I am a 23-year-old female and working full-time. My relationship with God has been consistently growing since graduating from college. I feel closer to God now than ever before. I no longer struggle in trying to gain God's approval, because I know He has already approved me and nothing I do or don't do will change His love for me. It's taken a lot for me to get to this place, considering I grew up in the church. I am currently involved in my home church and serving in children's ministry, on the worship team, and on the prayer team.
I am writing my story in hopes that it will help another girl who has been put in a similar situation as the one I was in. I am writing my story to bring awareness to the fact that sexual abuse does happen still, and perpetrators can be church-going "Christians." In fact, my perpetrator was a worship leader.
Before reading my story, I would like to preface this by saying I know that some of my decisions the night I was assaulted were not very wise. I do admit that, though I had the power to control my own decisions, I made the choice of staying at a guy's apartment because it was raining really hard, and I felt more comfortable doing that than making a 30-minute drive back to my own apartment in crazy weather.
But that doesn't change the fact that my perpetrator could not control himself and forced himself on me (something that I could NOT control).
As I stated before, I was 20 years old, in college, and in a completely different city than the city I grew up in. It was a stormy night, raining heavily, and because of the weather, I decided to just stay at a close friend's apartment. I met this guy during my freshman year of high school, and we remained close friends ever since. He was also involved at his church as the main worship leader.
I never in a million years thought something like what happened that next day would happen, because this guy never gave me a reason to not trust him or feel afraid when I was with him. Unfortunately, I would be in for a rude awakening the next morning.
I was sexually assaulted by this friend whom I respected a lot. He got on top of me in the bed I was sleeping in and when I said "please, no I don't want to," he replied with, "Just five more minutes, five more minutes," moaning in between, while continuing to kiss my neck and face. I honestly didn't even recognize the person that was dry humping me.
Cause it was not my friend. My friend would never have done something like that to me. It was honestly like something came over him and he turned into an aggressive, feisty animal.
I felt so afraid and didn't know what to do. It wasn't like I could call anyone, because the person I would call in a dangerous situation like this would have been this friend. I felt like my body froze up, and I couldn't push him off.
After he was finally done, I had no words, not even any tears. I was just in shock. I noticed that his pants were wet, and I felt so disgusted--he had just used me for his own pleasure. He got up, went to the restroom, and cleaned himself up. After he came back, I asked him what just happened. All he could say was, "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me." I grabbed my stuff, left the apartment, and walked to my car. I still remember that walk to my car, and how I felt so ashamed and disgusted; feeling like it was all my fault, because if I hadn't stayed there, this would never have happened.
I sat in my car for some time, replaying the events over and over in my head.
I felt scared and helpless during the assault. Immediately afterwards, I was in shock. Later in the day, I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and dirty. I remember it was either a day or two after, but I called one of my friends and told her what had been done to me, because I couldn't hold it in any longer. I needed to tell someone. My hope was that, by bringing it into the light, I would heal faster. And thankfully, I did feel a lot better after telling someone. However, I never said the words "sexual assault" until a year or two later, because I still doubted that was what happened to me until after I went to counseling for it.
Thankfully, the first person I told did believe me, because if she didn't, I don't know what I would have done. I told a few people that were close to me during that season, and then my sister a year after. I do recall that one guy friend said, "The reason you didn't push him off was because you were enjoying it yourself. Who wouldn't enjoy that at your age?" I was so dumbfounded and angry when I got that response. I haven't told my parents to this day, because I know that the first thing they would say is "That's what you get for sleeping at a guy's place." Nothing was done afterwards, except my seeking counseling from my university, since it was free. If I wasn't in school during that time and counseling wasn't free, I don't think I would have sought it out, because that would mean I would have to tell my parents and go through insurance.
The abuse has affected me in my distrust towards men and guys in general. Now, I feel like my eyes have been opened to the fact that even guys who go to church cannot always be trusted and will use you for their own pleasure. I can still replay the events of the abuse in my head to this day and try to suppress it whenever those thoughts try to come.
It has left me confused and hurt. For the longest time, I struggled in watching that same person that abused me get up so easily on a stage and lead the church in song. I didn't understand why people raised this person on a pedestal at times, while I had to keep my mouth shut to save his reputation, even though he was the one who hurt me, and has left me with this wound I have to carry for the rest of my life. And he walks away scott-free. This has left me scared about pursuing marriage, and with fear of how to know if a potential future husband is actually genuine, or just trying to use me.
After seeking counseling, I am now aware that what happened to me was, in fact, sexual assault--it was unwanted sexual activity from another by force and without consent (given I did say "no" several times). Yes, I could have controlled my actions that day and not stayed at my friend's house, but it can also be said that he could have controlled his actions and not forced himself on me. For the longest time, I carried around the shame of thinking it was all my fault, but I realize now that I cannot say that, because if anyone else was staying at my house, I would never force myself onto him or her.
It's more than a self-control issue--it's an epidemic that is eating away at more individuals in our community than we can imagine. I believe it's a pornography issue, as well. More and more guys (and girls) are feeding themselves with this junk and feeling the need to act on whatever they watch--they "practice" on individuals and create helpless victims. I've never watched porn before, but I truly believe that what I experienced that day in 2016 was something that was learned from watching porn, based on how aggressive and inhumane the act was.
I am mainly speaking about male to female sexual abuse, because that is what I experienced. But I believe that as a community, and as leaders, we need to focus on the root cause and help individuals (men) before they become perpetrators, which will create less victims. We need to do a better job of parenting and shepherding our boys, and help guide them in the right direction, in order to raise men of honor--not boys that lack self control. We need to teach men how to treat women with love and respect. In domestic violence, they say most would never hurt or abuse their boss, so why do they abuse their spouses?
I feel like my friend would not have done that to anyone else, but because it was me, and given our close friendship, he felt like he unfortunately could.
Sometimes it's the ones closest to us that will hurt us the most. All I know is that sexual abuse is definitely an issue that needs attention. I'm not so sure how to combat it from a spiritual perspective, but I am hoping that through this ministry, we can all figure it out together, with the Lord's help. A verse that helped me when I was walking in this season was Ephesians 5:10-14.
I know that, in due time, all darkness will be exposed because He is the Light--all I had to do was get near the Light.