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Let me start by saying this was not the diary I planned on writing today. I actually have some really big news to share with all of you, about what my dear friend Roxine and I have been working on for the past couple months. Not to brag, but it's kind of amazing. I can't wait to show all of you guys what we have done, and hopefully have you be a part of it too.

But I'm going to have to hold off on that for just a minute, because yesterday afternoon I found this lovely little nugget sitting in my inbox:

How to Respond to Sexual Abuse: Incest and Molestation


By CBN.com

CBN.com – The sin of incest is sexual intercourse between close family members other than husband and wife, whether involving two adults or an older and a younger family member. It is a crime of perverse sexual behavior.

Molestation is the sexual abuse of a younger, underage person by a family member or any older person. Obvious examples are adult-adolescent or parent-child sexual activity. The legal age of consent is normally considered in determining whether an act is one of molestation.

Biblically, any sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful behavior.

If You Were Abused

Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience, but it doesn't have to ruin your life. You may feel guilty because you consented to incest or allowed yourself to be molested. Or perhaps you and/or the abuser were Christians when the sin took place. Nevertheless, God will forgive you.

Many who have been willing or unwilling victims of incest or molestation have memories which deny them the freedom to live without hate, bitterness and resentment, fear and/or a desire for revenge. Yet you can be free and even find forgiveness for the abuser in your heart. Jesus and Stephen, at the time of their deaths, were both able to forgive those who executed them. Both looked to heaven and asked God to forgive the sins of those who were guilty. If you are a Christian, you have authority and influence with God concerning remittance of sin or retention of sin (John 20:23). God will listen to your prayer. Just remember that Jesus came to forgive rather than to condemn (John 3:16).

To feel truly free, it is important that you forgive your abuser. Holding on to the resentment and anger will only hurt you and you will not feel totally cleansed. Once you pray for the person and ask God to forgive him or her, the heavy burden within your heart will be lifted away. Although it is often hard to forgive and forget, you can REMEMBER WITH FORGIVENESS.

Finally, God will even release you from the pain of the memories. As you remember the ordeal of the incest or molestation, allow the Holy Spirit, in power and healing, to cleanse your mind and give you God's peace. Begin to praise and thank God who releases you and lifts your burdens (Ephesians 5:20; I Thessalonians 5:17; Psalm 22:3; Romans 8:28). Sacrifice praise to God, your Great Physician (Hebrews 13:15), until you have peace and joy in your heart and liberty in your spirit. When that becomes a reality to you, you will know that you are free and new in the Lord.

If You Are The Abuser

Incest or sexual molestation is a sin from which you need to be set free. You must be truly sorry and sincerely ask God to help you turn away from further temptation. A good start is to be re-born spiritually. You will feel cleansed and free from the desire to follow your old habits and lifestyle. Regardless of this sin or any other (sin is sin, with none greater than the other), call on the Lord to save, forgive and cleanse you and to come into your heart, right now (I John 1:8, 9; Romans 10:13; John 1:12). Then, you can begin your new life with God (II Corinthians 5:17).

If you are a believer, be bold and ask your pastor or a Christian counselor to pray with you and ask God to help you overcome the problem. Ask them to agree with you in prayer that in accordance with God's Word, you may be forgiven and delivered from incest or molestation.

What Scripture Says

"No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord...Everyone who does any of these detestable things -- such persons must be cut off from their people" (Leviticus 18:6, 29).

"If a man sleeps with his father's wife...his daughter-in-law...a woman and her daughter...his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother...it is a disgrace. They must be cut off before the eyes of their people...he will be held responsible" (Leviticus 20:11, 12, 14, 17).

"For John had said unto Herod, it is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife" (Mark 6:18).

"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife...hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord" (I Corinthians 5:1, 5).

"Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Romans 13:14).

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (I Corinthians 10:13).

If You Discovered Abuse

Try to get help for both the abuser and the victim. If you are a close friend or relative, you may also need help. If you are a born-again Christian, pray before you take any action. You may not know all the circumstances surrounding the abuse, and if the abuse has ended, a different type of help may be in order.

Before you do anything, seek the counsel of a minister
. Ask for confidentiality if you desire. And act only when you are sure of God's leading. Be sure you understand the consequences of any action you decide to take. Whatever the Lord shows you to do, remember you can and should intercede in prayer for everyone concerned. Remember that it is not vengeance, but help that is needed.

As You Pray

Whether you are the guilty one, the victim, a family member, friend or other, pray for God's forgiveness for all concerned. Pray for the wisdom to know what to do now. Thank and praise God and honor Him as the Problem Solver. Dwelling upon the problem honors Satan and the sin. Boldly, in Jesus' name, rebuke incest and perversion. Renounce the sin and the Satanic influence over everyone involved.

Now, Roxine already posted a diary about it this morning. But I just had to write something too. Because when I read this, after collecting my jaw off the floor, it was like Jesus himself had appeared in my inbox and handed me a sparkling unicorn full of magic. Pat Robertson, you have done something for me that is truly profound. You have helped me to find salvation. I was so moved after reading those words that I felt compelled to go to your website and share my testimony. I really, really hope you read it!

Still, I have a feeling that you won't be interviewing me on the 700 Club anytime soon-so if you don't mind, I'm going to go ahead and share it here on this filthy liberal website too. I'm also going to encourage my fellow Kossacks to give you a call at 1 (800) 759-0700 and share their thoughts. I've already called 5 times today, and I'm starting to get the impression that your staff is getting a little sick of hearing from me. And last I checked, that page is still up-despite your staff's assurances that it would be taken down. Maybe they will have more luck.

By the way, I do realize it costs you about $1 per phone call, so if you end up losing some  money as a result of my testimony, I hope you can find it within your own heart to forgive me. I bet it will be a lot easier than forgiving someone who raped you-then again, as you say, all sins are equal in the eyes of God.

Dear Pat Roberson,

It is my honor and privilege to tell you my story of salvation. It's kind of long, so if you have another fundraiser with Mitt Romney to attend or something, you might want to put it off until later when you have the time. But I think it will really be worth your while.

My story starts when I’m 10 years old, in the 5th grade. I’m was going to Catholic school at the time. I'm not Catholic, but our public schools were horrible-like, Kindergarteners stabbing each other with pencils horrible. So that's where my sister and I went.

Like most kids, I wanted desperately to fit in. But when you go to a school that is 99.9% Catholic, and you are some strange hybrid of a non-practicing Jew and a reluctant Protestant who looks like a chubby little bespectacled boy cross dressing in a pleated skirt, that's kind of not possible.

But even if I could never be popular, I still really, really wanted to be Catholic. After being immersed in it so much, I actually started to like it. At a time in my life that was so painful and confusing (I was allowing myself to get molested, you see) I found comfort in the rituals. The silence of the chapel, the beauty of the stained glass windows, the hypnotic cadence of the hyyms, the order and predictability of doing the stations of the cross. The Hail Mary prayer was my favorite-because if I just kept saying it over and over I could put myself into a kind of trance. And more than anything, I loved the saints-especially the martyrs. Reading about those poor souls who were eaten by lions, or burned at the stake made me feel like maybe what I was going through wasn't so bad. Maybe there was some greater purpose for it after all. Maybe I could be one of those saints some day too.

I didn't have the words yet to know exactly what I was going through. My parents gave me "the talk", so I knew what it was in an abstract way. But sex, I was told, is something that people do when they love each other-and it wasn't like that at all. The word "rape" was not in my vocabulary yet. And then, I read about Maria Goretti.

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There are conflicting versions of the Maria Goretti story, so I'll just share with you the readers digest version of how I remember it. Or at least, the way I understood it as a 10 year old kid. Maria Goretti was a very good little girl from Italy. There was a man who always tried to do dirty things with her, and she always told him no because it was a sin. Then, one time, he came at her with a knife. She kept saying no-she said she would rather die than sin, so he stabbed her. Maria got sent to the hospital and had surgery. But it was no use-she learned that she was going to die. After she found out, she spent the last hours of her life praying for his forgiveness and salvation. She died with her virginity intact and at peace, because she never did the dirty sex stuff with him. She left the world the same way she came into it-as pure as the driven snow. And  because of that, she became the patron saint for child rape victims. At the time, she was the youngest person to ever be canonized. Poor thing was only 12 years old at the time of her death-only 2 years older than I was at the time.

I realized then that I was a morally corrupt child, and I had been one for a very long time. Because unlike Maria Goretti, I was NOT a good little girl. I had done dirty things with other little boys as far back as Kindergarten. I played doctor, Tarzan and Jane, I'll show you mine if you show me yours, that kind of thing. I was a pervert, and J's dad must have know that somehow. And it made him so full of lust that he did the bad things-not just to me, but to his own daughter. And unlike Maria Goretti, I wasn't brave at all. I was a coward. I didn't say "you must kill me before I will sin"- hell, I even prayed that he would do it to her sometimes, just so he would leave me alone. But worst of all, I had the lust too-because sometimes the things he did to me felt good. And sometimes he would even give us money to go to the store and buy him stuff and say “keep the change” with a little wink. J and I would split it, halvsies. Sometimes I got like five dollars. At the time, my allowance was a dollar a week so that was a pretty big deal. And I knew exactly what that made me. I was one of those girls they call whores because they get money for doing sex stuff with men. This was a sin that required more than just praying. I needed to talk to Jesus directly, mono on mono, the same way the people in the Bible did.

Slight problem -Jesus is in a wafer that I'm not allowed to eat. He's in the holy water that I'm not allowed to touch.  When the other kids went up to receive the blessing, I had to sit in the pews under the watchful eye of my teacher with all the other non-Catholics (there were like 5 of us, maybe)  and the little kids who hadn't yet received their first communion. If I tried to get up there in line to eat the wafer, I assumed I would probably be dragged off and beaten with a ruler like I heard happened when you were really, really bad.

But there was one thing I thought I might be able to get away with. Sometimes, during holy days, they took us to the chapel instead of class- to do the stations of the cross and give confession. I figured that if I was slick enough, I could probably sneak into the confessional without anyone noticing. So one day, when I had the opportunity, that's exactly what I did.

Bear in mind, I've never been inside a confessional before. The whole thing was kind of a foreign concept. But for some reason, I thought that when I went in there, Jesus himself would appear- and he would be the one I got to talk to. I pictured him sitting down next to me in his white robe and holding my hand while I told him all the things I did wrong.

So I was pretty shocked when I went inside and it was just me, and a pew, and a screen. He (Jesus, I presumed) opened some kind of little door but I couldn't see him, and he didn't say anything. I didn't know what I was supposed to do-I kind of just assumed that he would start asking me questions. I started to panic. I stood there for what felt like an eternity, and then I finally just blurted it out. "I'm not a virgin".

Jesus was silent. He cleared his throat. I waited for him to say something-anything-but he never did. Finally, I got the hint and walked right back out, praying that nobody saw me.

That was the first and last time I told anyone for almost 12 years. It was pretty much what made me decide that I should keep it to myself forever. What I did was so bad that even Jesus was at a loss for words. I also knew that if I had any hope of getting into heaven, I would need to spend the rest of my life making up for what I had done.

So I tried to be perfect-get straight A's, be nice to everyone, clean my room and shovel the driveway without anyone even asking. But I kept messing up. Sometimes when no one was watching I would say bad words. Sometimes I would get so angry I would go outside and throw rocks at cars, or hit my little sister. I tried really, really hard to be good, but I never was. I came to realize that I was just born that way- born a pervert and a freak and a bad person.

This was only reinforced by the fact that after I did this horrible sin, my parents got divorced and my grandfather died. That could not possibly be a coincidence. I also developed freakishly and early-I got my period at 11, and by the time I was in the 6th grade I had boobs bigger than most of the grown women I knew. That's around the time I started getting called a slut. I hadn't even had my first kiss, or dated a boy, or anything that any of my classmates could possibly know about-but they just knew, like it was written across my forehead. I fought against that label for a long time-basically by starving myself back into a little girl and wearing clothes so baggy that no one could see my body-but it was no use. A slut is a slut is a slut-it's just that simple. Eventually, I decided I might as well start living up to the reputation.

So that is the story of how I learned that I was worthless. It started with a man-a supposedly God-fearing man-who sexualized me before I was ready, and then manipulated me into believing that I wanted it to happen. It was reinforced by a culture that simultaneously affirmed that sex was all I was good for, and then shamed me when I tried to live up to those expectations. And a doctrine that promised to bring me love and salvation, but ended up only teaching me to hate myself. Every time I got called a slut, every boy who touched me without my consent, every time someone told me that I was dressing too provacative or swaying my hips too much when I walked, those ideas were reinforced in my rattled little brain. Until I just didn't give a fuck anymore. Instead of being good, I decided to become bad. As bad as I could be. That was something I figured I could excel at-and man, let me tell you, I really did. I ran away, I stole things, I got blackout drunk and slept around. I got into fights, I treated my parents horribly. I have to admit it was pretty liberating for a while- I didn't have those impossible standards to live up to anymore. The people I associated with-my fellow sluts, the queers, the thugs and the street kids-they didn't judge me. The men I loved-dangerous, predatory, fucked up men, just like the man who abused me- allowed me to relive the trauma on my own terms.

But after a while, it gets old. And when you live on the fringes of society-especially if you are a woman, and especially if you are a woman who doesn't know how to really protect herself or trust her own instincts- bad stuff happens. It happens a lot. And every time it does, it just adds another layer of trauma on top of everything. Even a really strong person (and I wasn't-I just pretended to be tough) will start to break down after a while. Eventually you can't numb yourself out enough to make it liveable. And that is exactly what happened to me. By the time I was 21, all I wanted to do was die. And I'm pretty astounded that I didn't.

This was more or less my life from age 10 to 21 in a nutshell. It was a pretty brutal, insane life. What ultimately saved me wasn't God-but getting pregnant with my daughter. A pregnancy that, in a twist of irony, I was almost coerced into terminating because my boyfriend at the time didn't want his fundamentalist Christian family to find out that he was having sex out of wedlock. And it was a member of that same family who sent me that email yesterday.

And that brings me full circle, back to you Pat Robertson. You see, even though I've spent the last 6 years at least giving off the appearance of being a healthy, functioning adult, I was never really OK. Because I still held on to that guilt. No matter how much literature I read, how many other survivors I talked out of those same feelings, or how many times I told myself that my feelings were completely irrational-it was still there. And I could never get rid of it completely.

And then yesterday, I guess God told you to intervene, because someone sent me that email. And when I read it, I'm not going to lie- I laughed my fucking ass off. Later on I got angry-but my first reaction was to laugh. Because the idea that children can consent to being molested-that they have ANYTHING to repent for-is so warped and delusional that I cannot believe someone would actually write those words- let alone post them up on a website that millions of people read. I realized then that the guilt and the resulting behavior actually came from something much larger than myself- a force completely outside of my control. No, not that guy with the hooves that you are thinking of-it was YOU. You, and all the people like you who have influenced the world I have had to live in my entire life. Constantly, repeatedly, drumming this into my head-You are bad, you are a sinner, you must repent, you are going to hell. You were a bad little girl, a slut, a disgrace.

It was like that scene at the end of the Wizard of Oz, when you finally see who is behind the curtain. I was like really? Pat Robertson? The Christian coalition? This is the crap that I'm buying into? Pfffffft!  

In an instant, all of that guilt and shame was gone. Completely, for the first time in my life, there is not an ounce of it left in my soul.

So this is why I have to say thank you. Because you helped me find that salvation that has been so elusive my entire life. After reading those words, and considering the source, I was at last able to find complete love and forgiveness in my heart. Not for my abuser, but finally-dare I say miraculously-for myself.

May The Flying Spaghetti Monster be with you,

Rebecca
(And her 10 year old self who doesn't need to repent for jack shit.)

Edit-took out some stuff, because wow-that was way too long!

UPDATE!!!!

Can I get a Four Oh Motherfucking FOUR!
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Still waiting on the apology....

Originally posted to The Girl Who Climbed Trees on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , House of LIGHTS, Rape and Domestic Violence, and Sluts.

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