From Shame to Victory (Part 3) My Miserable Teens

My Miserable Teens (Part 3)

In my mid-teens, my view of myself became more distorted. I wanted to be wanted and I wanted to be loved. I turned to relationships, alcohol and drugs, and this left me feeling even more empty than I did before. I became very boisterous, very opinionated and I projected a false sense of security to hide how I really felt.

When I was 16 years old, I was intimately involved with an 18-year-old. We dated for over a year. When I tried to break up with him, he threatened to kill himself. Out of guilt, I remained in the relationship for a little while longer until I could figure out a way to break it off. I told him again I didn’t want to see him anymore, and he pulled a shotgun out and put it to his mouth and said if I broke up with him, he would kill himself. I took off running down the stairs of his apartment and he proceeded to chase me down the main street of the small town where I lived. As I ran down the street, I saw people I knew and screamed for help! I thought he was going to shoot me in the back. In fear, they turned and fled. I ran into the restaurant where I worked. I was hysterical and my boss grabbed and took me to the back of the restaurant. I told him what happened and he called my house and my brother came and got me.

A few weeks later when I was biking home after work, the boyfriend that I tried to break up with, grabbed me off my bike and chocked me as he told me he loved me and couldn’t live without me. I somehow broke free, grabbed my bike and raced home as fast as I could. I told my parents, and at first they seemed upset, but then they just dismissed it. And the ex-boyfriend that had frightened me so badly would call my mom and she would tell me he was sorry and to give him another chance. But I didn’t want anything to do with him. A few weeks later, I came home from work one night and saw him sitting in the basement drinking a beer with my dad. I was shocked! My dad looked at me and said, “Tony’s going teach me to play guitar!”

 

Rhonda’s Blog

From Shame to Victory (PART 1)

Read Part 2 HERE!

 

From Shame to Victory (Part 1) My Broken Childhood

My Broken Childhood

When I was a kid, I remember being happy, wanting to understand why everything was the way it was, full of curiosity and questions. I loved playing outside, I loved my brother and I loved animals. I loved Sunday fishing, car rides and visiting family. I had a vivid imagination that helped me to escape from the reality of my dysfunctional childhood.

My parents had been dating for a while, and then they eloped. My dad decided he wanted to see Sault Ste. Marie. My mom wanted to go, so they got married. They never made it there; they stopped short in North Bay and rented a place. Dad got a job and along came my brother. Mom’s pregnancy was difficult, and she was told not to have any more kids. My Dad refused to have one child, so two and a half years later with much resentment from my mother, I was born; she and I never bonded.

I remember being afraid of my mother when I was young as she was angry a lot. She told me she had me because my father made her and that she never wanted me. I felt like I was a burden, an inconvenience. I understand now that she was angry about her life and her inability to speak up for herself.

When I was about five, my mom was in the living room crying. I asked her what was the matter, and she looked at me and said my dad had slept with his boss’s sister, he may lose his job and she didn’t know if she was going to stay married to him. I remember being scared, not really understanding and thinking I did something wrong to cause this.

 

Rhonda’s Blog

 

Read PART 2 (The Abuse Started in Adolescence) HERE!

Read PART 3 (My Miserable Teens) HERE!

 

Innocence Lost

Luci’s Blog

I was a happy child, playing outside, rain or shine. I enjoyed going to school, coloring, playing Jax, jump rope, hop scotch and all the things little girls like to do. But my favorite pass time of all was hanging with all sorts of animals I came in contact with in my neighborhood. Dogs were my very favorite; I loved them so very much! I suppose it was because of their incredible ability to give me unconditional love and lots of attention.

The first time I recall feeling something wasn’t right, that the “thing” someone was doing to me was intrinsically wrong, was around age 11. I woke in the middle of the night and two of my older brothers were standing over my bed and had their hands on me where they shouldn’t have. I was shocked at first and then I felt afraid! I couldn’t understand why they were doing this. I was so embarrassed that I just lay there pretending I was asleep. I can’t remember how many times it happened, probably a few. I must have blocked it out. I learned later on that blocking out details of the memory is very common when you’ve been violated. I also recall feeling shame, that I had to hide it and pretend it wasn’t happening. I just knew in my heart, true or not, that I would be blamed for this awful thing being done to me. I don’t know why they stopped but remember being so relieved that they did! As I grew older, I was very guarded since they were still trying to invade my privacy by coming onto the roof of my second-floor bedroom window to see what they could. I so hated that they didn’t treat me with respect.

Then at age 12, I met a man who was living in the neighborhood that was over 21 and a “recovering heroin” addict. He told me he was taking methadone although I had no idea what it was. He was a small man, soft spoken and spoke kind words. It seemed like he cared about me; unlike my brothers and father, who were hurtful and critical. He convinced me to go to his apartment nearby. So, I went and found myself being raped. The strange thing was although I was a virgin and very afraid, he didn’t have to force me. I thought he cared and wanted to be with me. I was starved for affection from a father or brother figure and it seemed he was going to give it to me. I was extremely uncomfortable when he was on top of me. And there was pain when he penetrated. I never saw him after that day. But the feelings of being violated and taken advantage of, stayed with me for a very long time. In fact, these feelings were part of what shaped the way I saw myself. That I was, as an object to be used for pleasure, not to be respected or confided in; I believed I was not lovable nor did I have any worth.

After that incident, I became promiscuous and was easy prey for older boys and men who took advantage of me to satisfy their sexual appetites. I had formed the opinion that if I wanted them to give me any attention, I had to give them sex. Now, I understand, that the only men who would expect a young woman to betray herself in this way are dysfunctional, perverted and selfish.

At the age of 14, I was hitchhiking my way to school, which was common back in the 70’s, when a man picked me up but didn’t take me to my destination. He brought me to his apartment and we sat in his van as he urged me to come in “just for a few minutes”. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to go; I was so afraid of what he might do. Then he said “if you come in, I’ll take you to where you want to go”. I felt I had no choice. I had no idea where we were. So, against my inner voice screaming NO, I went in and he promptly forced himself on me. I cried and begged him to stop the whole time. When he was done, he brought me to my school and dropped me off like it was an everyday thing for him! I couldn’t wait to get away, I felt sick and so dirty! I believed it was my fault and again, I felt so much shame. In my young and insecure mind, I believed I could have avoided it.

I never told a soul, not even the sister who I felt closest to; she took me in when I ran away from home but, not immediately. When I first left to get away from my extremely dysfunctional home environment, I lived on the streets and was exposed to very unstable people. This lifestyle was a hotbed for abusive behavior.

From that time until I was about 16, I was violated two more times, once in the park in broad daylight and twice on a dark road and then in a park (same man). There were other close calls that I was able to avoid but it seemed that every man I came in contact with wanted to take advantage of me and have sex. I had lost hope that any man could care for or cherish me as a person, as a woman.

From the age of 14-24, I can remember having sex with countless men along my journey. In my younger years, I would sleep with them and find myself crying, there were a couple that asked me why but I couldn’t explain it to them. All I knew was that it made me feel so empty and used, like an old garment to be discarded.

At the age of 24, I met a man through a friend who also lived a promiscuous lifestyle. I assume he was attracted to me physically but it was most likely more the case that he saw me as an easy “score”. He wooed me by telling me what I wanted to hear. I was desperate for affection and attention from men. I remember asking him if he had protection and he said he had a vasectomy so I didn’t need to worry. Several weeks later when my menstrual cycle was late, I discovered he lied to me to serve his lustful desire. I was pregnant by a man who I barely knew! I had no idea what I was going to do and I felt like a fool to find myself in such a predicament. This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I was single and carefree!

In my next blog, I will share with you, how I met Jesus and how He brought light into my dark existence. How He took this broken woman, who was deep in her sin and shame and loved her and healed her. I am still amazed by His love and grace in my life.

 

My Life Would Be Forever Changed (Part 1)

My Life Would Be Forever Changed (Part 1)

April’s Blog

I was only 1 1/2 when my parents decided to move to sunny Ft. Lauderdale, FL from CT. I don’t remember much about the early years, but I remember that my parents were never around. I figured they were working really hard to provide for us. We lived in a duplex and went to a school just behind it. My brother and I always came home to an empty house after school. During the elementary years we would walk to school, since it was close. He is 4 years older so, there were only a few years that we were together. This time in my life was a blur.

My mom always cooked a nice meal, and we would try to spend quality time together. As I got older my dad would drink daily, in excess, and he would become easily angered. It was sad seeing the way he treated my mom, but I hoped that the next day would be better. But it wasn’t, and unfortunately, it got worse as time passed. I witnessed my dad trying to strangle my mom, holding a gun to her head, yelling and cursing at her. He was under the control of alcohol and drugs, and it made him a different and scary person to be around. This abuse lasted for many years.

There were happy times too. Every weekend we spent the whole day at the beach. This was a happy time for our family. We were away from the daily activities and the stresses of life. We would stop at Italian Ice for a cold lemon slushy after a whole day at the beach. I would come home with sunburn almost every time, but it felt good.

Another happy time was when we had to do our laundry. We didn’t have a washer or dryer, so we would go to the laundry mat. This was a special time for my dad and me. We would go to this shop close by and purchase stickers for my album. I was so excited every time we got to spend time with each other, and I realize now it wasn’t the stickers, it was the time spent with my dad.

I watched my parents struggle financially, emotionally and physically. I don’t know what was going on, but I do think they had a lot of hurt in the hearts. Maybe it was their past relationships and poor choices that added to their destructive, abusive behaviors. My dad chose to cover up his pain with alcohol, and both my parents used drugs. My mom was abused by her father, and now she was dealing with it from my dad. This filled her with rage.

Many years later my parents surrendered their lives to Jesus and were saved. We didn’t realize how badly we all needed Him in our lives. It was nice to know we didn’t have to deal with life alone anymore.

But before Jesus came into our lives, on the afternoon of December 4, 1986, our lives were changed forever. As a 12-year-old girl, I walked out the front door of our duplex after eating dinner with my family. There was a man sitting in his car on the street who said “Hello” to me. I didn’t pay much attention to him. My friend Gina who was 16, lived in the apartment building behind ours. Every day we would walk down the street and talk about boys. We walked down, came back and stood between the two apartment buildings, on the sidewalk. My back was facing the row of cars so I couldn’t see behind me. And that’s when it happened! The man from the car came up behind and grabbed me right in front of my friend and her little brother. My friend immediately ran to my apartment, and that’s when they started looking for me.

In the meantime, I was in the hands of a rapist. His hand wrapped around my mouth so no one could hear me screaming at the top of my lungs. I was so scared that I wet myself as my body trembled. I didn’t’t know what was going to happen to me. I was an innocent child in the hands of a rapist and possible killer. He took me to an abandoned apartment just down the block from where we lived. I had on all new clothes because I just gotten them for my birthday. I loved when I got a new outfit. But now that outfit was being ripped off my body. This was the very moment when my innocence was ripped away from me. At that moment in a walk-in closet, this man whose name was Larry, raped me with his hand over my mouth as I tried to scream. He raped me over and over, causing damage to my small virgin body. I was in utter darkness.

I could feel Satan there with all his demons. I can’t even describe the pain I felt. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I felt so much anguish in my soul. I imagine so many were crying out for my rescue. They were pleading on my behalf, “Father, rescue this little child.” How could this be happening to me? When Larry was done, I remember asking if I could go to the bathroom. This was my chance to escape. But little did I know that he would follow me in the bathroom. I was going to jump out the window and run home, but there was no window. He escorted me out of the bathroom and sat me on the floor and started to perform more sexual acts while trying to get me to do the same. I remember asking when he was going to bring me home, and he said, “In the morning.” I didn’t believe he had any intentions of bringing me home, but God did.

A friend of Larry’s came in with some food and drugs, which were offered to me. But I refused, and they didn’t push it. I knew better than to take any because I grew up around it and saw what it was doing to my parents.

At my home, I know my parents were heartbroken because their only daughter was missing. I can’t imagine as a mom now myself, how they felt. They probably felt desperate and helpless. As police searched with helicopters and police cars, my parents were instructed to stay home in case I showed up. Did they cry out to Jesus? Did they utter his name? Did they cry out to God in the anguish? They knew who God was, but we only went to church on holidays. What was going to save me? I didn’t’t know. I didn’t know Jesus. I didn’t know He existed. I didn’t know God.

At the point when Larry’s friend came in, I saw an opportunity to try to escape again. And when I did, he grabbed me and pushed me to the floor. This was the last time I tried to get away. Larry’s friend told him they were actively searching for me, which I’m sure he already knew. By now, I was sitting on the floor with saturated clothes. Larry was lying across my legs because he knew I was going to try to escape again. Right above me there was a window, and Larry told me that if a light flashes in, for me to get to the closet, which was right next to us. Sure, enough a light flashed in. This was the light of the angels.

Out of fear, I quickly moved over to the closet. Meanwhile, I could hear them yelling, “We know she is in there, so let us in.” I don’t know how they knew, but God never left me. He is omnipresent. Larry denied that I was in the apartment, but the police knew better, and they were not giving up. At that moment, he told me to move to the dark walk-in closet. I had NO choice but to do it.

God has recently shown me that the angels were all around that apartment even in the evil act of rape. He was protecting me from ultimate destruction. He had more to teach me about His love, forgiveness and redemption. In my next blog, I will continue my story so that everyone may see how our great God has shown Himself strong in my life!

 

Read PART 2 here “My Miraculous Rescue”