"The Slow Slippery Slope"
---For the record: I'm not trying to deny my part in any of this. I’m painfully aware of it. I wasn’t forced into anything. I chose to give into temptation and sin time and time again. I did a lot of things I shouldn't have done. And there are a lot of things I should've done that I didn't do. I ignored red flags, my intuition, the words of my family and family friends. And instead, I gave into the traps of manipulation and deception. I’m honestly ashamed of myself and embarrassed. I wish I could go back and do things differently. I really wish I would’ve put a stop to all of this when it first began.
But all I can do now is learn from all of this, heal, forgive myself, do better and move forward.
I've tried to be transparent and honest about what I was thinking and how I was feeling through all of this. I'm not hiding anymore.
--- Twelve years ago, I was a 16 year old high school girl. I was struggling with some typical teenager stuff at the time… low self-esteem, not really fitting in, trying to discover myself and what I was supposed to do in life etc. I was young and vulnerable. I loved God, but I’d been feeling there was something missing in my walk with Him. My spiritual life felt like a dry desert. I felt like there had to be more to being a Christian. I was a part of an after school Bible study at the time. Friends from the Bible study introduced me to *Pastor R, he was 22 years old, 6 years older than me. He was the youth leader and director of a youth group in town. I was invited to check them out, and loved it. I began attending regularly, along with several of my friends.
--- I began hanging out with *Pastor R more and more- I started to really trust him and look up to him as my youth leader and friend.
---I believe I was 17 years old when I began dating *Michael. *Michael was a close friend in high school with me. He attended our bible study group, was a fellow youth leader, and went the same church that I had now transitioned to *CPC. We may have been young, but we were very serious about each other. We even talked of marriage. *Michael was wonderful. He made me feel loved and cherished. He came over to spend time with my family and I spent some time with his mom as well. He even spoke to my Dad about his desire to marry me. My family loved him. *Michael and I were very serious about keeping our relationship pure and pleasing to God (I had only ever made out with a couple guys in the past.) We never kissed and we even timed our hugs. We were honestly so good for each other. We were in love. But *Pastor R told us that he believed our relationship was not the will of God and that he felt we were not meant to be together. *Michael ended up breaking up with me. I was crushed...We were both heartbroken and neither of us really knew why we were breaking up. We were just made to believe that was the right thing to do....
---My parents, both Christians, became alarmed at how my beliefs and behaviors were changing. They were upset with *Pastor R for breaking *Mike and I up. (I couldn't understand why that happened either… But I trusted *Pastor R and believed there must be a reason that God didn't want *Mike and I together.)
---I rebelled...I packed my car with all my stuff and left. I loved my family and had, up until this point, had a close relationship and bond with them. But I felt they were abandoning and rejecting me. I felt persecuted. I cried all the way to *Pastor R's house. I cried, explaining everything that happened that morning. He seemed to me to be sympathetic and like he wanted to help me. He calmed me down and I felt comforted. He called his grandmother and arranged for me to stay with her.
---During this time, I was struggling and very vulnerable. I looked up to *Pastor R as my youth pastor and felt loved and supported by him. I felt our friendship growing. One night as I lay on the couch at his grandmother’s, we were texting back and forth. I realized I had began developing feelings for him. He told me there was something he needed to talk to me about the next day. By the way he was texting me and other things he was saying, I got the feeling that he may be planning on expressing romantic feelings for me. That was a great hope as I said goodbye and fell asleep.
---I was still really hurting over my deteriorating relationship with my family. I missed my Mom, Dad and sisters. They would try to reach out and encourage me to come back home. They said I could come back if I would agree to stop going to CPC. *Pastor R encouraged me to just stay strong and fight for God’s will. He warned me that this was a test. He said if I gave in and went back home, I would lose this round in my fight of faith and I would have to go through all this again and fight the round over again. He told me it would be even harder the second time around.
---It was during this time that I and *Pastor R’s relationship was very quickly escalating. We began discussing our desire to be married and possible wedding dates. We arranged to meet with my parents and a couple of their friends (they wanted to mediate) to inform them. We met them at a restaurant and *Pastor R told them that he was in love with me and we were getting married. Mom, Dad and their friends were all very startled that my 25 year old youth pastor had convinced me to move out of my parents house, into his grandmother’s house and was now telling them he was going to marry me. It didn't seem to phase *Pastor R. And I was so blinded by my strong emotions and love for him, that I couldn't see anything wrong with the situation.
---One day, in *Pastor R's apartment, we were kissing on his bed (by this time, our relationship had turned physical and we were making out regularly.) He asked me if he could put his hand up my shirt and touch my breast. I was a virgin and had always planned on saving myself for marriage. I believed that premarital sex was a sin and not God’s will. But I was honestly so in love. And *Pastor R and I were engaged. I believed with all my heart that we would soon be married and I would have his children. So I let it happen. As he began touching and caressing me, he eventually initiated sexual intercourse....
Note from your Apostolic Fly Girl-
What this Survivor is describing is an often "hidden" side of Sexual Abuse called
The sexual exploitation of children and young people may involve them being coerced, groomed, manipulated, forced, or deceived into performing and/or others performing on them, sexual activities in exchange for receiving some form of material goods or other entity. Reading this Survivor's diary entries I am convinced that the 'other entity' that was exchanged was false affection, love, and affirmation.
If you are reading this and can relate to this survivors story, I want you to know that abuse is NEVER your fault. I implore you to seek help, listed below are some helpful resources.
Darkness To Light
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Sexual Violence Resource Center