I remember looking up into this man’s face and could not understand why he was smiling by causing me so much pain as I cried begging him to stop. The innocent 7 year old that I was could not make sense of it. Raping me once was not enough he continued to torture me and raped me again. It only got worse from there and I thought he was killing. The pain was the worst pain I have ever felt. I thought I was dying as I lay there on that bed as he tortured me. He let me live only to discover my underwear full of blood as panic, fear, and confusion filled my young mind thinking I was now going to die. He never laid a hand on me again after age 8 ½ because we moved.
Looking into the eyes of a loved one, someone I looked up to as a brother figure suddenly holding me down on a bed restraining my arms above my head and laughing in my face because all my fighting to get him off me was getting me nowhere. I didn’t understand at 13 what I did to deserve this. I cried and pleaded for him to leave me alone instead I endured 2 ½ hours of him on top of me sticking his fingers and tongue where they never belonged. It felt like the night would never end. It was the last time he ever laid a hand on me 2 years after it began.
If reading that made you angry you’re not alone. Who would not be angry hearing about a child hurt in such a brutal way? These two men forever changed my life. The anger, rage, and hatred I carried for years towards them consumed me and that led me down a very destructive path to self-injury, suicide attempt, and an eating disorder.
Staying angry was only hurting me and nobody else. These men could not feel my anger, rage, bitterness, and hatred I felt towards them and the longer I stayed angry the longer Satan’s wrath consumed me. I was going to bed every night angry at these men for the pain they caused me and wishing terrible things to happen to them. I was overcome by evil and now wishing evil things to happen to them.
“In your anger do not sin “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26
As I continued down this path of anger I continued to follow a self-destructive path as my past continued to haunt me. For every day I stayed angry was another day of my life taken. These men already taken so many days, weeks, months, and years of my life? Why would I give them anymore?
After years I finally discovered I can’t spend another day in anger towards the men that showed me the worst days of my life. I was not going to let Satan take another day of my joy and happiness and courageously forgave both of these men. The dark thoughts wishing terrible things upon these two men changed to peaceful thoughts of God’s grace and protection of these men from Satan’s evil ways. I began asking God to rescue these two lost souls from Satan’s grip on their lives. It was too late for me to be rescued as a child but it wasn’t too late for God to protect them from Satan ever tempting them to hurt another child. I finally accepted I can’t change the past and needed to focus on something I could change….the future.
That is exactly what I have done by shedding light and speaking out against this evil by giving children a voice through an important law called Erin’s Law which requires kids in all public schools to be taught how to speak up and tell if they are ever abused. I won’t allow Satan to continue to inflict this brutal pain on the lives of children killing them of their innocence.
I’ve witness 5 kids in Kansas break their silence for the first time after hearing me speak in their auditorium on Erin’s Law and urge them to speak up if this has happened.
A man who is the director of a hospital in Mississippi heard me say the words as he stood in my audience, “I know there are people in this room who carry the same secret I carried. Let today be the day to break your silence and take back your voice.” After my speech this man approached me with tears in his eyes and said, “Thank you so much for your courage. I am one of those people who has to break their silence. You’re the first person I am telling my own wife does not know. I’m too ashamed,” as tears fell from his eyes and I just stood there hugging a man old enough to be my father.” He was the principal of my school and had such authority over me and told me because he was the principal nobody would believe me.”
I’ve had legislators break down and tell their own stories of abuse after hearing me testify. I’ve had mothers call me thanking me for giving their child a voice after speaking in their school. I’ve stood hugging and consoling so many grown men and women in tears thanking me for my courage, strength, and being a voice for the child they once were. I’ve witnessed so many people walk away from hearing me speak or finish reading a book I wrote and tell me you showed me what I need to do, I need to forgive. Forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself. It brings you freedom, peace, and joy back into your life. You set yourself free when you do it. You’re holding yourself prisoner inside without it.
God tells us in Romans “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Had I not made the choice to forgive I would still most likely be taking a destructive path of razor blades to my wrists, starving myself, battling dark thoughts of wanting to end my life, and wishing for terrible things to happen to two men who showed me evil exists. Instead I overcame evil, forgave, and now protecting the future by giving children the voice I never had. I’ve escaped Satan’s tight grip he had on my life. I’ve overcome the evil he exposed me to and turned it into something good and I pray every Sunday for the two men he used to show me that evil. For I have no hatred in my heart for them.
Are you going to continue to focus on a past you cannot change? Are you going to continue to give away another day of your life to anger, bitterness, and hatred? Are you going to let Satan have a grip on your life pulling you into a life filled with self-destructive behavior, pain, and anger or are you going to listen to what God is saying and discover his amazing grace he blesses you with when you do? The choice is yours.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27-36
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21
“In your anger do not sin “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”- Ephesians 4:26
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