Fourteen And Sexually Screwed Up

NOTE: This piece contains references to sexual addiction, rape and sexual abuse. If you need help, or know someone who does, please call the national Sexual Abuse hotline 1800-656-HOPE. Or Google your local rape and sexual assault center.

My world shattered the first time I chose sex.

I was fourteen, still a little person, barely 100 pounds.

My world didn’t shatter because the God of heaven rained down tears of anger over my pre-marital sex, cut me out of our personal relationship or decided to never use me again. That’s what I thought God was supposed to do when a little girl throws off her special invisible virginity cloak.

My world shattered because I would resolve to reach deep in my gut to push out the word “no” but, nothing.

It shattered because I was trapped with no rescue, no curfew, no rules, no overseer.

Because, to me, it was proof I was an unlovable, worthless sexual commodity.

 My world shattered because I didn’t know if I was being raped or not. Lying there stiff as a board, choking back tears didn’t quite fit the barbaric images I’d seen in the movies, but I had no fight.

I couldn’t even say no.

My world shattered because when I tried to leave, he said he’d eat rock salt. I wasn’t going to be the girl whose boyfriend died by rock salt because she couldn’t endure 5 minutes of painful sex.

Lay down. Shut up. Endure.

My world shattered because my dad was in prison for having sex with me for so many of my earliest years.

I had no idea how gutted that tragedy had left me, only that I was present-day shattering into a million little pieces.

 ****

After 7 months, I communicated with an adult that I needed help. I went to the principal of my Christian school who worked with my boyfriend’s father.

I was hoping to be rescued from sex. Advocated for. Protected.

Apparently that was too much to ask. With tears flowing, I listened to Mr. O tell me my boyfriend “has an addiction problem to my body.”  He told me, “you need to do…” this and that. Essentially, Mr. O handed me a 5-point plan to address my boyfriend’s addiction to my body.

But what about me, Mr. O?  

I didn’t’ say anything else because I didn’t know how.

I didn’t think to explain I was a sexual abuse survivor or had thoughts of suicide. I didn’t think to say I wasn’t eating or showering. I didn’t think to tell him my Father was in prison, my Ma lost to her demons. I didn’t think to clarify if God hated me or to declare that I, Gracie, needed his help.

Fourteen and sexually screwed up.

****

Sexually speaking, our kid’s worlds are shattering too. I’m a mom now, and I watch it happening all around me.
Our kids have access to watch sex as early as the first spoiled 2nd grader gets an iPod touch and points out the “boobies” to his friends in the dark corners of recess.

Our kids are being stolen out of their youth —

and plunged into our highly sexualized image and video-driven culture faster than many of us care to acknowledge; stolen out of their schools and playgrounds and taken away to dingy motel rooms to be used as sexual commodities.

Mothers, fathers, brothers, uncles, street kids, priests and pastors alike are molesting our kids. And what makes this devastating sin so salient nowadays is the way the internet has made our children available for the using and more susceptible to sexual addictions.

****

In light of all this, do you really think that tired message “God-hates-pre-marital-sex” is going to cut it any more?

That ship has sailed.

We need to consider these devastating realities and to learn to care and advocate for all our sexually “screwed up” kids. We need to learn to tend to those, like me, whose world has shattered.

Can we stop telling kids to “save themselves” for marriage without considering that they may have all ready had sex stolen from them?
When we don’t do this we unnecessarily burden them.

Can we bring up sex in other contexts besides when we want to say how pre-marital sex is displeasing to the Lord?

When we do this, we heap unnecessary guilt.

Can we begin to creatively consider how to engage the reality that our kids can watch porn on any screen, 24/7? When we ignore this reality, we ignore the enormous burdens and addictions they may be carrying.

They need empowerment to deal, not shame to hide.

Can we tell our kids that, thankfully, there is forgiveness, and hope, and empowerment and most of all, grace available to all?

****

No one who ended up healing my life was a mother, or brother, or father or Uncle…or even Youth Pastor. I went to my best friends, my neighbors, my High School Principal and eventually, anyone who’d listen.

I point this out to say, if you know a kid, you’re responsible.

If you know a kid, then chances are that kid has been sexually abused, or seen porn, or will seen porn, become addicted to it, or will help a friend navigate sexual experiences, date rapes & more.

No kid is getting off scott free.

I believe in the responsibility of the community to care for the other members of the community as family. I believe in the power of Christian community to cover.

I believe it’s a damn good idea we watch out for our society’s most sexually vulnerable population whether we’re related to them or not.

Tell your sons and daughters, your brother’s kids, your neighbor’s kids, and your youth group kids that no matter what has been done to them nor what they have done, they are not ruined. They are not trapped. They are beloved. There is healing for their sorrow, there is hope.

Tell them God loves them deeply. Tell them the hope we have in Jesus for freedom over any sin, any power or any principality the enemy throws our way.

Tell then help. Advocate. Rescue. Protect.  Enforce.  Love. Send a new message to our sexually screwed up kids.

It’s time for new wineskins.

 

The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Prodigal Magazine or it’s particular editor.   [Photo Credit: A. Jordan Pryor, Creative Commons]

  • Melanie Pennington

    They need empowerment to deal, not shame to hide

    This. Yes, this. Thank you for this sentence (and the entire post). As a survivor of csa and 2 rapes as an adult, brought up in a Christian home, I say, “Yes, yes, and yes!”

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Thank you, Melanie!! Yes on empowerment. We all need it, eh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/coffeesnob318 Suzanne Terry

    “I point this out to say, if you know a kid, you’re responsible.” YES!

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Your welcome. Thanks, Suzanne!

  • http://www.shaneyirene.com/ Shaney Irene

    This is so. important. And I know it must have been insanely difficult to write, to be so vulnerable. I wish I could have been there when you were 14, so I could have told you that you *were* raped, that you did not give yourself willingly, that your boyfriend’s choice to threaten you with suicide was incredibly messed up and that he needed help and intervention, that his choices were not yours and not your fault.

    Thank you for this brave, much needed call.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Thanks, Shaney. Even now, it’s hard to read -and believe- those words….so messed up right? Thank God for his grace.

  • Johanna

    Thank you, Grace. Your willingness to be vulnerable in the name of progress and hope and real-ness is so admirable and appreciated. Also, very timely as I spent a good chunk of the weekend thinking about Kate growing older…the computer issue is one I almost can’t think about, it’s so painful – partly because of its inevitability – to imagine. Someone sneaking their father’s Playboy to show the neighborhood kids now seems like such small potatoes.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Thank you, Johanna! I agree with you…and i feel tremendously fearful for Ransom too…and all those things his little dude friends will talk about and show him…and how to protect him and teach him to treat little munckins like Kate with the utmost respect & responsibility. It’s so much bigger than we can control…which is why I think these conversations, -earlier on- are going to be necessary. Re: the playboy thing…. yep, I feel you! One peek is so much different than a ’round the clock addiction. sigh.

  • Jenn

    I had no idea how gutted that tragedy had left me, only that I was present-day shattering into a million little pieces.



    It’s been 30 years this year since I was date raped. I am only just now beginning to realize the damage that night has done to my life. I have been sexually screwed up for a very long time. For years, I’ve thought I was to blame even though I was begging him to stop and screaming no. I wish I knew what my life might have been like had there been someone to listen and tell me that I wasn’t defined by that one night. I wonder what my life would have been like had it never happened. So, yes! YES! we HAVE to talk to our kids about sex and love and covenant; but we ALSO have to speak to their hearts when the barrier has been broken.
    Thanks for your openness and vulnerability.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Jenn, so sorry for what happened to you! I too, wish someone could have had those talks with us! big hugs to you today, sister. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://www.cross-platform.org John Hanan

    Such good thoughts here on being advocates for those who are hurting and showing them nothing is too great for Christ to overcome. I do fear you’re coming dangerously close to completely tossing aside teaching about abstinence as God’s ideal for us though. Surely abstinence can exist alongside God’s grace?

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      John, thanks for clarifying! No, no, not tossing it aside at all….just ya know, 1000 count word limit… alot more could be said about my HIGH value for abstinence. thanks for adding that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cassie.kingan Cassie Kingan

    Absolutely Love this post Grace! I am a strong advocate for the sexually abused and I speak to adults every chance I get to get involved in their community of children and be there for them, listen to them, watch what is going on in their homes and lives, BELIEVE them, get them help. Thank you for your honesty and care for our children.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Thank you, Cassie for the work you do as well! It’s an amazing gift.

  • NaKhia Grays

    Amazing, Grace! Absolutely amazing. Thank you for your vulnerability, honesty, and bold truth-telling. This is so very moving and brings an awareness that invokes a response. As I live to love God, myself, and others well, this has challenged me and given me lots to think about in how I approach this issue.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Thanks, sis! So glad to hear it! Hope you are well. I miss you & all my BCm peeps! so so so much!

  • Jerry

    My daughter wrote a paper on pornography. She asked me to edit it. The physiological, psychological, spiritual, and cultural effects of pornography are stealing a generation! Thank you for revealing one story…yours. Yours is a representation of many like it. Sad. Just. Sad. But there is always hope to move from this point forward. Thank God.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      stealing is a good word. a hard word, but that’s what we need to face it: to teach our kids how to be proactive and brave to face that which threatens to steal them.

  • Sharon O

    This is hard for me on many levels. the first one is my ‘grand daughter’ who is almost 14 and still a ‘child’ in many ways. I hurt for her, for her innocence in a society that tells ‘young people’ you must do it to be ‘grown up’. NO you don’t have to. AND the victims “YES” those are all around us, perpetrators seem to be on the news daily. I thank God my ‘children’ were raised in a different time frame, but I pray earnestly for the six grand children I have that God’s angels will forever protect them.
    This grandma is a child advocate and I will listen to the verbal and non verbal words a child can say.

    • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Glad to hear it, Sharon. Keep praying, listen well. You’re all ready off to a great start.

  • Diana Trautwein

    Thank you so much for these brave, true words, Grace. They scare the crap outta me, to tell you the truth – but I need them. I need them.

  • C Kay

    wonderful post but i did feel as if sometimes we think when we tell kids the reason for being abstinent (by product of being obedient to God) it is necessary. You may have strayed away from that, (or so I picked up). I do wish i was reassured more then i was that it was necessary to be obedient to Gods word. Preaching the gospel for what it is corrects on it own, and it wont always bring guilt.

  • http://profiles.google.com/courtosborn12 Courtney Osborn

    So thankful for your own testimony to God’s redemption in your life, and so thankful for the way you are challenged to seek hard after protecting the upcoming generations from such pain. Our children and teens (and even my generation of young twenty somethings) have become so desensitized to everything in our world. It’s an overwhelming concept, one I also have a desire to see more effectively and conservatively addressed as we come together as a body desiring only to honor God and glorify Him forever, especially in raising up the next generation of Christ followers….advocates for the abused and neglected.

  • David

    Wow…thank you for sharing your story. This is incredibly powerful. My wife and I were both sexually abused as kids. We both responded in 2 very different ways. Both were damaging. We are expecting our first child and of course this subject comes up in our household when we look at the sonogram of our baby girl. I love that this post was vulnerable and gave me confidence we were heading down the right path in how to handle our baby growing up. Thank you again for your courage to share!

  • 4thtime

    I somehow bumped into this website. I was searching for the outcomes of a child whose upbringing has more to do with sexual exposure than it does with any type of loving belonging. I read your story, followed by all the comments below, and couldn’t help but resist the idea that not a single person on this blog can assimilate nor bow down to the pain that a child experiences when being traumatized by any direct or indirect exposure to sex. What truly frightens me is everyone’s quick dismissal of the human experience and how most can justify a child’s; a woman’s; a man’s; therefore a human’s sexual trauma with some good grace of God and/or his/her forgiveness. I respect the recovery of those who seek change through God, religion, meditation, what have you, but the pain of trauma through rape, and/or sexual abuse can hardly be identified, specified, or justified by saying that the loving grace of God forgives and forgets. Bob Dylan once said that there were things that even Jesus wouldn’t forgive. The theft of a child’s innocence is hopefully one of them. Rather than pray, keep your eyes pealed, talk to your children and encourage your adults to do the same. The one thing i wish from my god-fearing grandma is that rather than pray for me; she would have protected me, because no matter how much we are willing to passively place this unfortunate reality on God, we must unfurl our praying hands and assume the real life consequences.