Monday, August 3, 2020

I'm the 1 in 10.

I’m the 1 in 10 children that are sexually abused before the age of 18.

I heard a sermon once that talked about how the devil wants to harm children. Trauma that occurs in those early formidable years of life can lead them to renounce God and have other lasting negative effects (mental health disorders, substance abuse issues later in life, suicide, depression, anxiety, the list goes on and on). Statistics show that isn’t wrong and I’ve carried the burden of shame and worthlessness to know it’s true.

Before I finished kindergarten I was a victim of sexual abuse. 

On the weekends when my biological father still had joint custody, he would drop me off at a male friend’s home so he could go get drunk. At first, it seemed harmless because the friend had 2 daughters around my age, that also visited on the weekends. He built them a custom Barbie home and we spent hours playing in front of that mansion. Soon that male friend lost joint custody of his daughters and I was sad to lose my Barbie playmates. My weekend pattern continued though- spend a few hours with bio dad then he’d drop me off at the friends house for 12, 24 or 48 hours before picking me up.

What became clear MUCH later is why he lost custody. What he did to his daughters, he began to do to me. 

Even at that young age you KNOW what’s happening to you is wrong, but you’re also terrified that if you speak up or speak out, you’ll be killed or worse your family will. I didn’t tell my mom for a long time, but she’s smart + perceptive and knew something was off. 

I think my mom blamed herself for several years for not protecting me, but it’s not her fault. And as soon as she knew, that woman learned to write her OWN damn legal papers and fought with every fiber of her being to change the custody ruling and the entire divorce proceedings. Spoiler: she won! #dontmesswithmama

My whole life I carried an unshakeable feeling of shame, worthlessness and feeling like I had been damaged. 

In college I remember going for a “run“ one night. Halfway through my brisk walking (because let’s be real that’s how I “run”) I broke down and cried SO hard. I told God I was ashamed and felt alone and like I had been soiled. I asked Him why this had to happen to me, as if an alcoholic father that beat my mother wasn’t bad enough, let’s add this in too. 

The tears turned to anger and my brisk walking picked up speed. I waited for a response and finally He laid it on my heart. The simple answer from Him was that evil exists in this world, but what I do with the hurt and abuse is up to me. I was like, umm whattttttt? 

I’ll spare you the TLDR from that convo- the gist was that it happened, it’s done, but it doesn’t define me and never will. What He made very clear was that everything I survived would become my ministry. I sat on that message for a long time. It’s not like talking about your abuse is a great brunch topic, and I’ve never really broadcasted it out to the world on the internet or social media (gulp), but in the one on one moments when I’ve been able to share with other survivors, I feel His presence. Having an ally with someone else that can relate, has carried that burden of shame and has come out the other side is sometimes a needed reassurance that you can overcome this.

I never understood how this would play into my life, UNTIL I moved to Hollywood. I discovered very quickly that so many people that are drawn to the arts and this town, also have traumatic pasts- including alcoholic parents, devastating divorces (their own or their parents) and are survivors of abuse (in all forms). I'm not sure why this seems to be a catch all place for the survivors, but it is.

I’ve felt called to Hollywood almost my entire life (age 7 to be exact), I’ve known for a little over a decade my abuse would become my ministry and it wasn’t until this past week I finally got the guts to deep dive into learning about child sex abuse. Mostly because I started seeing so many I follow share about it and about sex trafficking. 

I’m 1 in 10 and by staying quiet, I’m not fulfilling the call the Lord gave me. Maybe someone needs to hear my story, but more importantly needs to know any abuse that happened to you, does NOT define you, and that the Lord loves you always and forever. Lastly, you can kick all those statistics- about abused children, turned adults- to the curb and prove the long term effects have NO dominion over you! I'm still a work in progress, but I feel like I've come a long way from those days of feeling worthless and damaged. 

Please share this with anyone that needs to hear this and if you are a victim of abuse, there are so many amazing resources for counseling that you can access for free with the click of a mouse. However, if you think it feels too impersonal, I'm always open to talk and/or pray for you.

And lastly, for those that will most likely ask, the pedophile that abused me walks free, as does the man who was supposed to protect me.

1 comment

  1. Hey Som,
    I am so proud of you for speaking up not only for yourself but to help others.
    I have my own story though I was older than you were, I suppressed my memories till I had my kids.


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