“And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.” Leviticus 20:17, KJV
“It never occurred to either of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola’s father had dropped his seeds in his own plot of black dirt. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair.” “The Bluest Eye,” Toni Morrison, 1970
Peace and blessings, y’all.
I am so excited to share my story on this first week in Black History Month, because I love myself, I love my people, I love my culture, I love my heritage. Black is beautiful, no matter what society says today, no matter what history taught in the past.
So Black History Month has started off with quite a bang for me, and I am about to explain why. Last week, a woman by the name of Carolyn Bryant Donham finally broke her silence about a lie she told over 60 years ago that resulted in the death of 14-year-old Emmit Till. A few days later, the parents of the late Trayvon Martin annonced their new book, which chronicles his life and tragic death at the age of 17. A few days after that, I heard a local story about a teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by some boy at her school and then last, but definitely not least, Ms. KeKe Palmer revealed that she had been molested by a 9-year-old, FEMALE cousin when she was only five years old!
All those stories had a tremendous impact on me, but Ms. Palmer’s story resonated with me the most, because something similar happened to me, not once or twice, but several different times, with three different people-two boys, one girl. The most disturbing part in all of that horrific behavior is that we were all children. I was only four or five years old when my teenage relative sexually assaulted me and between the ages of seven and nine when I was touched by children of our family friends. I have never openly discussed what happened to me all those years ago; in fact, I honestly can’t recall if I ever even told my parents, but seeing and hearing KeKe share her story of abuse only further encouraged me to finally speak up about my own secret shame. I know now not to blame myself for the incidents, because I was so young and didn’t fully comprehend what these individuals were actually doing to me, but…
As I do with EVERYTHING in my life, I have prayed to God for a spirit of peace, understanding, patience and forgiveness in regards to my situation. No one, NO ONE, no one likes to talk about the reality and possibility of incest, molestation, child pornography or teen pregnancy. It’s an extremely uncomfortable subject for everyone, but pretending it doesn’t exist won’t prevent it from happening. My parents had no idea that the people they trusted to watch over their children were raising confused, misguided (possibly abused), children of their own. It’s a delicate and difficult situation to deal with for all parties involved, which is a huge reason why I chose to keep the abuse to myself for this long.
I’ve stated in previous posts that I share the events of my life in hopes of helping others deal with their own issues. I’m proud to say that in my life, I have developed a rapport with many different women, and I was saddened, as well as bewildered to discover just how prevalent incest truly was. So many friends and associates have shared similar tales of innocence lost and a betrayal of trust within the family dynamic. It’s not my intent to destroy my own family, I hope that I can help prevent a similar situation in the future. I’m not bitter or angry about what happened to me. I don’t blame my parents or feel like they failed at their job of protecting me from harm. I don’t even have any malice in my heart for the children who abused me. What I have learned in all this is to simply be aware and lean more towards my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I know that there will be a tremendous amount of backlash from this particular post, because in the Black community, a common philosophy shared among families is, “What goes on in this house, stays in this house.” It’s something we are taught very early in life. It’s something that needs to stop. I mean, it’s bad enough to have to process the idea of being molested, but to keep it a secret only makes it worse. If you are dealing with something like this yourself, please be encouraged. You are not alone.
The world is a very wicked place, even more so now than ever before. Each generation has its own unique set of societal issues with which it has to deal. As for me and my peers, well, it’s now our turn to show the world who we are, what we believe in and why. My parents taught me to treat people with dignity and respect, if that’s what I wanted for myself. Sure, tragic events happened during my childhood, but that’s no excuse to project pain and suffering on anyone else. The Bible teaches us to love one another as Christ loved us and at times that may be the most difficult emotion you can conjure up for another human being, especially for people who do you harm; trust me, I know. But if you want to heal emotional wounds, you must master the art of forgiving, or you will never grow emotionally, let alone spiritually. The stairway to heaven may be a struggle to climb, but the eternal reward is more than worth the effort. Until next time…