“I fell through the cracks. I am a survivor of sexual abuse and I am a fighter for the three-year-old little girl who didn’t have a voice. It started at a very early and I thought it was normal until another child, not an adult, told me it was wrong. The adults in my life were too afraid to talk about it. The adults said I should get over it and forgive and forget. The abuse happened for decades. At age 22, I saw my name in court documents for someone else’s case about being abused by him, but no one bothered to follow up or to see if I was okay. I wasn’t okay. Why didn’t someone stand in the gap for me? I spiraled and desired to self destruct, but Jesus was always there and loved me.
Why didn’t someone stand in the gap for me?
I was abused for as long as I can remember by my uncle. He took me to church every Sunday because my parents didn’t go to church. He lived next door and had easy access. The abuse happened every day. It was my normal and I had come to expect it. My family knew about it. He raped his own sister when she was young. Instead of the family stepping in and keeping him away, they sent her to an asylum where she lived for many years. She broke mentally.
I begged to go to therapy but they wouldn’t allow it. I knew this wasn’t normal and I had a plan to kill myself. One of the teachers at school told a friend of my mom’s that I was a loner. I was devastated. If they only knew why I was the way that I was. I didn’t want to be inside of myself, but I built up the walls around me for my own protection. My dad and the sheriff were friends. One day I had to go down to talk to him and I know he knew what was going on in our family. I wasn’t a horrible kid, I just had a toxic home life. I made good grades, was in advanced classes and went to school on scholarships. My family refused to see why I was acting out.
As a young adult in nursing school, I wondered if I would mentally break like my aunt did. My psych teacher taught me we all fall somewhere between mental illness and mental wellness. Sometimes our experiences become too great. I was holding it together on the outside and doing great at school, but spiraling on the inside. At family gatherings, I was forced to sit across the table from the man who abused me and abused my cousin and abused my aunt. I listened to him say grace over my food. I was in a family full of hypocrites. They believed it was a family issue. He was once arrested because of what he did to neighbors, not to us, and it was all over the news. We weren’t allowed to talk to anyone outside of the family. We still didn’t have a voice and weren’t allowed to speak.
After years of begging my dad to talk to me about this. Why didn’t you protect me? How could you allow this to happen? My uncle had cancer and one day my dad said, “I think I know why they never had children.” I was livid. You think he was afraid he would do that to his own children. I kept pushing my dad until he said, ‘What did you expect me to do? He is my brother? I said, ‘But I am your daughter.’ I moved out the next day.
The road I lived on was and still is named after my abuser. After his arrest, it was torn down several times, but they just put a new one up. I rarely go back home. It is difficult to still see that sign standing there, knowing what it represents.
Jesus got me through this and today I am a nurse and standing in the gap trying to keep other girls from falling through the cracks.”
(I attended a workshop about sex trafficking for a story I am working on. I had intended to interview Dawn Compton about her survival that day for the story and Souls, but her talk was so good and told her story so well, we decided to use this as her interview. If you want to know more, she wrote a book about her life. It is Nursing the Wounds.)