Sexual Abuse: Living a Lie and Finding the Light
Guest Author: Fee Rocha
This is the second part to my article ‘Secrets in the dark”
It is amazing how we can live a lie for so many years. It can even be a lie by omission. That is the kind of life that I lived, and it became a comfortable and familiar, but deep inside I held a secret, a secret that polluted everything that I did, all of the decisions that I made and even how I saw the world around me. I had been molested almost all of my childhood. As an adult, I feared that the light would be shined on the terrible stain, the terrible sin that I felt was all mine.
Even on the day that I accepted the Gospel and was baptized I could still not believe that I was forgiven of …shhhh…‘that’. I wanted to be forgiven! Of course I know now that when we are immersed into Jesus’ death we are washed clean (completely clean!) “’Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16). I wanted to erase the memories and the feelings still attached to the abuse, but for many years I continued in silence.
The day that I told my husband my deep and dark secret I fully expected that he would leave me, that he would see how disgusting and sinful that I was! Surely he would not want to have me in his life if he saw the real me, the Fee that I knew lived under all of those lies. My husband amazed me with his reaction. He was angry for me, he was gentle and tender towards me. He asked if I was okay, wanted to know what he could do for me to help me deal with it. He didn’t walk away like I thought he would, he wanted to stay, to love me, to fight for me! As I look back, I believe that that was the first time I caught a glimpse as how God loves us. He loves us, even when we are at our worse, even when we are at our lowest. For me, that moment came when the floodlights were shined on my abuse. I was a like a deer in the floodlights.
Three years ago I received a phone call that changed my life forever. I was sitting with my child at the dentist office when the call came in. I let it go to voicemail, but curiosity won out, I listened to the voicemail and the familiar taste of vile came to my mouth, my heart found it’s was into my stomach. “This is Detective Sizemore of the Dos Palos Police Department. We need to speak to you about your father and an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.”
When I called them back I was sitting with my husband in our living room in Nebraska. I shaking and frightened, but I was not alone. Not only was my husband there, but I had God with me and He gave me strength that I did not know I possessed. That day I spoke boldly of events and memories that I had not give a voice to in over 25 years. While the tears poured down my face, and the emotions coursed violently through my mind, I felt as though I was pointing at the devil and calling him out. That day I gave a voice to the child that was without a voice for so many years.
The police issued a warrant for his arrest, but he fled from the country. He got away both physically and legally with the crime. He is a wanted man living outside of the country. I was angry! I felt let down, but I know God, and I know that we serve a just God. I do not wish vengeance on my dad, but I know that he will get the wages of his sin that he has earned. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:3).
After my dad went on the run, I thought that the ordeal was over, that I would go back to ‘normal’. In my mind the time that had passed, all of those years of silence were enough to fix what had happened. But I was wrong, dead wrong. I began to have regular panic attacks; days where it was hard to get out of bed, hard to muster the strength to be a mom, wife, human being. The hardest part was that I became paranoid, sure that everyone and everything was suspect. I doubted my ability to keep my kids safe. What if someone was molesting them and I didn’t know it? What if I couldn’t see it because of my own story? What if my husband was doing it? What if my neighbor was doing it? What if I ended up doing it? Was I a pedophile?
My paranoia drove me into the office of a mental health counselor and I poured out my story, my fears, and my soul to her. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in response to my abuse. The real work began that day, almost two years from the date of writing this article. My therapist and I choose to work with EMDR and the progress has been fantastic! The villain, my dad, is not essential to the story of my healing, you see, the story of my healing has to do with my heart, my mind, and my willingness to seek help. I am not done with therapy; it is a blessing that it is accessible where I live. I can not imagine what my life would be if I hadn’t sought help. I was so afraid of being judged and considered ‘crazy’ by others, but since I became vocal about seeking help I heard from more and more people that said that they have sought help too. The stigma is dying out, praise God!
I am no longer living a lie, neither by omission nor outright. I live in the truth that God offers, basking in His light. My prayer for you is that you can too! If you are struggling it’s time to seek help. God is waiting to shine on you, too!