God, have you forsaken me?

Dedication: I would like to dedicate this story to anyone who has lost themselves to the streets or to drugs. If you feel overwhelmed by your family or if they don’t understand you or the hurt you’re going through. Don’t go through it alone. God may not be someone you can call on the phone or stop by the house and talk to but he hears you when you cry. I’m a believer. I’ve been there, yelling at the air demanding him to answer me. And he did in his own way. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Even family can be an enemy. Find someone who you can trust. Be blessed.

Trigger warning: Before reading this post, please be aware that it contains descriptions of childhood sexual assault and rape.

My story is very long and it comes in traumatic waves. I have overcome so much in my 55 years of life, but the one thing I feel that have given me the most joy and passion to overcome is being molested.

I was born in a small community called White Oak in Lake City, South Carolina in 1968. I had a younger brother at the time. My mom gave birth to us out of wedlock and during that time it was frowned upon so we lived with our grandmother. It was around my 6th birthday when my mother came back into our lives and wanted to take us to Florida to find a better life. That 3 day trip was the worst thing that ever happened to me.

My mom had just had another baby, a little girl, about 5 months old and was with her father. The plan was to make the trip to Naples, Florida by vehicles along with my mother’s cousin and his wife and their three kids which included a little girl, a 14 year old boy and an 18 year old son. The wife and daughter rode in a car filled with their belongings and our cousin drove a pickup truck with a canvas on the back filled with clothes, me, my brother and the two brothers while my mother, little sister and her dad were in the truck.

I can’t remember when it started. I don’t know how no one didn’t notice it was happening, but my 18 year old cousin started touching me inappropriately. He fingered me for what seemed like forever. He wouldn’t let me go far from him. I wanted to play with my brother but he kept me close to him. At some point, he tried to penetrate me be I cried out and he covered my mouth. He proceeded to use more fingers to widened me, but he was hurting me. He said if I tell anyone he would hurt my brother. That was my best friend. My little playmate. I couldn’t see him hurting him in the manner he was hurting me. I promised not to tell. He continued his sickness on me. As it was getting dark he would make me suck his privates. I don’t know what day it was but he finally penetrated me. With his hand over my mouth and the sweat dropping off his head from the heat of being inside the back of that truck, he penetrated me.

Days passed by. We were getting settled into our new apartment in Naples when my mom was play talking for my sister. In a baby voice she was talking about how she had a little boyfriend at her daycare. My brother said I had a boyfriend too. My mother asked him who and he told her it was our cousin. I didn’t know my brother even knew what was going on but then I remembered our cousin telling him and his brother that we were playing boyfriend and girlfriend and I was his girlfriend on the back of the truck. My mother grabbed me, turned me on my back and checked me between my legs and then she beat the crap out of me. I didn’t know what to think. Was I wrong? Was I right? She kept calling me a Bitch. I was 6 years old. I didn’t know what that was. Her boyfriend came home sometime later and he beat me too. They took me next door to our cousins apartment and asked him about what happened and his dad slapped him in his face.

For a very long time I lived my life as if I was wrong for letting that secret get out. I promised to keep it and look what happened. Men were supposed to do this to girls and we as girls and women were supposed to be quiet. I was wounded mentally and emotionally. I allowed men to use me to the point that I got sexually transmitted diseases. I was never able to have children because of what happened to me. Blaming myself was all I did for a very long time.

Fast forward to 1999: I buried my past for awhile because I had just adopt a little boy. My husband wanted me and to let it go and focus on our son. I knew that the good times wasn’t going to last for long. I knew me. I was very insecure and I didn’t know that I also suffered from abandonment syndrome. It stemmed from my mother. It was time to revisit my past.

One day, I sat down and recorded a full audio cassette tape to my mom about everything. I wanted to let her know how I felt about being beaten by her and her boyfriend for something I didn’t do or had no control over. I let her know that I was seeing a therapist for my insecurities in my relationship with my husband because she was never present like a real mother in my life and I let her know that I will not be in her life until she apologized for everything she put me through. What I got in return was tears and crying and how could I do this to her. There are 3 other siblings by this time and they were all on her side because she cried. I was told that I went about it the wrong way so I shut them all out of my life.

2003: My husband died about a year ago at this point. My son and I bought a home and my mom came to from North Carolina to South Carolina to visit us. No one spoke about the tape. I was grieving for my husband and my health was not as good as it should be. I needed my mom to just be there for me and nothing else. I was loosing a lot of weight. In 5 months I lost over 150 pounds and I wasn’t trying. During a routine checkup, my blood count was low enough to put me in the hospital for a transfusion. My mom was by my side. She decided to stay in South Carolina to keep an eye on me. The worst was far from over.

A few months later, after the weight was still falling off with no clear indication, my doctor decided to run one more test. Within three days I was called into his office and told that I was hiv positive. My life flashed before my eyes. Everything that I’ve been through. Everything that I’ve put myself through. The suspicion that my husband was sleeping with men. I overlooked it because I just wanted him to love me. I yelled out at God. He had forsaken me?I know I was no saint but how could he lead me this far away from the light that I can’t see see my way back?

Something happened that day. I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but that day he touched me. He let me know that he has never left me alone. He will be with me through every step of the way. I was looking for someone to blame for all the bad things that happened in my life but I realized that God knows all and sees all. I wanted someone to say “I’m sorry “. God said it. He wanted me to understand that sometimes things happen to people to test our strength and he wanted me to know that I am stronger than I could ever imagine. I don’t need my mother to say anything to me. She had her own cross to carry. I’m stronger today because God found me crying for him. He was the only one that could rescue me…..from me.

Today, I am married to a fantastic man. I’ve adopted a nephew when he was 4 and he is 21 years old now and the best kid ever. I’m a grandmother of three and we have a chihuahua named Maddie. I love life and I can look back at my past and feel proud. Most children don’t live through that experience, but I did. God was with me. He didn’t change my circumstances but he changed my outcome and my outlook on life. It means so much more to me with the God’s grace and mercy.
Photo credit: Images provided by the storyteller.

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Evie McAfee

I’m stronger than I thought I was. No weapons formed against shall prosper. There’s a lot of storms in my life and that’s alright. My enemies don’t like water. I love the Lord. I will claim him in the presence of man. The is the author of my life.