April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, in honor of that, I am sharing a powerful and touching story. This story is written by a woman named Holly, who is courageously sharing her experience of molestation at age nine, and the redemption she didn't discover until 40 years later. Approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18 (CDC). Sexual assault, rape, molestation, and abuse, etc. leaves scars that can take a lifetime (if ever) to heal. I've had the honor of befriending Holly and hearing her story; it's one that I will never forget. Holly has found freedom in sharing her story, and she hopes it will help bring comfort to others who've experienced any type of sexual assault, molestation or abuse and may be living with shame.
Thank you, Holly, for blessing us with your courage and your story...
"Like most of us at nine years old, I wanted to spend every single day of my life adventuring; if I weren’t outside or playing with friends, my life didn’t feel fulfilled. So, on a day in 1971, I decided to go to a place called Wyman Woods; a place I went often and felt completely safe at, almost safer than at home. I had gone with a friend and my sister to go sliding down the cardboard slide, but on the way, I saw a different way to get into the park, so adventurous me, took it. While walking, we were by a man who said he had lost his dog. Trustworthy of adults, my friend and I went into the woods to find an innocent dog. The man told us to split up, him and me one way, and my friend the other way. This led to something I would have never fathomed; the man did the did the unspeakable; that day in the woods I was molested.
"Your parents tell you to never listen to those who ask if you want candy or try to get you into a car, but you never think something so surreal would happen to you."
Lisa had been screaming for me. I could tell he was getting nervous, which also saved me from something way worse; this I'm 100% sure of. He sent me up the hill towards the police station & he went the other direction. He told me not to tell anyone. The first person I remember seeing was my sister, I told her immediately & we filed a report.
Even though I had reported this act with my sister, nothing ever came of it. I felt so alone. My relationships all changed that day; my inner self-changed that day. My father and I were stuck like glue until he was too afraid to touch or talk to me without triggering an emotion out of me that he couldn’t handle. I was no longer allowed to see friends, especially not the one I went into the woods with that day. I was shut off from the world, or at least my nine-year-old self thought I was. I shut myself off to anything and everything.
"I felt numb day in and day out. I wondered how God could let such a terrible thing happen to such an innocent little girl. Why did I deserve this?"
Growing older, I left a piece of my soul and a piece of my heart back in those woods. I lost myself and lost God within my heart. Throughout 40 years I always questioned why God would send harm on the innocent, why he would allow such cruelty in the world. Counseling helped a bit with my struggles, but I had to find it in myself to bring back that nine-year-old girl and face my fears.
When I was 50 I finally realized that my nine-year-old self, felt guilty for what happened. I must have been bad because I lost so much that day. I lost my best friend, my relationship with my dad, but most of all I lost that carefree child. I closed myself off from that bad girl. My pain was buried back in the woods with my nine-year-old child. The person I had become always led back to that day, so, in 2012 I visited the woods and talked to God; He and I have battled a lot since that day. I relived the moment over and over again in my head. But then I had a moment of feeling God’s presence.
I sat on a log and cried. Eventually, I looked over and this flower growing out of the dirt and I looked up and saw the sun shining through the trees...
In the beginning, Eve decided to pick the fruit of the forbidden tree. God gave her the option to be with him or give into the sin of self-will. I gave into my self-will that day. I allowed myself to shut God out, giving him no chance to enter. The back of my mind always had doubt about Gods intentions. I, giving into my stubbornness put me in the same empty spot as that man, that day. He was a man living by his self-will, not Gods. I, shutting myself off, was giving into my self-will. I wanted to handle it on my own.
Most of us believe we can do it on our own, but we are naïve to what God has in store for our lives. Once I found God again, I felt free, I felt redeemed; I felt that I had someone on my side.
"If we stop blaming the one who created us, for acts of the self-willed, then maybe we will find the bright aspects of a terrible situation; we will feel whole instead of empty."
In writing this it has freed me from years of shame. I realize what happened to me wasn't my fault or God's. I will never hide again, afraid of how someone will look at me. I am a strong woman who loves God! He is my strength!!! Have hope in every situation because we are always in the powerful hands of God; and remember that this life is just our temporary home, preparing us for our eternal home in heaven."
The Hand of God: This image is from 2016 when I visited the woods. Instead of going left, I went right; the way the man 40 yrs ago had sent my friend. I stood on that hill and looked out I saw this tree that looks like a hand...