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.