I was asked to guest post and was honored to do so, but I must admit, this subject is very near to home for me:
Abuse of a child.
Please be aware that what I am about to share is heavy and may be a trigger for some. Since April is Child abuse Awareness Month, I wanted to make a post that says that even after the physical nightmare goes away, the emotional scars can be lifelong.
I was sexually abused as a child.
I was a young teenager, in 8th grade when it happened, and I am now a thirty year old woman, but I remember it like yesterday.
While I have long gotten over the actual abuse and the incident and guilt that it brought, I am still living with the emotional pain of what the abuse caused in my life, my self esteem and my personhood.
When I was in 8th grade, I spent the night at a friend’s home. Her father was intoxicated and I woke to him sexually abusing me. I just remember laying there. I didn’t want to move. I wanted to believe it was a dream. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of my own personal nightmare.
I did report it, but the courts at that time often kept victims in the dark about proceedings. I didn’t even know until recently what his sentence was and that he never actually served prison time and only paid $298 dollars in restitution.
As a teen and young adult, I hated my body and I hated myself. I made that well known by allowing men to use me physically. I was telling myself I was taking back control over my sexuality, but in reality I was treating myself like the trash I believed I was at the time. When I became pregnant with my now 9 year old daughter, I vowed to stop this behavior and I did.
I am now married and have been for almost 3 years and I couldn’t be happier. My husband has shown me that not all men are terrible and some are worthy of my trust and love.
Recently, It was found that the same man that abused me also was caught abusing a small child last year. I made it my mission to be the voice for this young victim as I had felt my voice was not heard and ultimately, I think that is what drove me to feel so terrible after the incident.
I immediately called the prosecuting attorney and asked how I could help in this case. She had me write a victim impact statement, which was submitted to the court.
I finally had my voice heard.
I finally was able to stop this man and I finally was able to find healing and empowerment. I can’t tell you how great it felt to sit in that courtroom, look at that man and see him get sentenced to 40 years in prison, no credit for time served and unable to get parole for 25 years. I found out he is dying of Hepatitis C and will most likely die before he was able to ask for a parole hearing.
I am not a vindictive person, but I do admit it was good to know he would never breathe in freedom again. He would never harm another little girl. He would never steal another person’s soul.
That day, I cried.
I cried tears of happiness for the empowerment I felt. I cried tears of sadness for the little girl. I cried tears of release for that 14 year old girl inside me. Ultimately, I cried because it was over. I no longer had to worry about running into him in town anymore and I no longer had to worry I would never have closure.
I am no longer a victim.
Thank you for hearing my story. I may be only one voice, but my voice is strong now and it feels good to use it.
Christine Tolhurst is a blogger, mom to a 9 year old girl and wife. She resides in Montana and Loves cooking, writing and reading. She spends her time blogging, volunteering, cooking for her family, doting on her cat that thinks he is royalty and playing wii matches with her Husband. Her blog, "Saved By Grace" has topics on Christian living, recipes and food, beauty, product reviews and giveaways. She welcomes commentary and is PR friendly.