He held my hands and told me it would be okay, every hurt I had been through would be washed away with what was about to ensue. That was the guarantee that my molester gave me moments before he would proceed to take advantage of me. Being a defenseless child I endured every moment of it, and ironically at times I would ask to be molested. Why? Overtime I accepted the words of the offending party, I bought into the myth that sexual molestation was my escape from reality, even at the tender age of 4. Throughout my pre-teen and teenage years, I grew learning to mask my pain and to conceal the secret of everything that was happening at home. As I grew, I gradually gained weight which many would have attributed to my eating patterns.
What many people did not realize was that my weight gain became a defense mechanism. The more weight I gained, the less attractive I would look. The less attractive I looked, the less likely I would be to get molested by anyone else. This weight gain defense system continued for a great deal of my life until I began my weight lost journey 3 years ago. One would think that as I lost weight it would be beneficial, but the reality is that it was one of the most psychologically traumatizing moments of my life. As I got slimmer, I felt exposed. I felt exposed again to the very elements I was trying to protect myself from. With the weight loss I became vulnerable. There was nothing left to protect me. You may reason to yourself that what I am saying sounds absurd, but in my mind it made perfect sense. My defense mechanism was being eroded.
After countless conversations with close friends regarding the series of depression I was experiencing, I decided to seek help by seeing a therapist. Through my weekly sessions with a professional counselor, I was able to discover that I was not insane, but only experiencing things that were very common for individuals that had been through similar situations. My weight gain was more than bad eating habits, it was a result of trying to heal from the past that I wanted to forget.
Countless times I cried before going to sleep, wondering if there was a God who truly cared about me. “How could a God who cared about me allow such dreadful things to happen to me?” Was a question I constantly asked myself. In school I became very reserved, and hated any sport or physical activity that meant I had to interact with other people. I had a very small and closed circle of friends but none of them new the hurt or the baggage that I carried. My face and my character became a performance, a performance to the world to say that I was okay when in reality I was not.
As the years progressed and I got older I believed that I was freed from the demons of my past. I attended church frequently, and tried to find comfort in my Christian faith. Little did I know that I was about to approach another setback in my battle to escape my past. It happened in the unlikeliest of all places, church. I remember vividly being escorted out of church by an adult male, Nate Williams (his name has been changed in order to protect his identity), who had on countless occasions asked my parents if he could tutor me in math. While the tutoring sessions never materialized , Nate continuously demonstrated interest in my well-being. On this particular occasion he began asking me about school and life at home, as he slowly began to touch me inappropriately. As I pulled away, he grabbed my hands and told me that he knew I wanted it to happen. He became forceful but I manage to escape, running with tears streaming down my face as the demons from my past came rushing back.
I ran through an alley and came across two police officers who were on community patrol. I remember politely asking, “excuse me sir, are you on duty.” The officers responded in the affirmative, and I proceeded to tell him that I was inappropriately touched by an adult male. Infuriated, the police officers told me to get in the vehicle and direct them to the church I just ran from. As we approached the vicinity of the church, I saw Nate standing right where I left him. I pointed to his direction and the police officers alighted from the vehicle with their semi-automatic weapons drawn, demanding that the offender lay face down on the ground. At the moment many images were going through my mind, this was the first time I had ever made known to anyone that I was touched inappropriately. I thought to myself maybe, just maybe this would serve as vindication for all the years of torment that I had experienced.
Eventually the police asked that I go get my dad who was in the church service, and we both made our way to the police station. Needless to say, my dad had many questions that I could not answer as we rode to the police station. As I looked into my dad’s eyes, I saw the hurt he was experiencing as he tried to process what I had told him earlier. Upon arriving at the police station I saw Nate seated on the floor, as the police officers refused to allow him to sit in a chair. On countless occasions the officers at the station proceeded to brutally hit Nate and shouted derogatory statements towards in. I watched as the police officers sought to pursue extra-judicial justice towards my abuser in an inhumane fashion. I wanted to feel sorry for him, but the pain that I had experienced, the emotional baggage that came back from his approach towards me, made a part of me feel that he deserved it.
Within about 30 minutes, members of the church who had heard the news began making their way to the police station, my pastor included. The police officers took a written statement from me, and urged my parents to press charges against the perpetrator. My pastor asked me to recall the events for him so that he could understand the nature of the situation. After what seemed like an eternity I was allowed to leave with my parents (my mom eventually came after receiving a phone call from my dad). As I exited the police station I felt the eyes of the world were upon me. The members of the church that had gathered outside began whispering to each other and pointing on me. It was not long before I realized that many people were already formulating opinions about what had transpired.
The ride home was silent, my parents did not know how to approach the situation. Upon arriving home, my mother began to ask me to go over the details as she tried to come to an understanding. She kept repeating the phrase “are you sure that is what happened. Is it possible that you misunderstood his approach?” I reassured my mom that Nate did indeed approach me inappropriately. The phone to our home rang constantly, many members of the congregation began calling and decided to give my parents advice on how to deal with the matter. I soon learned from my parents that they were being told that the christian thing to do would be not to press charges. My parents were caught in a dilemma.
This post is part 1 of a 2 part publication. Part 2 will be published within the coming week. Stay tuned.
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