No daddy ever intends to molest his baby girl. In fact, most daddies would kill (or seriously maim) any man that did such things to their daughters.
That is the tricky thing about sexual addiction—it is progressive. It takes something a bit more dangerous, a bit more “naughty,” like most addictions, to get the same thrill. Even if that “something” is molesting your own daughter. A man who never dreamed of doing such things, does. He is compelled as if by some unseen force, to do the atrocious, the dreadful, the horrific.
My dad was a medical doctor. His patients thought he walked on water. He was a hero to the masses by day and a child molester by night. Sex addiction is no respecter of persons. Professional saint or struggling ex-con, it doesn’t matter.
I am sure my daddy lived in an alcohol-enhanced state of denial about what he did routinely. As a pre-teen, I was uncertain about life and doubted the love of troubled parents. I didn’t want to “hurt his feelings,” so I tried only to shift just out of reach of his groping hands, but I never actually stopped him. I didn’t even really understand that he was doing something that was so heinously wrong. I knew it felt “yucky.” Years of loving (and proper) scratching of my back as we watched TV together evolved into a demon that owned his soul and sucked the life and innocence out of me through the hands of the man I should most be able to trust for protection. I learned to despise the daddy whose approval I so longed for. My virtue was killed by his addiction and so was my image of what a loving Father is. (Is it any wonder I struggle with the image of a good Heavenly Father to this day?)
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Over thirteen years later, while in a courtroom serving on jury duty for the first time, the judge described the allegations against the accused. As I heard the sordid details of what the man supposedly did, my heart raced. My mind screamed with absolute certainty: “HE IS GUILTY! Make him a eunuch!” The man was accused of molesting young girls at his daughter’s slumber party. During the judge’s description, I flashed back to one of my own slumber parties years before where my father had encouraged my girlfriends and I to go “skinny dipping” in our swimming pool. I remembered seeing him peek out the window through curtains barely parted and had assumed he had been looking out for us to be sure we were safe from a late-night pool accident.
I had a rude awakening in the courtroom that day. The judge cleared the court and questioned me about my obvious agitation. Fresh in the awareness that what had happened to me was, in fact, the stigma of “child molestation,” I was dismissed “for cause.”
And so began the road to healing.
The journey has been long. I carried not only the emotional devastation of what my dad did, but also a literal physical weight—a self-imposed prison that provided safety for years. I discovered as a pre-teen that I could comfort and anesthetize myself with food. The subsequent weight gain of using food this way also served to hide my “girlish” features from the eyes and hands of any would-be violators—Dad, or neighborhood boys who, I found, were after the same things. Behind a wall of fat, I would be left alone.
That courtroom realization was some twenty-plus years ago. I am now involved in ministry to women who struggle with body, eating, and food issues. I have discovered that many of the women I have the pleasure of ministering to have similar histories. Their issues with food, eating, and the self-loathing of their bodies often began with fathers, uncles or “friends” who used the girls they knew as their personal play things. Some of these women have been molested. A few have been raped. All have plunged themselves into the comforting arms of food where they have found stability and safety. The extra weight many of us carry has served as a protective shell, guarding a precious treasure hidden away beneath—a priceless prize that was violated at some point our lives.
For many of us, our eating and body issues began as a product of sexual abuse at some point in our lives. In fact, many of us may not even realize it until we have a moment like I did in the courtroom that day…and the awareness that we were molested falls on us like a cold winter.
For some of us, shame has caused us to embrace the identity associated with a sin that was committed against us. This has wreaked havoc with our view of ourselves, our view of God and, often, our view of men.
The long, hard, climb out of the pit in which we find ourselves can only happen through the fellowship of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. There is no easy solution. Jesus told us that the truth will set us free—even a truth that is extremely painful to face. Although he was speaking of the Word of God, I have nevertheless experienced this principle holds true about facing my past as well. As I refuse to run from the truth in my past, choosing, instead to embrace it and to walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death with the One who was there all along, believing God will redeem the years the locusts have eaten, I begin to find healing of my wounds.
I am a healthy weight now and enjoy a blessed relationship with a godly husband who is a gift from the Lord. I must daily die to self—especially as it relates to choosing to forgive my now-deceased father for what he stole from me. I choose to pursue a walk with Jesus in present time. This isn’t “sanctified denial,” but it brings me step-by-step closer to that which God intends.
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