It was a nice suburb. We lived in a quiet neighborhood across from a horse farm. My queen bed was covered in cabbage patch bedding. The yard had my swing set and playhouse built by my dad. My parents both worked very hard and I was with my aunt who babysat me during the day. I don’t have a lot of memories from these times although the ones I do have are significant. Some of them good memories that make me smile and fill my heart with happiness and some of them sadness. I will tell you that I have had far from a perfect childhood. I have a secret that not many people know. Of course my family knows but it’s something that I have kept to myself. I have healed from it and forgiven. Years ago I would have told you that it made me feel ashamed. Maybe that’s why I never spoke about it. It doesn’t make me feel this way anymore however I wonder if it will change how you think of me? My parents divorced when I was four years old. My mother had just had my little sister and they were already in the middle of quite the messy divorce. The divorce came from different reasons. One of those was that I was molested by my grandfather.
I had an aunt that passed away young from cancer. My father’s only sibling. She and I weren’t close but I will tell you that we have had the conversations that needed to be had. She too was abused by her father my grandfather. My parents of course went to court. Psychological exams were ordered more than once. There was never any proof but I don’t need any proof. I was only four years old and I can tell you that I do have small memories. Maybe not memories but flashes if you would like to say. Not only did he molest me but also my younger sister. He has always denied that anything ever happened and as close as I am to my own father he remains skeptical. This isn’t a big secret in our family and I don’t need anyone to tell me what happened. I may only have bits and pieces to the puzzle but it’s enough. When it fits well it just fits. Years ago I always second guessed if it had happened? Was it just a product of a messy divorce? Well that wouldn’t explain the memories that I have. Conversations that I have overheard, and things I have seen. Things I have been told from my aunt that I believe all to be true.
I am not a damaged person. In fact I am very much okay and not hurting. This is something that has made me a different person but not helpless or needing understanding. I have never formally forgiven in words. Let me just say that in my heart I have forgiven. I have moved past this and I am in control of my life. Forgiveness is a powerful thing for the healing process. It isn’t something I have done for him but for myself. Maybe that is why I have never said out loud “I forgive you” My sister who you have read about before carries a lot of pain. Some from this and some from things I may never understand or know about. My grandfather is still in my life. I don’t see him often but it’s enough. I have a huge heart and I feel sorry for him. I feel terrible that this is how he has lived his life. I don’t believe he has asked forgiveness which tells me where he will spend his eternity. There is no punishment that I could ever give him to be worthy. I leave that up to our creator and I keep my heart free from this.
If you are a mother you know that we worry all of the time. I worry even more than all the time. I have three little ones that I have had to have very serious talks with. They know that their privates are their privacy. No one else is to see them or touch them. That they should never keep secrets from Mommy and Daddy. They know that if something feels bad that it probably is bad. It’s true that most abuse comes from someone you would least expect. Someone that you trust. Someone that you know. So what I’m saying is to just pay attention and to talk to your children. Some of the signs in a child could be withdrawn from others, fear or anxiety. Knowledge about sexual things, talking inappropriately about sex or private areas. Wanting to avoid a specific person. The list goes on and on. It’s estimated that one in four girls under the age of eighteen have been sexually abused. It can happen at any age and to any child. At any social level and in every culture. All that I’m asking is that as parents we pay attention and teach our children.
This is something that pulls at my heart everyday. I worry about the children that are being abused this minute. The ones that have been threatened not to tell. The ones that are afraid and scared to go home. So please pray for these children that are in trouble. I appreciate your love and support with my little corner of the world but please know that I am just fine. I am a fighter and even though this is a sad part of my life it hasn’t defined me or beaten me. They are the ones that need our sympathy. The ones that are afraid to tell.