I remember walking on a bridge in New York City, hearing an evil presence. As I looked over the edge of the bridge I heard a voice say, “Jump. It’ll be all over.” Now, as a counselor, I know it was my hurt being exhibited.
When I was about six or seven years old an adult started touching me in sexual ways and making me touch them. Although it was shocking, and I felt dirty and confused, I also felt at fault because at times it was pleasurable. It felt good. At that age, in that context, I didn’t understand sexuality. As I got older and studied counseling, I was able to confront the perpetrator face to face. I felt a release as I said, “I’m bigger now, and I know you have kids.” I was very specific in my description of the abusive behavior perpetrated on me. “We were in the bathroom. You gave me candy. You told me it was normal. It’s not normal! I remember you making me shower afterward. The reason I’m coming forward is, number one, it is a burden being lifted off of me, and number two, you have kids. I love your kids. If you ever hurt your kids the way you hurt me…!”
I wish I could say I was able to speak blessings on him, but I wanted him to know, “I know what you did to me was wrong, but what you did to me is not going to keep me down. It hurt me. It affected my identity. I caused me to struggle with my sexuality, what to believe and how to believe. I have had much anger and hostility.” He immediately denied what he had done. I then told him, “Even if you don’t ask for forgiveness I forgive you anyway.”
I left there feeling good but confused as well because the person that was supposed to love me hurt me. I wanted them to say, “I’m sorry.” It didn’t happen at that moment, but a few weeks later he pulled me aside and told me he was sorry. I think after letting this person know, “I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here to say I forgive you. As tough as it is for me, I love you, and I want you to get well. I want to make sure your kids don’t ever have to experience what I had to go through.”