Convinced

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 8:38-39

Dirty Old Men and the Scars They Leave Behind

23 Comments

I can still smell his smoke-filled, alcohol-infused breath. I can feel the cactus-like prickles of his beard. One kiss was all he took, but it felt like much more was lost. And it was.

Mr. Piggy, as folks called him, was a scruffy old man, but seemingly harmless. He and his wife owned a makeshift dime store-basically they bought bulk candy and sold it from their kitchen to the neighborhood kids.

I remember the day I skipped down the road, pigtails flying, to buy some candy from Mr. Piggy. Usually there was a gang of us bombarding his back door, spending the change we found under seat cushions or had left over from lunch money. But this day I was alone. As I held out the coins to pay for a Mary Jane and some Dum Dums, Mr. Piggy pulled me to himself, smashed my face into his, and not only took the change, but what he called a kiss. As if to offer a bit of hush money, he placed a couple extra pieces of candy into my hands and told me not to tell anyone. I took the candy, and I didn’t tell anyone. Until now.

Mr. Piggy was a dirty old man. He was nasty, lewd, wicked. What he took from me was much more than a kiss from a little girl. He stole something from me–a bit of innocence, a load of trust, a lot of transparency. Years of guilt followed that 30 second exchange. I should have pulled back. I should have told someone. I should not have taken the hush money/candy. Instead of feeling like a victim, I felt like a participant because I said nothing and did nothing, I felt responsible and dirty.

It was through a tender conversation with my husband that the Lord finally freed me from guilt, shame and fear. As I unfolded my story and shared how dirty I felt for what happened, the Lord used him to uncloud my eyes and help me to see the truth. My experience was real. It was painful. It was haunting. It left scars. It was worse than I realized as a 10 year old, but not as bad as it could have been, and for that, I’m grateful. I know many women and young girls have suffered abuse far greater than what I’ve described here, and I by no means am equating my experience with theirs. My heart grieves for those who have suffered and lived in pain and in secret and in bondage to the sins of others.

God is just. I know He will not leave the guilty unpunished (Exod 34:7). I know He will judge the wicked (Ps 73:1-20). I know God is good and just and allows things to happen according to the counsel of His will and purpose, and for the good of those who love Him. I know that I am not guilty. What happened was not my fault. I understand that I was taken advantage of, and I praise God for freeing me from shame and guilt by exposing the evildoer for who he is.

Abuse comes from all ages and genders, to all ages and genders. None of us are immune to the possibility. Many of us are living with its effects, either through personal experience or through the lives of family and friends who have suffered varying degrees and forms of abuse. If you have been a victim of abuse, it’s not too late to tell someone. It’s not too late to get help. It’s not too late for justice to be done, and God promises that justice will be done (Ps 10).

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
–Psalm 10:17-18

Author: Kristie

I am a North Carolina native (eastern NC barbecue is where it's at!) and graduate of NC State University (Go Wolfpack!) with a degree in history. I am a wife, mother, and homemaker who loves cooking, hospitality, reading, and long walks with my hubby. We live in the beautiful Cayman Islands where my husband, Thabiti serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman. We have been married 21 years and have three children by birth, and several adult “adopted” children that have become a part of our family.

23 thoughts on “Dirty Old Men and the Scars They Leave Behind

  1. Wow, praise God for His grace in keeping you from further harm and for bringing healing through your husband. You’d be surprised how often these sorts of “little” (not!) incidents happen and how much guilt they bring to the offended while the offender feels nothing, it seems.

  2. Kristie, thanks for sharing! I thought I was the only one with an 11 year old untold story…you are doing the right thing. Plzzzz continue to let God use you!!

    Cheryl Wiggins Afifi

  3. OMG…tears flowing as i read this. But i am glad you have finally found the peace and strength to tell this and to free yourself of this hurt.
    The result of what would have happened to him is what made you keep this a secret all these many years. It is what we say Wounds in the Way. Now you can be free. I love you

  4. This took so much courage to write, and I hope many others will see it and be healed by it. So thankful you have Thabiti and God’s love to help you heal. And I’m also happy to see you writing, dear friend!

  5. This is a precious post, Kristie. Thank you for sharing. We are so thankful for you in so many ways.

  6. So many times we put aside and hide the things that are most painful to protect our loved ones. I now know that we share more experiences than we’ve never discussed. I kept my secrets because I loved my father more than any person I’ve ever known, and he would have spent his last days in prison for murder. Regardless of how bad the situation may have been, you have truly been a blessing to me. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Pingback: Beware Dirty Old Men – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile

  8. As one who was once locked in to her own secrets, I’m so grateful for the moment when the story first spilled from your mouth and into safe ears…and for the wise counsel that opens eyes to see things from a Biblical perspective instead of our own. The path from here is much easier…the telling gets smoother…the emotions untangle…the darkness is flooded with light more and more…and you’ll find yourself one day able to be at peace with that sweet girl and all the “shoulda’s” that you bound her up with. There’s nothing quite like having your own daughters to help with that, is there? When you see them at that age, you realize all that was due them…protection, provision, an inheritance…and it makes it so much easier to forgive ourselves when we thought we should have provided it for ourselves. But now we know…we don’t have to…for we have a Father…a good one…who guards us and guides us, who provides and sustains, who has given us Himself as both our guarantee and our inheritance. In this world we will have trouble…and you have had a share…but, Praise be to God, He is our peace. Grateful for you.

  9. Well said Kristie. All I can say is, “well said”. From your heart to many……..D

  10. I was violated as a little girl at the age of 4 by a 10 year old neighbor boy/friend. It is devastating and long term. I realized that I was not at fault when my son was a 4 year old. I looked at him and realized that I was not guilty as a 4 year old, but had previously thought that I was. My husband was not compassionate or tender when I tried to seek counsel from him. But, my Heavenly Father is and He is my comforter and the One who leads me into His truth.

  11. Thank you sister for sharing. Your courage blesses many, me included.

  12. Im wondering how do we help to give children the tools they need to deal witht he things or secrets they are holding so close? How do we keep these wounds to heal and not go with them into their adult lives? Alot of prayer!

  13. Very transparent, thank you for being so truthful. Praying that it ministers to hearts young and old.

  14. I totally can relate. Thank you for your transparency! God Bless.

  15. Pingback: What I Read Online – 11/29/2012 (a.m.) | Emeth Aletheia

  16. I read this a few days ago but am just getting around to commenting. I’m thankful for you! Thankful for your boldness, thankful for your example, thankful for your call to action at the end of the post and your love for others, Kristie. I also loved the Psalm at the end, so appropriate. Joining you in prayer! What an awesome God we serve!

  17. For me, it was my older brother, and I still have never said a thing to anyone except my husband, and I don’t think he understood. I was five years old, and it never progressed beyond inappropriate trust, but has understandably created a rift between my brother and me. I suppose I could share my story, but I choose not to. I’ve moved past it, but I see no point in bringing it up now.

  18. What a courageous post. Thank you. You are a blessing.

  19. Reblogged this on A Man from Issachar and commented:
    Kristie makes a courageous post:

  20. When I was 9 my 14 yr old cousin wrote me a note about my budding breasts. I was so terrified. I threw the note away and never spoke to him or was alone with him again. I also began a preteen-young adult battle with bulimia. I finally told my mom after I got married. My husband is Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve so often prayed for my cousin, his sister, who was also my age, wondering how much she was victimized.

  21. My husband is my rock, is what I didn’t finish typing.

  22. My mom passed this post on to me some time ago. I only just got a chance to read it this morning and feel as though the Lord has let me here today.

    In the last year I, too, have spoken out about the things that happened to me as a child. My violator was someone I trusted; he is a family member. He stole a lot more from me than my trust; he took my innocence, my self-worth and so much more. I can relate to your feelings of personal shame and disgust; the questions and self-reflection on what you may or may not have done to encourage such behaviour; and how you could have reacted differently, during and after.

    Last year I confronted him. I held him accountable. What a relief it was to let that burden go! I am stronger now, more focused, more aware, more in love with myself, scars and all.

    If I may, here is a poem I wrote about my experience. I hope some other woman out there will find peace in my words.

    ________________________________

    Suprise, Surprise, Buster!
    By Nasaria Budal

    How long has it been? Twenty years?
    And yet you still own that space in my head
    Where you moved in so many years ago
    When you forced me down on my childhood bed

    Where you whispered your dirty little thoughts
    And promised you wouldn’t hurt me
    And yet every day and every night I wish the memory away
    I wish I could erase it eternally; I wish myself into anxiety

    I jot my thoughts; drown the noise in my head
    Let Tracey Chapman sing her sad song loudly
    While I will myself from victimization
    And yet you wear your peda-phernalia proudly

    Hiding behind those knowing eyes; those hands;
    That lying smile of safety you once fed my soul
    When you had your way with me
    When you stole my innocence wholly

    And yet here we are, some twenty years later
    And there you are, Buster, still living rent free in my head
    Still invading my most intimate thoughts
    Still invading my dreams and the things I said

    Weaving your way into my everyday life
    Working yourself into the weak spots of my guard
    Establishing new ways to rape my mentality
    But I’m putting up a fight; I’m working so unbelievably hard

    Surprise, surprise, Buster!
    That little girl you broke way back when
    Is now a warrior-woman
    Stronger than ever, ready to fight or fend

    No longer afraid of the things you did
    No longer a victim of your evil
    I refuse to let you live here
    I will do what I have to; I will cause an upheaval

    I will roar! I will scream it from the mountain-tops
    “I am not your victim any longer!
    “I am not your little weakling!
    “Surprise, surprise, Buster. I am stronger!”

    • Nasaria,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and your poem. It expresses boldly the freedom we can have when we deny abusers power over not only our bodies, but our hearts and minds as well. Thank you for your courage in confronting him and holding him accountable for his sin against you. I pray with you that the Lord would grant peace to others who read your testimony through your beautifully written words.

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