I had a friend recently share with me their experience of being sexually abused. Out of respect for this touchy subject, I will refrain from exposing any names. But to avoid confusion I will insert the name Beth when mentioning my friend. She told me she’s encouraged everyday to tell her story. She believes that’s the only way to get out of the living nightmare she lived in for so long, is to tell her story. So here I am. Telling a story that was meant to be heard.
Beth was six years old when it started. He would creep into her room in the middle of the night and without hesitation, unzip his pants. The rest was black as night. That’s all she could remember. All she wanted to remember. She would squeeze her eyes unbelievably tight hoping it was only a monster from her closet. Only a nightmare she would soon awake from. Only the devil playing a trick, and soon God would save her.
None of the above happened, of course — and for years Beth was silent. She believed it was the right thing to do because he told her so. At this point of her story I was sobbing, because it hurt so bad to hear. Because I know loved ones who have been told the same. Because I have other friends who have been raped. Who have been abused. Who have been tortured by people they thought would be anything but a monster.
Beth was 16 years old when she told her mother. I suppose I expected this to be the end of Beth’s story. That her mother was outrageous when she heard that her daughter was being raped, molested, sexually abused…by her…father. But instead, Her mother slapped Beth. She hated her daughter for spreading such lies. And for the longest time, Beth believed her mother. She believed she was making up a story. She believed it didn’t happen.
Beth’s mother must have said something to Beth’s father the night Beth told her she was being abused — because for 4 years Beth’s father didn’t touch her. He didn’t look at her.
On the night of Beth’s 18th birthday she was denied the opportunity to go hang out with her friends and celebrate. Beth’s mother was out of town due to a business meeting and her father was keen on keeping her in for the night. That night Beth decided to sneak out. It was her birthday after all. When she came home at 3 AM her father was on the porch waiting for her to return. She remembers apologizing repeatedly the second she saw her father, but that wasn’t enough to protect her.
She woke to bruises on her arms, a black eye and ripped underwear.
She wanted to die. She wanted to fall asleep and never wake up again. She’d rather that than face him.
With the strength and help from a neighbor Beth filed a report. For the first time in her life she was going to let the rest of the world know her father like she did.
I honestly was speechless at this point. I wanted to kill her father. A man I had never met. I was going insane. Everything was tossing and turning and I was considering committing a crime. I’ve only known Beth since my first semester at Utah State and yet I was willing to risk it all. To bring her justice.
She was crying at this point. Telling me the longest secret of her life. But she was able to tell me that I somehow inspired her to speak. She told me that I’m not afraid to say what’s on my mind and that she admires me. I told her sometimes I feel like I don’t even have a choice. I’ve had to learn quick how to be my own person. How to get what I want. I guess it just comes natural for me, but for Beth–it’s the hardest thing.
She thanked me for being on her side, but she wanted me to not be angry — because that had only caused her pain. This opened my heart in the realization that I harbor a lot of hate in my life. I hate someone. And I don’t want to hate anymore. If anyone has the reason to hate someone…it’s Beth. But she told me she has nothing but love in her heart now. She said it took all she had — but now she can live life. She can really live it. I asked her how…and she told me…”It’s in God’s hands now.”
How can she be so strong? How can she believe in a God after all she has been through? She says she admires me, but the funny thing is…I admire her. She’s the bravest soul I know.
Thank you for sharing your story with me Beth.
You’ve given me hope. When hope seemed lost.