sees statues. One of a Civil War veteran that had called out to Him with his last dying breath. On down the street He sees a woman sitting on a bench eating her noon meal. She glances up at Him, smiles, and waves. He knows the pain she’s hiding.

Walking into the area known as the ghetto He sees poverty. Children playing stick ball in the trash strewn streets. Mothers peeking out the dirty window of an apartment filled with cock roaches. He shakes His head sadly.

Moving uptown with the tall buildings, traffic noise, and aroma’s of various street vendors, people are rushing, bumping into each other and curses are heard from passing taxi cabs. No one notices Him.

He travels to a rural area where a church is being built. It’s almost completed. He sees the pastor and approaches. “A beautiful church,” the Man states.

The Pastor turns and states, “Yeah and you wouldn’t believe the trouble we’ve had in building it.”

“What do you mean?” The Man asks, knowing full well the obstacles they have encountered.

“First the county said they didn’t want another church. Then a bunch of non-believers started picketing. We had to fight tooth and nail to finally get the permits. I was ready to give up!”

“But you didn’t. The Father heard your prayers. What are you going to call it?”

The Pastor rubs his chin and grins and then states, “You won’t believe this and we’re going to really have a fight on our hands when we put up the sign, but the Lord spoke to me in a dream and said to call it the ‘Christ’s True Gospel Church.'”

“Why do you think there will be a fight?” The Man asks.

“Are you kidding? We aren’t allowed to make any reference to Christianity or  make any reference to Jesus!” The Pastor exclaims.

The Man walks to the building and looking inside He sees a large cross on the front wall of the sanctuary. “That’s a beautiful cross.” The Man states, pleased.

“Yes, it is. One of the locals made that cross from one of his trees on his property. An atheist group saw it being carried into the building and filed a lawsuit stating its offensive and has to come down. We have one for the roof, too and they’re really having a fit over that one. But we just keep praying for God’s divine intervention.”

The Man turns to the Pastor and places His hand on his shoulder. Looking directly into the Pastor’s eyes the Man states, “I am the Great I Am and your prayers will be answered.”

(Sue’s version) 1Thes. 5:16-18

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