A woman who was molested as a girl says she has finally gathered the courage to report one of her perpetrators to the Bermuda Police when her church refused to.
The woman, now in her 50s, speaks to SheHub on the condition of anonymity. She says she can remember being sexually abused when she was a young girl. According to the woman, her older brother would show her ‘how to kiss’, but says her stepfather started molesting her from the age of seven.
She says she never told her mother about her stepfather, but she believes her mother knew what was going on: “I remember one day they were whispering, and my mother kept looking at me. But she never said anything.”
Subsequently, her mother fell ill, and her stepfather left the family, returning to his home in America. When her mother died when she was 12, the woman was taken in by her older sister.
Again, she faced sexual abuse.
“I don’t know why guys chose me. Maybe because they knew that I didn’t have a father figure in my life,” she says.
The woman says one man who sexually abused her repeatedly over the course of a year was a friend of her sister’s, who also member of a prominent church.
She recalls one of the incidents of abuse: “We were all in a room having a movie night and he was sitting beside me rubbing my thigh. When I looked at him, he put his fingers to mouth, telling me to be quiet and kept doing it.”
She continues: “Every week he would find a way to be alone with me and he would touch me and make me touch him. It just kept going further and further. One day he took me for a ride on his bike and we went to a golf course. He inserted himself in me and I started to cry. I never said anything to anyone because I thought it was normal.”
She was 14 at the time.
One day, she says, she decided to say something and told her sister’s then-boyfriend.
“He must had said something to elders in the church because I remember a group of them visiting me,” she tells SheHub.
However, she recalls, she did not feel as if they believed her as she was given a passage to read from the Bible, Genesis 39: 13-29 http://Www.blueletterbible.org/comm/guzik_david/studyguide_gen/gen_39.cfm, which she interpreted to mean that she was lying about being raped.
“I started to drink a lot. I was insecure and I did not like men.”
The woman says she suppressed everything which happened to her as a youth and navigated life, but admits her behaviour was not always in her best interest.
Five years ago, she received a surprise visit.
“A gentleman from overseas who is affiliated with the church came to visit me. He asked me to tell him what happened back then. I was surprised as I couldn’t believe this was happening after all of these years. As a result of me and other girls talking, my abuser was suspended as a member of the church for a period of five years. I was happy they were doing something about it, but they still did not go to the Police; they just handled it internally.”
Wanting to shift the path of her life, the woman says she decided to seek the services of a life coach and says she came to realise that she deserved justice and decided to report what had happened to her to Police.
“I drastically cut down my drinking and the life coach helped me to see that I am worthy.”
However, those who she believed would support her didn’t: “When I went to the Police, my now brother-in-law asked me why was I doing this. I was disappointed with his response. I don’t even know if any of the other ladies went to the Police, because it seems like everybody has just moved on with their lives, but I have no regrets.”
Her alleged perpetrator has since been arrested by Police and released on Police bail. She is now patiently waiting to see if he will be charged.
“I want everyone to know his name and I want him to pay for everything that he did, not just to me, but to every female he has done this to. I hope they come forward after reading this.”
And if he never lands before the courts?
“I’ll be okay. I know I did the right thing.”