He Didn’t Protect Me

Recently I saw a lot of parents celebrating their daughters. Apparently it was National Daughter Day. We don’t necessarily need a day to laud our children, but I thought the gesture was beautiful. Somewhere during the day , I couldn’t help but thinking about the daughters who were left open and bare to that monster called abuse. They were left with scars that changed the trajectory of their lives. This is an interview with a friend of mine who was violated by a member of her family as a little girl. Someone who should have protected her, but didn’t. This is her journey of realization, revelation and restoration.

For intents and purposes, I’ll call her Andi. My friend grew up in an island nation and was part of a large family of cousins, aunts and uncles. Her mom and dad were married with ten children. Due to the nature of her father’s career, many times the family was separated as her mom went to stay with her husband in these isolated locations. That meant some children would be with her and some would stay with family members. Andi’s father had a relationship with alcohol and probably had his own story. Her mom was very quiet and like all of us, she had her own story too. For what ever reason, Andi was left to the vices of this broken, flawed family member.

Andi grew into a beautiful young lady, albeit fractured and bruised with her self-confidence shattered. You, however, couldn’t tell from the outside. The outside looked perfect. After having her own child, a ‘smell’ triggered her memory. She had flashbacks of being molested even as an infant. One morning, she felt a strong impression to go back to her native country to see this perpetrator. Andi could not ignore the sense that she needed to do this ‘now’. She wanted him to know that she had forgiven him. This needed to be done face to face. Here’s part of Andi’s story:


Q: I know you had quite a few siblings. If you had 3 adjectives to describe your childhood, what would they be?

Andi: Fearful. uncertain and distrustful

Q: What emotion(s) do you think overshadowed you as a child and as a young woman? Did this influence the choices you made as you matured?

Andi: Mistrust, lack of confidence.  These emotions definitely influenced the choices I made as I matured.  [Not ‘knowing’ who she was, Andi found herself in relationships that were messy and attracted ‘abuse’ of others kinds.]

Q: How would you describe your relationship with the adults in your space at the time? Did you feel safe with anyone in particular?

Andi: Sad to say, the adults in my space at the time were all about themselves, some even resented the fact that I and some of my other siblings were sharing their space.  The only person I felt safe with was my grandmother who watched out for me.  I remembered her ‘running off’ a particular young man who claimed that he wanted to marry me but because of her investigating, we discovered that he was already married and had a family in the United States.

Q: When did you realize that you were violated as a child? Were you ever aware of this as a child?

Andi: I realized that I was violated as soon as the incident took place.  My natural instinct told me that something was definitely wrong with this act. Just like the time my primary school teacher touched me inappropriately, I must have been about seven or eight years old.

[Later in life, a flashback made her realize she was molested even earlier as infant]

Q: Did you confide in anyone? [If  you didn’t tell anyone] Why not?

Andi: I never confided in anyone.  As children, we were taught that children should be seen and not heard. It was as if you never had a voice or opinion on anything.   There was also the fear  of not being believed, and the shame that goes along with the abuse.

Q: When did the abuse stop?

Andi: This particular abuse, I say ‘this particular one’, just happened once, maybe it was because I put up a fight.  But there were subsequent abuses of different sorts.

Q: Was there a particular thing that triggered your memory in adulthood?

Andi: Yes.  I remembered smelling that ‘rubbery smell’ of my daughter’s baby bottle nipple and it triggered a flashback of being abused even as a baby.  May sound strange to some, but it was as visual as it could be.

Q: How did you feel about the violator at that time as child? As a  teen, as a young adult?

Andi: As a child, I experienced the gamut of emotions: shock, anger, sadness, disgust, confusion. As a teen and young adult, I kept my distance both physically and emotionally as best as I could.

Q: How did your experience shape or affect your relationship with men as you grew up?

Andi:  I never really felt comfortable with or around men after the abuse, there was always a lack of trust and an uncanny feeling of being used and deserted.

Q: What led to the understanding that you needed healing? That you are valued and worthy?

Andi: I remembered one morning, after a gentleman friend left my bed, I was in tears thinking, ‘this cannot be what life is all about’, I felt empty, I felt like my life has no purpose, I later realized that this is what feeling hopeless is like.  It was not until I surrendered my life to Jesus that I learned that I am valued and worthy.  I am not an afterthought in God’s eyes, He knew me even before I was formed in my mother’s womb and has a plan for my life.

Q: How did you proceed to deal with liberating yourself and forgiving the perpetrator? What did you do?

Andi:  I discovered the love God has for me and because of His mercies I was not consumed by all that happened to me. He forgives me for all the wrong that I have done, I realized that the ‘perpetrators’, all need mercy also and if God could forgive me, who am I not to forgive them of their wrongdoings.  I have also come to know that forgiveness is more for me than it is for them.  My desire is to walk in the freedom I have received and not be ‘stuck in a rut’ as I always referred to it, by harboring unforgiveness.

Q: How did you feel as took that journey back to your native country to see this person?

Andi:  When I returned home to see that person, I was already delivered from the hurt and pain they had inflicted. My mission was to tell them that I had forgiven them and about the love of Jesus. I could not afford to let ‘my feelings’ play any part in my visit.

Q: Some may say it didn’t need all of that. You could have just prayed for him and forgiven him right where you were. What would you say to that?

Andi: As long as your abuser is alive, I think it is better to confront them face to face. I was able to look him in the eye and tell him that I forgave him.  It was not only freeing for him but for me also. The Lord wants us to be totally free, not partially free.  I would not have been in a good place if I had just prayed for him and forgive him right where I was because, unknown to me, this would be the last time that I would see him alive.

Q: That person as since passed away and you went to the funeral. What thoughts and emotions were you dealing with at that time?

Andi: There was a feeling of sadness. I was hoping that we had more time to mend our relationship and I had more time to share the love of Jesus with him. I knew that he too needed deliverance for whatever he had been through in his life.  There is a saying that ‘hurting people hurt people’ and that is real.

Q: How would you describe your present state of mind as it relates to that part of your life?

 Andi: I am an overcomer because of Jesus.  I am delivered from the things that happened to me in the past and I can safely quote II Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  Hallelujah!

Q: What would you say to a girl or woman who is walking through that trauma right now? Seeking healing and peace, but can’t seem to find it.

 Andi: Totally surrender your life to Christ, your past, present and future.  FORGIVE those who have hurt you, this is where your freedom lies.  Someone once said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting on the other person to die.  In addition to feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, insecurity and fear, unforgiveness also creates a hardened heart. The hardened heart feels anger, resentment, bitterness and hatred towards the offender; sad to say in some cases even when that person is dead and gone.  If God could forgive me my trespasses, I should be able to forgive those who trespass against me.  You may say that this is not humanly possible, you are right; that is why we have His Holy Spirit to help us. Just make the move and He’s right there with you to help you accomplish this seemingly impossible task.

‘Is This Your Story? Tell it!’

Andi’s story is all too common. Author Marie L. McKenzie, chronicled her own story of abuse in her memoir Things That Keep Me Up at Night. As a teenager-young adult, I knew Marie. She was so beautifully put together, I would never have imagined the trauma she walked through. This is true about that eye you may look into today. There’s a story behind it. The beauty of it all is the possibility of restoration and purpose despite the pain. Andi found it in Christ – so can you, so can they. If trauma is part of your story today, there’s hope for a better day. Reach out for help if you haven’t yet found peace. If you have, tell your story of restoration to one or to a crowd.

***Glad you stopped by today – Like, share and comment.

Published by Restored Heart

An educator, author, a mom, friend, and a girl who loves that Her heavenly Father loves doing life with her. Passionate about introducing others to the Christ who heals hearts among other things....

10 thoughts on “He Didn’t Protect Me

  1. I know some women who have been through this. They too, have found their freedom in forgiving, but have only been able to because of their relationship with Jesus. This is a beautiful and respectful post that gives all glory to God for being the restorer and healer that He is!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a powerful story of the redemptive power of forgiveness. When we compliment that sister on the beautiful outward appearance remember to look into those eyes. They might tell a different story. There might be tremendous pain and sorrow even bitterness behind the facade. This sister’s story is a reminder that Jesus is the one who sets free those bound up by the lies of the enemy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So true, forgiveness not only makes the perpetrator feel better, but it also does the person who was wronged. Ultimate comfort though is found only in the one who can forgive and comfort all wounds. It’s a serious point you made though, there are many people walking around with all kinds of hurt that they never betray. Glad your friend has made peace with her demons!

    Liked by 1 person

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