originally written on 12/31/14.
About a month before Christmas, a dear friend of mine shared with me the discovery that someone was sexually abusing her 4-year-old daughter. The more I thought about what was happening to her little girl, the more I realized I was no longer thinking about her little girl, but instead a little girl version of me.
Memories started to come back to me. Then the nightmares started. I had long suspected I may have fallen prey to a man as a child, but up until December I hadn't fully realized what had happened to me.
My memories were almost dream-like. I was watching them unfold as an observer in the room as opposed to experiencing it. I'm told this is detachment and is not uncommon when a child experiences trauma. It's a way to protect yourself. In my earliest memory I couldn't have been more than 6 or 7.
The man who did these things to me was a relative.
The time had come to tell my parents. To be honest, it was a conversation I never wanted to have. I'm a mother, so I can fully understand the feelings my parents must be feeling to know that someone did that to their little girl. I didn't want to break their hearts. I wanted to be able to shoulder that burden for them. But I also knew I wanted to pursue a criminal case against my abuser. You see, this man (if you can even call him that... coward or monster are probably more appropriate) had a reputation in our family. He was a raging alcoholic with the temper of a toddler who didn't get his way. He is a bigot. And after the truth came out we discovered there were others. He abused at least three other family members and based on some other hearsay we speculate there are more.
By the end of his abuse, he was so brazen that he once grabbed my chest in the middle of his living room. There were people all around. He didn't care. He had gotten away with it for so long.
I have a little girl now. I need her to know that if anyone ever hurts her she can tell me. I need her to know that I won't stand for that. Nothing may come of my case. It happened over a decade ago and it will ultimately be his word versus mine. But if I can at least let him know that I'm not tolerating what he did any longer I will feel vindicated. If I can at least let others know what a pathetic excuse for a human being he is, it will all be worth it. One thing we are often taught in Christianity is to forgive. In the interest of full disclosure (and I know I will likely be lambasted by some for so much as thinking what I'm about to type), I don't forgive him. In fact, I hate him. He is the one person I genuinely hope burns in hell for eternity. No need to tell me that's a very unChristlike view. I'm well aware. But Jesus said to come as you are and this is where I'm at.