Abuse of any kind is a life altering, unwanted experience. I am an only child. I suffered years of molestation as a child in and outside my home. The abuse was perpetrated upon me by my mother’s live-in boyfriend. It began when I was about seven years old. It continued until I was seventeen or eighteen years old. Several times during my life, I tried to tell my mother about the abuse. She ignored me and later denied that the abuse occurred at all. She did not want to appear an unfit mother.
My mom was not the mother I deserved. Although she is still alive and I have some feelings for her, I do not have a desire to see her. She never cared about what was going on in my life growing up. Therefore, I felt neglected and unwanted very young. These feelings still come back to haunt me. I believe my mother genuinely cared for her boyfriend. We lived in a two-family house on East 139 Street off Union in Cleveland Ohio. The lady that lived downstairs was also our landlord. Although I do not know for sure, I believe she had an idea what was going on with me in the upstairs apartment. She always tried to have me stay downstairs with her while my mother was at work. Unfortunately, at some point, I would have to return upstairs to prepare for bed. After my shower, I would leave the bathroom. It seemed he always knew when I was heading for my room. He would be there to greet me. He had a terrible drug habit. This frightened me. From time to time during those years, he would go to prison. He never stayed locked up long enough for me to experience some measure of peace.
To add insult to injury, my mother would force me to visit him in prison whenever she would go. I had no choice because visiting him was part of her rules. I would run away from home trying to escape how badly I felt about me. He caused so much pain in my life. I still suffer from issues of low self-esteem today. Frequently, especially my teenage years, I spend time with my grandfather. Very few family members seemed to care about my welfare. My grandfather happened to be one who deeply cared about me.
The years of sexual abuse have affected my life in many ways; however, I absolutely refuse to live my life depressed and burdened with my past. Parents listen to your children when a child tells you that someone is touching them. Take the time to find out the truth about what you child believes. As a parent, you are your child’s first line of defense against any harm.
I am writing a book. In my book, I share more details of my life with readers. Recently, I received a Criminal Justice degree. My goal is to use this degree to raise awareness of childhood molestation in hopes of substantially reducing the cases of it occurring. Unfortunately, molestation is a huge secret rarely shared.
I have been blessed. God has always been there for me. I know he cares. I have a wonderful husband, Troy. He has been by my side, even as a young child helping me. Troy has always cared about my welfare and what was going on with me inside that house. Thank you, Troy, for the years of support you have shown me. Auntie Lady Gilmore, thank you for always doing your best to save me from what was going in my home. Auntie, I thank you for always showing me support when I have my bad days. I still need to talk about the horrible things that happen to me as a child. There are many moments that I still feel abandoned. I continue to feel isolated by some family members. Still, I refuse to allow people to say painful and hurtful things to me.
One critical thing I have learned in my life. I deserve respect from everyone who has contact with me. If respect cannot be given freely, then that person does not belong in my life. I share my story in hopes of helping others overcome the sexual abuse in their lives. Such experiences remain in our lives all of our lives. It is not something that one day I will get over it. This is just not true. This does not happen in such a way. Sharing my story as a motivational speaker about childhood molestation can encourage others to seek help, report molestations especially of children. No child should have a story like mine, some people like me can and will help.
Lastly, I use my life story to illustrate that anyone can overcome any challenging situations with the proper help. I hope to inspire others. You can make it and be successful in life. Follow your dreams! Never give up! I am following my dreams. I know God has been with me on this long walk of life.
Please feel free to contact Sharena at firstname.lastname@example.org for speaking engagements for your church, supports groups, and, of course, any questions you have.