A survivor of sexual abuse shares, through her pain, the story of those in her life who held the door for her and helped lead her to hope and healing despite the horrific sexual abuse from her father and other clergy.
Although it may have looked like he failed to rescue us, the attempt was an act of respect that opened doors. The first person who ever held the door open for me was murdered while trying to help some of us escape; but he opened the door to a new identity for me for the rest of my life.
It was a rescue from living the lies I was trained to believe. Lies such as:
1. I didn't matter.
2. No one noticed or cared how I felt.
3. There would be nothing in my future but the endless violence of sexual assault against my young body.
It opened the door to thoughts about a hopeful future. It led me to keep looking for someone else who might live out a challenge against the dark kingdom where I lived; someone that might be able to rescue me, to deliver me into the option of freedom.
Barney was an antidote to the poison inflicted by men who were totally devoid of the healing power of LOVE in their lives; instead, they sought the sadistic pleasure of overpowering and abusing an infant, a toddler, a preschooler, a primary schoolgirl. They paid a high price for their sins against me. It cost them more than expendable resources, for by their practices they themselves became slaves to escalating, self-destructive degradation, driven by a hunger that was never satisfied.
The surgeon held the door for me when he confronted my biological father, the one who traded and sold me and used me himself. The hit-and-run was made to look like an accident, but what my enemy intended to portray as a tragedy was turned for my good. It gave me access to medical care and a listening ear, to someone who valued me and the quality of my life. He gave me his card and words to say if I ever needed help again. In a few days we moved away from the surgeon's watchful eye, and the card was confiscated, but I now had the words to say, living words that were the key and conveyance to my freedom.
The trumpet player held the door for me. I entered a talent show, hoping for the prize money to subsist a little longer since I was a dislocated child, cut off from all parental resources until I would ”return to earning..." Round after round the applause-o-meter advanced me, but in the end, I was only second place. As I held the envelope and pondered my unlikely survival, the first prize winner approached and said it wasn't fair, the public always favored the trumpet. If I would split the second prize with him, he would split the first prize with me. I thought it was just a creative way to buy time with me, and thought GOD must be looking on me with favor in my moment of desperation, providing me for the first time an opportunity to sell myself.
So I asked GOD - send what I would have to do to repay him, if he had a place to go, and a few other negotiating questions. He told me it was a GIFT, a GIFT that would cost me nothing, ever, because that is the definition of a gift. He wanted me to take the money and buy something I wanted or needed, and remember the definition of gift, and never again worry about paying him back. I learned later the qualifier: good gifts come from GOD. And then, because of the denominations of the combined cash prizes, he took a little less than half, and left me with a little more than half, and held the door for me as I walked into a new life and a new identity.
My science teacher in high school held the door for me. He wanted me to be prepared for employment. He invited me to his office, to practice looking at him instead of the floor, and saying good morning, and other humanizing life skills.
There were others along the way, respectful men that made space for my voice, accepted my contributions, valuing instead of devaluing me, invested in my wellbeing and held the door in many other ways.
If you are one who holds the door for others, I thank you.
Will you hold the door open for someone today?
There are many who have been where you are and understand your confusion, feelings and pain. The Hope of Survivors want to help victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct and their families by making information readily available to them. They are available to provide encouragement, support via email, written correspondence, phone and conferences. Visit them today.