No Excuse for Sexual Abuse

One of the first things my mother wrote about me when I was adopted as a three month old baby was how much I enjoyed going outide and watching the birds. As a tiny human, I wonder what must have been going through my mind on the days when I stared awestruck up into the sky. Was there a sense of wonder, expectation and excitement for what was ahead? Or did I long to soar with the birds beneath the white puffy clouds? As an older child, I still loved to go outside and watch the birds. I remember a wooden rope swing in our back yard where I would swing for hours wishing I could fly like Superman. Fly above everything and everyone. And fly away from everything and everyone who wanted to do me harm.

There are still days that I long to fly away from those who want to do me harm. On the bad days especially when memories best forgotten drift into my mind like the pitch black clouds before a storm.

I wish I didn’t feel the need to write another blog about how sexual abuse has overshadowed most of my life. I wish today that I was writing about the excitement I feel about Christmas, Jesus and time with family. 

Today, I am exhausted and exasperated with yet another story of sexual abuse that has resulted once again in an innocent person being hurt. All she wanted was to go to work, do her job, and be the person God created her to be. It was a job she loved,  she worked hard at, and where she excelled in all that she did. Because she is young, gifted and attractive this is not the first time sexual abuse has disrupted her life. Once again she has to walk away from something she believed was going to be good for her.  Another betrayal to overcome and make it more difficult to trust. It is so unfair that she has to be the one that has to start over with a new job and new coworkers all because he couldn’t do his job and fulfill his role as her supervisor. Thankfully, she recognized that his comments were highly inappropriate for the work place. Because of her past experiences with sexually abusive men, she stopped it before it went any further.  I wonder how many women won’t know how to stop it, will believe it is their fault, and will be further traumatized?

I was one of those women who stayed for ten years,  because I believed a pastor/boss’s abuse was my fault. But I know better now. I know now that I was just like her. I just wanted to go church, learn about God, and be the person He created me to be. But once again sexual abuse stepped in and tarnished what was supposed to be good. 

Today, I want to say something to the men and boys in a culture where the message is many times given that boy’s will just be boy’s and are given permission to do all kinds of harmful things just because you are told this is the case. Recently, I walked into a high end butcher shop filled with thick slices of premium meats. My mouth watered at the thought of a steak cooking on the grill. But when I looked at the prices, I decided it wasn’t in my budget and turned and walked away thinking I might return at another time for a special occasion when I could justify buying an expensive piece of meat.  For as long as I can remember growing up in the south, I have been hearing that most men have an insatiable sexual appetite when it comes to women. Because men are “so visual” when an attractive woman walks into their presence they are overwhelmed with a desire to consume.  I remember listening to one of the first Promise Keepers meeting on the radio that my husband was attending in Atlanta. Ravi Zacharias was just one of high profile Christian speakers at the conference. Men all gathered into small groups between sessions where they confessed their sins. When the group from our church returned, a few of the men shared the sins they confessed with the church. It seems for most of the men women were their biggest temptation and weakness when it came to sinning. Women were told that they needed to remember this when they dressed,  because they didn’t want to cause their brothers in Christ to stumble. I bought what they were saying hook, line and sinker. Because I had been sexually abused, dressing in such a way to protect myself from men’s evil desires gave me a sense of control. I didn’t wear short skirts or plunging neck lines. I didn’t bend down in front of men. I told myself I was helping my brothers in Christ. But then I went to another church where I still dressed modestly and the pastor told me he was sexually attracted to me. He called me his eye candy. I started to believe that there must be something about me that I could not cover with clothes that was seeping out and causing this man to want to sin. And the shame was just too much to bear. 

I want to shout and scream today to men that I am not a fucking piece of meat!  And if you think I am you need to turn your ass around and walk out the door. I am too expensive and you cannot afford me! Stop believing the lie that you have some right to talk to me or look at me like I am a piece of meat. I am not a steak in a case. Still somewhere inside I am that little girl who wants to look up at a sky filled with birds, blue skies, and hope not the overshadowed by the dark clouds of sexual abuse.

Psalms 139:13 MSG:

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

you formed me in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

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