Where do I start ……. well, at the beginning I guess! After my birth, my father basically walked out on my mother and me (they were not married), and in the process of growing up, I spent most of my time with my grandmother. Therefore, as a young boy, I had no experience whatsoever of a father.
At the age of four, I was sexually abused by my mother’s boyfriend. This abuse went on for quite a few years. The first time it happened, I was overwhelmed with fright and there are no adequate words to describe the pain that I felt. Something inside of me died. It was as if a part of my life had been stolen and I convinced myself that I would just have to try and forget that this terrible thing had ever happened to me. I always questioned why this devastation had been allowed to enter my life and it was always on my mind.
At the same time that this was happening to me, I discovered that this man was also sexually abusing his daughter, my half-sister. For many years I blamed and despised myself for allowing this to happen without taking any action on her behalf.
Well, if only this could have been the end of the story but no, sadly, it is only the beginning. At the age of eight, I was gang raped by six older boys who were supposed to have been my friends. By this time my whole life was just one big mess. There was nothing more to live for and I found myself unable to share with anybody the shocking circumstances surrounding my life. And so I started to live in a world of my own. A world in which I had to protect myself from the things that were too fearful for an eight-year-old to deal with.
In a very real way my childhood was stolen from me.
Protecting myself, sadly didn’t work out too well as my mother and grandmother had an argument which resulted in my mother moving into a place of her own and we had to go with her. By this time she had found a new boyfriend and we all went to stay with his family. Here the nightmare continues. Sometimes I felt as if the words ‘abuse me’ were written on my forehead, as the cycle seemed to know no end. Not only did my mother’s new boyfriend abuse me, so did his brother.
I began to show the signs of being an extremely disturbed child and my mother had no idea how to cope with the situation. She started to beat me and I ended up by developing an intense hatred for her. I tried so hard to forget all the things that had happened to me but with no success because the scars were by now too deeply imprinted on my soul.
Eventually, at the age of twelve, I was able to return to my grandmother’s home where I imagined that I would at last be safe, but yet again I was loosed into a new chapter of abuse.
In this instance the perpetrator was my own uncle. I felt utterly dirty and defiled but totally unable to share these dark secrets with my grandmother. I was not even safe in school where one of my fellow students also took advantage of me.
Eventually I became so used to this lifestyle that it no longer worried me, in fact there were times when I would actually go out and look for and initiate sexual activity with others. I became extremely sexually active and fully embraced the homosexual lifestyle. There was no-one that I could turn to for help and my perception of God was of someone who didn’t care any way or he would never have allowed such devastation to enter into my life.
Deep down inside I was totally broken and unable to sleep at night. Sometimes I wept endlessly – there was so much pain in my heart. I began to go to church, desperate for anything to ease my agony of soul. I experimented with alcohol, dagga and mandrax but none of these things succeeded in filling this huge gaping hole inside of me.
I kept on going to church and eventually was counselled and guided into making the decision of committing my life to Jesus Christ. This brought considerable change and new meaning into my life and at first I thought that I would not have to deal with the trauma of my past. I thought that it would all disappear. But I soon came to realise that I needed help and prayed that God would lead me to someone who would understand my struggles and be able to help me experience Christ’s healing in the areas of my woundedness.
At this stage God led me to an advertisement in a magazine and I felt prompted to make an appointment and go for counselling. This was the beginning of my healing process. I was able to share my pain and the things that had happened to me for the very first time in my life. I was able to be ministered to and receive love and affirmation from a man within a framework of total safety. Also, for the very first time in my life, I was able to experience a taste of true ‘father love’ through this gentle, loving man of God who modelled to me the Father’s unconditional, faithful love.
Over a period of time, through prayer and godly counsel, my life has been transformed from purely existing in ‘survival mode’ to experiencing ‘abundant life’ and, I know that it is a journey, but nevertheless, I am endlessly grateful for having been rescued from a lifestyle of recurring abuse and heartache. For the very first time, I have hope.
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