God set that up.

I have had many people say, ” How can God let this happen…Where was God?”

God has always been present in my life.

Why did he let this happen? I don’t know.

Why does he let people suffer? I don’t know.

I DO know there was one time when the ski coach was abusing me and his wife came home from work. I have no idea what would have happened had she not come home. When I was in CostaRica and a man was abusing me, someone came in and interrupted it so it stopped. The abuse was stopped. God set that up!

I DO know there have been many people who showed up at just the right time that I needed and I credit God for that.

When I was sent to a mental hospital after attempting suicide…that was a scary place to go. I walked in while everyone was having lunch. I got my lunch tray and sat down. No one said a word to me. Then came Zack. Sat right across from me. We had an instant connection. He helped me through the stay at that hospital. On a particularly bad day he held my hand and let me rest my head on his shoulder He made me feel like everything would be OK. We remained friends after for some time. Then we lost contact. I recently saw him on the internet. Apparently he went on to be a famous chef and photographer! I smile everytime I think of him. I am SURE God sent him to me at that time. God set that up!

About 20 years ago I was feeling lost again. I was friends with this great guy at the time. I drove to the park and sat there in the middle of the night praying God would help guide me. Up drove the great guy, in the middle of the night, to the park. He got out of his car and walked up to me and hugged me. I cannot explain it any other way. But God brought my husband to me that night. God set that up!

When I attempted suicide, God brought  Greg to save me.

When I was feeling hopeless and alone, God brought me TJ to be my life long friend.

When I needed someone who really understood, God sent me Laura.

My daughter became sick almost 2 years ago. She needed a homebound teacher. A teacher from the school volunteered. She not only taught my daughter but became an inspirational and empathetic loving person in her life. I know God set that up!

When I was at one of my all time lows, God brought me Patti.

Some of these people are still in my life. Some came for that moment and moved on in their life. I think certain people may be meant for certain times. Instead of feeling upset that a friendship just didn’t work out I like to think that they had a purpose at that time and now that purpose is complete.

When someone wants to know why I think God has let me suffer, I don’t answer their question. It is OK to not always answer people’s questions.They may be putting their question on you when it has to do with them. It is really not a question someone else should be asking. If they are concerned about God’s purpose then they need to apply that to themself and work through those issues without putting it on you. If you want to ask, why did God let me suffer, then that is completely different. I see nothing wrong with asking big questions. I talk to God all the time about everything.  Instead of questioning God though I choose to reword it. ” I am not happy that I am suffering, but I know you are there.” That makes me feel a lot better than, ” Why are you doing this to me God?”

We all have our own spirituality. We may have different religions. We may have different beliefs all together.

I am sure if someone I loved were abused or raped I would be pretty mad that God didn’t stop it. Just like there are those mad that there is hunger, or there are atrocities beyond comprehension. I’ve heard people say, ” How can God let a child die of hunger?”

But I would rather be mad at the man that did the abusing instead of God. I would rather be mad at the world that allows a child to die of hunger.

I would rather save my mad for the individuals that could have prevented the bad. I don’t blame God for bad.I don’t want to use my time here on earth being mad at God.

I choose to save blaming God for all the good. And that is just me. I don’t want to push my beliefs on anyone or expect anyone to see things the way I do. I am just sharing how I feel.

I would rather see God in all of the friends He has brought to my life just when I needed them. I saw God in the birth of my child. I saw God in the embrace from my husband last night. I saw God when my mother in law looked at her son lovingly yesterday on his birthday.

I see God in the good and I thank him for that.

I don’t believe He causes us to suffer. I certainly wish He could stop it. I don’t claim to understand how things work.

I have an open conversation with Him about everything. Some days I tell Him I am mad that He hasn’t fixed my daughter’s illness. But then I pray He sends us to the right people that will. I don’t blame Him for her being ill but I have been mad that He didn’t fix it!

I think it is OK to be mad. It is OK to be angry that we have suffered. That any of us suffer.

But for me, I’m just glad that while I cannot always control the circumstance, I can choose to reach out to God and allow Him to help me through the healing.

Recovering from sexual abuse is a process. In recovering, seeing the good, is seeing God. Even if it is the smallest of small things, If in that moment it made me feel hopeful, I know God set that up.



I grew up in a small town on a lake with my mother, father and twin brother.   Across the lake lived my “Nana.” My father worked and my mother stayed home with us.  Every Wednesday my parents had choir practice and we spent the evening with Nana.  I vaguely remember the sweetness of being carried out to the car then put into bed by my dad after they got home.  We were supposed to fall asleep at Nana’s but we always tried to stay awake to see what she was watching on TV.  We would crack the door to the bedroom and think we were so smart.  One Wednesday she moved her rocking chair over.  She never said a word, but we knew we were caught and soon after just fell asleep.  Every Sunday we sat on the back pew at church with Nana while my parents sang in the church choir.  I loved sitting with her because we doodled notes back and forth and she always had a mint to suck on.  It’s the little things!  I loved those mints!  Most weekends we waterskied.  We were also part of a music theater where we performed Gilbert and Sullivan productions.  When we weren’t skiing or performing theater we spent a lot of our time with Nana.  She had an Easter egg hunt every year at her house and we always went to her house on Christmas mornings.  The picnics she made for us were too many to count.  She made the best ham sandwiches with pickles and boiled eggs.  I loved that.  After we would swim in the lake.  She always warmed a towel in the dryer for us to wrap up in.

My mom was always there when we got out of school and when my dad got home from work we often went down and swam in the lake.  Growing up, our house was where all the kids came.  My mom took in stray animals and stray kids.  We always had a lost kitten or a mangy dog that my mom had to nurse back to health.  Any child who didn’t have loving parents typically ended up at our house after school eating my mom’s lemon bars and watching movies.  She never turned any of our friends away.  She would let them in any time day or night.

I don’t ever remember being spanked.  I’m pretty sure I never was. My parents were very loving and taught us great values.  They never argued.  I rarely remember a cuss word out of either of their mouths.  And Nana was pretty much always there.  I adored my Nana.  She had a quiet way about her. She was very strong, yet I still remember her sitting at the table staring out over the lake quietly.

My granddaddy passed away when I was 7.  But not before he taught me how to fish properly!  He had a little jon boat with a trolling motor. When Nana was staring at the lake, I often thought that she was thinking of him.  She never remarried.  She was a school teacher and after school she spent all her time with us.

My Nana also took in those in need.  She had a few young people living with her that needed a place to stay.  I was surrounded by a very caring and empathetic family when I was a little girl.  I remember dancing with my dad in the living room, putting up massive Christmas trees every year, and sitting at the picnic table by the water eating watermelon.  I have wonderful memories.

My childhood was full of love.  My family loved me.  I felt loved.  I have absolutely no doubt my parents gave me the best upbringing that they could.  They had us involved in sports, ballet and theater.

So, I was loved.  I had parents and grandparents who loved me my entire childhood.  Nothing takes that away.  Nothing takes away the thousands of beautiful memories that I have.   My dad singing happy birthday to Jesus on the way to Nana’s house Christmas morning, my mom taking care of me when I was sick and my Nana bringing me flowers after I had surgery.  I remember it all.

I was very young when the sexual abuse started.  It started with a trusted friend of the family; Someone we were around every weekend; Someone that no one would have ever thought twice would be a child molester.  Everyone loved him.  He and countless others abused me throughout my childhood and teenage years.

Part of my story is that abuse.  It’s about how that abuse happened.  It’s how that abuse affected me.  It’s about the chain of events after the abuse.  My entire story needs to be told.  The bad and the good.

I am in the middle of my story now.

I have an amazing daughter.  I have tried to give my daughter the good experiences that my family gave me.  I have taken her to ballet. We have taken care of rescued animals.  And I have raised her gently and lovingly.  My daughter knows she is loved. She is the joy of my life.  And my daughter brought all the joy back to my life.

I have an incredible husband.  I like to say my husband saved me.  My husband has honor, something you don’t see much anymore.  My daughter has been taught that and shows it every day. She stands up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.  She is honest and true to herself and others.  She genuinely cares about every single living creature on this earth.  Blessed.  I am truly and completely blessed having these two to share my life. I could write for days about both of them.

The intention of my story is to help others who have been sexually abused.  I want to share the details of the abuse that I endured so that no one feels they have gone through this alone.  I want to share both my successes and my failures.  I want to share the raw secrets of my past and how I have coped and survived.  I want to share all of my feelings and all of my struggles.

My story began with love.  After you read the details of the abuse you will see that there has been much turmoil and loss.

Abuse can take a lot away from you.  It can take away parts of yourself, your family, your friends and sometimes, temporarily, your faith.

But in the end it is what you do with these experiences in your life.  I am sharing mine with you.

I don’t know what is yet to come, but my story is not over yet.



Stepping into the light.

It is hard to not be afraid of the dark when there is so much darkness around us.

So many people are playing in this masquerade. So many masks. So much illusion. So much darkness.

There is an even more powerful light. We just have to step in to it.

It is hard as an adult to see the truth in people. I think children can see people for who they are at heart but their instinct is often so shaded by the rules society puts on them that they lose the ability to really see.

I watch little children. They see the beauty. When they see something scary they hide. But often mother pushes them out and says, ” Say hi to Bob!” As the days go by it is harder and harder to see people for who they really are. Most people spend so many years becoming what they know others want them to be. They become what they think they need to be to succeed that we cannot see them for who they really are because THEY don’t even know who they truly are.

The truth becomes harder and harder to see in people and their true colors become so muted that they become gray.

You can only step in to the light and stay in the light if you live in your truth. And when you are living your truth, in the light, you will be able to see the true colors of others.

One day, when I was a child, everyone turned gray. My best girl friend trapped me in the closet and she touched me in appropriately. She was a girl. She was my best friend. She wasn’t supposed to be the darkness..  She was this vibrant colorful girl who I ran with and played with every day. But that day she turned everyone gray. Because if a girl could hurt me like a man could then I was no longer safe anywhere. So the world became gray.I remember laying there in my closet and she ran off and pretended like nothing happened and I looked outside and saw darkness. The world became scary. Everything was unknown to me now. Nothing was safe.  She blurred everything so much that I had no idea from that point on who and who could not be trusted. And it didn’t really matter. The color was gone. My childhood was over.

She and I stayed friends until a few years ago. I tried to make her colorful again as an adult but when you become gray it is hard to become colorful again. You have to have a real inner light and I don’t think she had that. Most people think she does. She is like many masquerading around that have these great outgoing bubbly personalities so you THINK they are the light and they draw you in. If you let those people who have hurt you to stay in your life they will certainly take the color out of your life bit by bit. Someone that has hurt you in the past that you continue to allow in your life will most certainly cast a shadow. Sometimes the most outgoing are the most inner gray. You have to stay away from gray. They will suck the light out of you.

Having my life filled with color means saying goodbye to certain people.

If you were abused you fought to come back. you fought to find joy and to find strength again. It is not worth all that fight to become sedentary with your family or friendships now. You have to be vigilant and true to yourself. Being true to yourself means not letting anyone steal your joy. I let this friend who hurt me as a child remain in my life. That was a mistake. But as a child I didn’t know any better. I think it is important as an adult to sit yourself down as an adult and evaluate each person that is in your life.

I often think of Joan. She was a child development teacher that I had who was as much a healer as she was a teacher. She told us that you never put an adult issue on a child. Children need to be children. They don’t need to even think about issues that adults are dealing with. Let them be children. In her class I realized that I really didn’t get to be a child for very long.

I was so used to being abused by men as a child that I became accustomed to it. I hate to use the word enemy but I think as a child I just viewed them as that. So I started to be not so surprised when a man inappropriately touched me. I started to just go “oh…right” in my mind. How awful is that! None of those things should have ever happened. Not one, not two, not the countless times. When I was in Joan’s class we often had children come in that we would do art lessons with. I remember their paintings and how we were not supposed to say, ” That is a nice house”, but instead, “I love the colors you used, can you tell me about your picture?” The children would light up and talk all about their pictures. I look back at all these bits and pieces of moments in my life and think, ” I wish my childhood was just like Joan’s class”. Where the children could be just children. They had a safe place to just be. I wish I could have been a child in Joan’s class and drawn the pain that I was feeling and have someone ask me what my picture meant.I wished someone noticed the colors I would have painted and had me reflect on them. AND coincidentally Joan had us paint. I remember my picture. It was painted by me as a child but I was an adult. It was totally black and gray with a red streak down it. Joan asked me if I wanted to talk about the colors I put in that picture. It was so incredibly validating. I wasn’t ready to talk about the colors yet though. I haven’t talked about them until right now today.

I have rejoiced every year that my daughter has made it past the time I was abused. When she was 13 I thought,  ” Thank you God she made it through this year and nothing happened”. If you have a child, and you have been abused, you know exactly what I am talking about. Each year that she turned an age that I experienced abuse, I remembered that abuse and thanked God that she had made it through yet another year without experiencing it. It is exhausting to put yourself through. This fear and relief as the years go by and your child has made it through a time you barely escaped. And that my friends is me putting a shadow on myself. It is that piece of the past that still has a hold.

You can step away from the unhealthy people. You can step away from those who bring back memories. You can step away from your enemies and those who have hurt you. But you have to also choose to live in the now. Only by living in the now can you step away from all the shadows, all the gray, and step into the light. Worrying every day that something could happen to your child is not healthy. Rejoicing each year that nothing has happened is not healthy. It is living with a shadow of the past constantly on you. You can change the thought,  ” Thank heavens my child didn’t have anything happen to her like I had at this age, ” to ” Thank heavens my daughter had a beautiful year!” You can change the date your child turns 15 from thinking, ” Thank heavens she didn’t have what happen to her at 15 the same that happened to me at 15″ to ” Thank heavens my daughter is a happy 15 year old girl” Her joy does not have to be in a shadow of a memory of me at that age. Because if it is then really everything is still a little bit gray. And I don’t want any gray in my life. I want my daughter’s joy to be her own. I don’t want to continue to remember my past as she continues to create her future.

The colors of my life are magnificent. The gray has no place here anymore.

I want each day from now on to be it’s own.

The past is there. The memories are there. The darkness was there.

But I will choose now to step into the light.

The topic that no one talks about, Sex after abuse.

An anchor is defined as two things: 1. A heavy device that is attached to a boat or ship by a rope or chain and that is thrown into the water to hold the boat or ship in place. 2.: A person or thing that provides strength and support.

In my mind that means an anchor can either be a weight or a strength.

After sexual abuse you need an anchor. But that anchor needs to be of strength and support. We don’t need something that weighs us down we need something that will support us, ground us, so that we can then be lifted up.

A good loving anchor will allow you to soar.

Herein lies the hard question that no one wants to talk about. How do we become intimate again after something that is supposed to be beautiful becomes a nightmare? How can a nightmare become a dream again? The anchor has a lot to do with it.

So we seek out a person, a love, that we can share intimacy with. But it is very important that that person becomes a support in our life, not a weight. The last thing that we need is another weight. The weight of sexual abuse alone is enough. It is something we all strive to lighten as we go through life. The wrong person can bring all the weight back of the sexual abuse  and sink you to the bottom of the ocean.

Some of us put pressure on ourselves if we are already in a relationship or married. We think we owe our significant other that intimacy, or sex, to make them feel like everything can be back to normal. We want them to feel better so they think we are better. In doing that we sacrifice our own healing process. Until you are absolutely ready you should not force or push yourself into sex.

I will be less vague. A woman who has been raped should not be expected in any specified time frame to have sex with her significant other. And that really goes for the rest of your life. I could be married for 18 years. I have been married for 18 years! And if I am having a moment of a flashback or something just doesn’t feel right, I always stop. I stop because my body deserves for me to honor it. I will always stop if it does not feel right. And my husband will always and has always respected that.

I chose to marry a man who has never pushed me to have sex. I chose someone to be an anchor of support and strength and THAT is how I have healed, so that I can have sex without feeling violated. After rape = feeling violated, so it is hard for sex to then  = warm fuzzy feeling. It is not always the spouse’ fault that we may feel that way, but it is certainly their position as a spouse to respect our feelings at all times, and stop when we feel we cannot do it. We must be honest.

I will be brutally honest. Having sex with your spouse is supposed to be full of love, joy, bliss, bonding, and happy. But that sexual experience that is supposed to be beautiful, caused pain when I was molested. It caused suffering. It caused traumatic memory. And as much as therapy, self talk and healing can happen, having sex again can be a very very hard thing to do.

For healing to take place, so that you can have healthy happy sexual experiences again, you have to establish ground rules. Things need to be on your terms. At any time stopping must be an option. And you have to talk about all of these things. The worse thing you can do is to force yourself to do something you are not ready to do. If you think that you can just do it over and over again and it will get easier, then it will never be what it is meant to be. Pretending will not work after sexual abuse. Pretending with your spouse will not allow you to grow or heal. It will just bury feelings and pain. All things buried, fester. They do not heal. They result in resentment towards your loved one. You will end up hating them in the end. But they may not even know. So you HAVE to tell them! You have to tell them what is OK and what is not OK. When it is OK and when it is not OK. And they have to be able to be patient and understanding through the process.

I told my husband exactly what I do not like. I told him certain triggers that will bring up memories. I have told him what I needed to heal. And he listened. And because he listened I am able to have a wonderful relationship in all aspects.

Please do not settle. You deserve someone who will wait, do whatever makes you feel comfortable, and always always stop at any time you feel you cannot at that moment continue.

I have read books and had therapy and no one has ever to my knowledge discussed sex after rape or being attacked or being molested. It is a very confusing and complicated subject. It is also very personal and can be very embarrassing. But so often I have heard a woman say that she just does it. She thinks that he will leave her if she doesn’t. That infuriates me.This topic must be discussed.

Any man who would leave a woman because he could not have sex with her after she was raped is not a man you need to be with. Any man who puts a time limit on how long it should take you to be ready to have sex again is not a man you need to be with. 

Any man who puts his sexual needs above your sexual trauma is not a man you need to be with.

To heal, to be able to enjoy your own sexuality again, you must be with only one kind of anchor. Not one that weighs you down. You must be with one who supports you. My husband is my anchor. Because of him I have healed on so many levels. On my own terms. In my own time. If someone is your real anchor they will honor you, cherish you, and always put your healing above their own sexual needs. My husband has always honored me. Every day of every moment we have been married.

Don’t settle for any less than that. I still have flashbacks. I still have things that come out of the blue and stop me in my tracks. I get this tight feeling in my stomach and want to curl up in a ball. Sometimes I will just smell a smell that will remind me and I will freeze for a period of time before I snap back in to the present. It happens. Traumatic events may leave you with these and other PTSD symptoms. I always respect that moment. I remind myself I am not there any more. I remind myself I am safe and loved. Most of all I respect my body. I would not ignore those feelings and push through them in hopes that somehow a forced good moment will take away that bad moment.

That nightmare cannot be turned into a dream. You have to first wake up from the nightmare. Snap out of the bad memory. And then work towards making the dream again. I know at first you don’t think that you will be able to feel something good again. Its hard to imagine something feeling good after it has caused such suffering.  There have been times when I hoped I would never have to have sex again.. .But what an injustice that would be. A criminal should not have the power to take away your joy indefinitely. A rapist should not be able to take away your ability to enjoy what is meant to be enjoyed with someone you love. I will not let the men that abused me win. By giving up on the ability to have a healthy sexual relationship with the man I love,  would be letting the criminal win. We can’t let them win.

The dream is possible. It can happen. It will happen. The nightmare does not have to take away the ability to dream. It does take time. And it takes someone who truly loves you. But all things are possible. So don’t give up, and remember, you deserve to feel good again. You deserve to feel loved. Your body deserves to be respected. You get to demand that respect, and make having sex again something that is on your terms.