My grandfather sexually abused me for as long as I can remember. He would wait until my grandmother went to sleep, and he would come into my bedroom. He was either fondling me or, as I grew he began to penetrate me.
I remember laying in the bed at night praying to God that he would stop him and make him not come in there. This was someone whom I loved. He was my protector. He was my provider because my mom and my dad had their own problems. There were times when my dad wouldn’t work. We wouldn’t have money. He would step in and provide for us. I always put him on a pedestal and thought if I told or didn’t do what he wanted me to then he wouldn’t take care of my family. This is the same grandfather that took me to church every Sunday, and at age six drug me down the aisle to be saved. That created in me a love-hate relationship with God, because here’s this little girl crying out to God, “Help me, [and] stop this horrible thing that’s going on.” Yet, God would never stop it. He continued allowing it to go on. Then I had to go to church and hear about this great God who loved you and protected you, and helped you. Yet he didn’t do that for me.
The sexual abuse went on until I was about fifteen. I remember the day he caught me out on the back porch. My grandmother was in the house. I never wanted my grandmother or anybody to know. He caught me on the back porch. He was beginning to fondle my breasts, and I said, “Stop. I don’t want you to do this anymore. This is not right.” He looked at me and said, “Okay.”; he turned around, walked off, and he never touched me again. That created such confusion in my mind because of the guilt and the shame. I kept thinking, “Why didn’t I do that sooner? Why didn’t I say something sooner?”, but I didn’t know to say something sooner. I turned to alcohol and drugs. At the age of nine I was smoking and doing drugs; anything I could find- pills, mushrooms, whatever I could do. Any kind of drugs. It allowed me to be somebody else. He still provided for us; bought me prom dresses and stuff like that. So our relationship was still good.
I remember the day he had a massive heart attack. I went to the hospital. I did love him in spite of all the things he had done to me, as a little girl. I loved him because he did take care of me when my mom and my dad couldn’t. I walked in; he had just had a massive heart attack. I didn’t know that the doctors had said that he could die at any moment. So I fed him breakfast. I shaved him and took care of him. He tried to tell me something. I really believe he was whispering to me, “Forgive me.” I said, “I love you. Just be quiet.” I left and went home. When I returned he had suffered another massive heart attack and died. I still didn’t tell anybody. After his death, I married and divorced several times.
When my grandmother passed away strange things started happening. I started having flashbacks. I began to smell my grandfather. I began having horrible nightmares. It was crazy, because when I was wide awake it was like somebody would place a video screen in front of me and replay all the abuse. This happened night, after night. I could literally feel him touching me again.
I decided, “That’s it. I’m checking out of here. The only way I can get through this is to kill myself.” By this time, I had been married several times, had a one-year-old child and husband. I was ready to check out. I understand how somebody gets to the point where they don’t want to live anymore in this condition, and the easy way out is suicide.
I’d already planned it out. On the way to work that morning I would hit the really big oak tree in a chosen curve. I knew if I hit that oak tree going eighty miles and hour I would not survive. I hit the curve going probably seventy-five miles per hour, heading straight for that oak tree. My car hit something other that the oak tree. It kept spinning around. My car came to rest with about six inches between it and the oak tree. I just sat there, and that moment I knew that God had done something. He had saved my life. I didn’t know why, but I knew that he had saved my life. I should have been dead.
I went on to work that day, and a really close friend of mine said, “There’s something wrong with you.” After much pressure, I told my coworkers what was wrong. I told them about the flashbacks, the smells, and the touches; the craziness that was going on, and my attempted suicide that morning. They said, “We’ve got to get you help right now.”
What [the counselor] told me was that the passing of my grandmother let the gate down for all those memories to come flooding back. At that point, because I couldn’t function, I had to tell my mom and dad what was going on. Life is so crazy, because when I shared that with my mom and dad they told me that my grandfather had abused several members of our family, and that, not only had he abused them, but he had gotten one of them pregnant multiple times. He had a lot of affairs. He really wasn’t the man I thought he was. I asked them, “Why would you let me, a little girl, go with such a man like that?” Their response was, “We didn’t know he was going to do that to you.” I answered, “Hello! He was an abuser. He would do that to little girls.”
I still had so much anger. I was mad that somebody would do that to a little girl. I realized that the abuse didn’t just touch me sexually. It affected every area of my life; my relationship with my son, my mom, my dad, my work relationships. In some way, that abuse touched every area of my life.
One day I was really mad. I went tot the graveyard and sat by his grave. I let him have it. It wasn’t nice words, either. I really told him off, and I let all that rage and anger come out. I thought at that moment I had forgiven him, but I realized years later that I had not. One day, as I prayed and read the scripture that says, ‘If you don’t forgive them, then I can’t forgive you.’ I thought, “What? There’s no way I can forgive somebody that has hurt me so bad and done all those horrible things to me. How can I forgive that?” That scripture just kept going over, and over in my mind. Finally after weeks of praying and meditating on that scripture I came to realize, “I need forgiveness. I have to forgive him.”
I made a choice. That day a healing process started in my life. Now I can look back and say, “Wow. God was always there with me. He was there when I was being abused.” I believe God’s word says something like, “He’ll take the hard things and always bring something good out of it.” Today I get to help women who have been abused; women that have been in horrible circumstances, and can’t move forward.
I’m not a victim of sexual abuse. I am a survivor. I’m a strong survivor. I’ve lived through a lot of stuff, and I’ve come out on the other side. Now my relationship with God is this. I truly believe he is my father He’s my provider. He’s my redeemer.