He shoved me against the front door and kissed me. He reeked of alcohol. His arms pinned me against the door.
“Are you scared?”
“No.” I shivered inside. What in the world! Would he let me go? I was already late meeting Mom. Maybe she’ll come to the door to look for me. Oh my gosh, how do I get out of here?
I turned the doorknob behind me, slowly pulled the door open. He let me go, dropped his arms and walked away, flopping himself on the couch. I raced out the door and through building after building of the apartment complexes, down the grey sidewalks, until I reached the main road.
My mom’s car sat waiting across the street. I swiped at the tears and snot that ran down my face and tried to catch my breath. I crossed the street. My friend who was spending the night was already in the car. And my mom looked angry.
I climbed into the front seat. The sight of my mom opened the flood gates of sobs.
“You’re late. I told you to be on time.” Mom gave me a hard look. “Tears won’t help. I really needed you to be on time today. Now I’m late picking up your brother.”
It took me few moments between choking sobs to get the words out. “He kissed me.”
“Mom, he kissed me. Edward shoved me against the door and,” I grabbed my stomach and rocked forward in my seat. How could this have happened? I was their babysitter. I loved their family and their little girl. My friend and I picked her up after school and took her to the park to play. Since we’d moved, I hadn’t seen the little girl much and I missed her.
“He did WHAT?!” Mom slammed the car in gear and screeched across the road. She roared over the speed bumps through the apartments and zipped the car into a parking spot, barely. She jumped out, leaving the car door open.
I watched through my tears as my mom pounded on the grey front door. I thanked God we didn’t live right next door anymore. I never wanted to see Edward again. If he was smart he wouldn’t answer the door. But he did.
“What the hell were you thinking, Edward? How could you do this to my daughter? She’s 13! You are a disgusting pig!”
I couldn’t hear Edward’s muffled response. He could barely stand in the door. I wondered when his wife would be home to care for their toddler daughter. I hoped the little girl would sleep through the commotion since I’d put her down for a nap after returning from the park.
“I’m calling your wife, Edward! Don’t you ever touch or talk to my daughter again, do you understand me?” I secretly hoped she’d slap him. It would serve him right if she did. But Mom came stomping back to the car, got in, and slammed her door.
“I’m sorry I yelled at you. I had no idea.” Mom rubbed my leg. I could see tears forming in her eyes.
“It’s okay, Mom.”
“I should have asked why you were crying instead of assuming and yelling at you.” She took a deep breath, “And I am so sorry that pig kissed you.” She reached around to hug me. Then she straightened up and pulled out of the parking lot. I heard her whisper under her breath, “Disgusting bastard.”
Years later, I started to wonder if I had a stamp on my forehead that sent out a beacon to these kinds of men and boys. Like the babysitter’s son who put his hands in my swim suit when I was 6, in the back of the dark station wagon on the way back from their grandparents one night.
Or a man who’d been a family friend my whole life who wrote, “Call me baby” in my address book when I was a freshman in high school. Or the teenager, whose family lived with us when I was 11, who climbed into my bed one night and dashed out a few minutes later when he heard his sister coming up stairs. Perhaps the beacon attracted the guys in high school who sexually harassed me on a continual basis, saying disgusting things about my body or one particular upper class man who asked me if I wanted to have sex each day as he walked by.
Even as a married adult woman, I was sexually harassed by a member of the fitness center where I worked and it took months before I spoke up. When I did, my manager told me to just tell him to stop. Well, shoot. Why didn’t I think of that? It wasn’t until I took the matter to the owner that something was finally done about this man. I wrote about that here >>Men, Stop Damaging Women<<
My list is long. Perhaps your list is too. Those who have been sexually abused often have a long laundry list of others who have been inappropriate with them.
And it sucks.
It heaps shame and anger onto an already wounded heart. Further fueling feelings of insignificance. This doesn’t happen to other girls, so why me? What makes me a target?
I don’t know if there will ever be an answer to that question. The pat answer, “It’s because you’re strong enough” doesn’t exactly bring me comfort. Yeah, maybe I am. But that doesn’t make it less hurtful. It still left scars.
And that’s where I have to get on my knees and ask for help. Because on my own, I can’t handle it. Each incident is like a heavy brick on my back. I’ve got a heavy load to lug around and it’s too heavy a burden for this girl.
And if this is your story too, they don’t get to define you either!
I’ve had to forgive each and every one of them. Is it easy? No. Some were easier than others. I pray the boys grew up into men who don’t abuse and realize what an idiot they’d were.
I pray for any bitterness to be released from me. To forgive. To not be angry. To move beyond it. To be healthy. It’s a long list for a heart broken by abuse.
Because we are precious too.
God’s word says a lot about the broken-hearted.
Unlike our abusers, He doesn’t force Himself on us, but waits for us with arms open wide, waiting for us to ask Him for help. Like the true gentleman He is.
We can remain bitter and angry or we can seek freedom and make this world a little bit better.
That’s how I’ve learned to do more than survive my past. I’ve learned to live free from it. You can too.
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