My mother died in 1991. Like many survivors of child sexual assault, the death of a perpetrator began the process of remembering. I was sickly as a child from the many infections I endured from being passed around sexually to my parents’ friends and associates. My body nearly gave up the fight several times from kidney failure. At age seven, I had to undergo extensive surgery due to the sexual abuse. That was the year of my first suicide attempt. I fantasized that it would somehow be over, but that didn’t happen.

Turned out for prostitution between the ages of nine through twelve the misery continued. School was my haven and I became an excellent student. Isolated from friends, it was a lonely existence. My parents were afraid someone would find out about the sexual abuse. No one ever did. Present in church and busy in the community they were people anyone would be proud to call friends. Even when the doctors had doubts, they couldn’t believe such abuse could possibly be perpetrated by such wonderful people. My psychiatric hospitalizations are too many to count.

As a young adult, I chose men who were batterers. It was as if an abuser could spot me from across the room and know I could be manipulated. Therapy is still part of my life as I learn what children should learn growing up. There is no excuse for abuse of any kind.

I was created in the image of God and he is my father. He is taking all the shame, grief, denial, and fear and working it into the tapestry that is me, a godly woman, firm in her faith and married to a loving, peaceful man. I wish AVA had been in existence to walk with me on the difficult spiritual journey many years ago. Please make that happen for survivors today by donating today.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
        because the Lord has anointed me
        to preach good news to the poor.
        He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
        to proclaim freedom for the captives
        and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
        and the day of vengeance of our God,
        to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
        to bestow on them a crown of beauty
        instead of ashes,
        the oil of gladness
        instead of mourning,
        and a garment of praise
        instead of a spirit of despair.
        They will be called oaks of righteousness,
        a planting of the Lord
        for the display of his splendor.

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