Many years ago I shared in this weekly column a painful story about
incest. It was the story of a little girl who was too young
to speak for herself. I will share with you a few excerpts
from that story and then fast forward to her present life as
an adult. Get the tissue box and hold on to your seat, it
is painful. Here it is.
"Dad, I am too small to understand what life is all about. Yes, I
do know when there is pain, even when it is emotional pain.
When I was three years old, when you thought I would not
know what was happening, you took a pen and destroyed my
hymen. You laughed. I cried. It was painful. You also did
this while my older brother was watching. The following week
you took your finger and pushed it between by legs. That was
very, very painful. One year later, then only four, you
tried to have sex with me but I believe mommy came into the
room and interrupted you. Many times after that, when no one
was around, you forced me to have sex with you. I would
plead for you to stop. I would try to scream but you would
hold my mouth.
Dad, although I am only seven now, just talking about this causes
pain. You are someone I should trust. You are the one who is
causing me the most pain. Dad, why are you hurting me when
you should love me? I will never forget this pain you are
causing me. I remember when I got a serious infection and
you lied to the doctor. I had a high fever and lots of pain.
You made me feel that I got sick because I was disobedient.
. . Dad, please stop causing me pain. My voice is too weak
to scream for help. God made dads to love and not to hurt.
You are actually destroying
dad. How can I trust you again? . . . Who will believe me?
Who will listen to my pain? I need a dad to love me. I need
a dad to trust. I am too young to speak with eloquent words
of persuasion. I am too young to express my true pain. I
need someone to speak for me. I need someone to protect me.
Dad, won’t you stop destroying me."
Many years have passed and this little girl is now a young adult.
It has been virtually impossible for her to stop thinking
about the pain her father caused her. Read her own words in
a letter to her father as a twenty-eight-year-old woman.
“Dad, because of you, I have never been able to trust men, even the
ones who are very kind and Christ-like with me. Although
I’ve tried, I have never been able to trust anyone. I have
never been able to stay longer than six months on a job. I
did complete high school but could not go to college because
the pain was too great. I stay at home with mom but she
still has no idea the pain you cause me.
I have never been able to share my pain with anyone until last year
when I gathered the strength to see a psychologist. Until I
started therapy I was in a mess. I had trouble sleeping,
over ate, putting on tremendous weight, and have lots of
nightmares. Food is still the only thing I can trust. It
does not fight back at me. I should tell you that the
real reason I saw the psychologist is because at age 25 I
was raped by two men at two different times. That was
terribly painful. Someone who tried to become my friend
recognized my frustration and persuaded me to see the
psychologist. I don’t even know how she did it, but I did
begin therapy and am I happy for it. Do you know that
between the time of being raped and seeing the psychologist,
I went wild sexually and deliberately went out late at
nights to find men to have sex with out of revenge? These
stupid men were so hungry for sex they were not even aware
that they were being victims of my revenge. I would dress
seductively by revealing a lot of my breasts and having on
extremely short dresses and wearing no underwear. I was out
of control. I was out to hurt but no one knew it.
Although the desire to hurt all males still resides within me, dad,
my psychologist helped me realized that I am of great
value. You even destroyed my belief in God, but
miraculously, I have found Him again and it is He who
provides the power within me not to hate you or to hurt
Each day I will live with the fact that although I am healing, I
may never marry or have children. In a desire to find inner peace and meaningful relationship and
love I even tried lesbian relationships but have been badly
hurt emotionally over and over again.
You really wounded me dad. But I will, yes I will, some day, rise
above my pain and become somebody important. I am still
young. My first goal is to open my heart to mom about
this. You also wounded her terribly. You left her years ago in shambles.
She has been sick with sexually transmitted infections for
many years. It is her secret, too. It is amazing I never
got infected. One day I hope to find the strength to
forgive you so I can have full healing. One day, I am not
sure when, I will tell you before your face “I love you
Dear reader, If you have experienced such pain or know someone who
has, I encourage you to seek professional help. You are not
alone. There are people who can help you go through the
Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family
therapist. Send your comments or questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1242-327-1980, or