Mama, Why Did You Let Them Do That?
“Go take a shower with Big Jim and I’ll dry you off when you’re done.” With no questions asked, I stood before mama while she pulled my panties down and my shirt over my head. I joined my step-father in the shower for had become my bathing routine. As mama lifted me into the shower, she playfully slapped the back of my behind as she told me to be a good girl.
Big Jim had been married to my mother for just under four years. Prior to meeting him, my mother had four children (me being the youngest), and he had nine children ranging from eleven to twenty-three. To their union there more children were born. Besides the days of fighting over scraps of food and witnessing unimaginable fights between step-siblings, my memories of those days center on my showers.
When mama walked out of the bathroom, Big Jim was swift to guide my very small and frail hands to his most private area. He had taught me to glide my hands up and down his genitals until he had reached his climax. This act was performed time and time again until one day he began snatching at my curly hair and thrusting his genitals down my throat. For several years this act was played out over and over and over. The roughest days were when I had to shower twice… those days always guaranteed penetration in his preferred entrance – my rear. My reward was always the same. He would take me to the local 7-11 for a slurpee and a handful of penny candy. The reward I longed for most was my mother’s praise. She would smile at me as she dried me off, “Sunny, Big Jim said you were a good girl.” That was as close as my mother could get to giving me love. That was usually followed by “Go play and don’t tell anyone what happened or you won’t go to 7-11.”
As crazy as it seems, I lived for my mother’s praise. From my paradigm, my mother did no wrong and certainly would never instruct me to do anything wrong. I was taught the difference between right and wrong quite differently than most. I was beaten for saying I was hungry in front of company, but praised for giving my father oral sex. I was choked and socked for not cleaning my mother’s room properly, yet given jaw breakers as long as I didn’t mention Big Jim’s constant ejaculations on my bottom. Lesson learned: providing sex = good, everything else = bad. Neither mama nor Big Jim used hands or belts to spank me. Instead, weapons of mass destruction like extension cords, broom sticks, iron cords, and shoes were used. Big Jim once held me upside down by one ankle as he beat me for a simple offense. So you can see how just a little bit of my mother’s praise was like manna from heaven.
Research has been done over the years that show a great number of victims of physical and sexual abusers end up being abusers themselves. I guess that may have been the case, as three of my step-siblings repeatedly abused me for the remainder of my mother’s marriage to their father. The results of tattling were horrendous so I silently remained everyone’s plaything. I am blessed to say that I am not a part of that statistic.
As a young child, I was frail. I suffered from an immune disorder, and lived on gamma globulin shots that worked to boost my immune system. These shots were constant, painful, and all the while life-saving. In addition to the common cold and strep throat, flus and allergies plagued my body for years. My weight at the age of five resembled that of a three year old. I was whiter than most white children, as the secret of my true father was hidden until I was 22. My mother, an African American beauty queen, had worked with the likes of Ray Charles. She shared more than a studio with the man. She also developed a drinking and drug habit that forever robbed her of her sanity. I am the product of an affair she had with a disc jockey turned news anchorman. She was married, he was married, and they both thought it prudent to hide my true paternity for the sake of their marriages.
Although my mother was popular with many of Hollywood’s finest, those same people ignored all the signs and symptoms of a child in distress. I often wore bruises around my neck from my step-father’s hands that would tighten as he inched closer to his climax. Since my backside was torn, I was forced to wear feminine napkins when the bleeding didn’t stop. I stayed home more than I went to school. My mother even had the teachers fooled. Oftentimes when the bruises were extensive, or the bleeding uncontrollable, she would call the school and use my immune disorder as an excuse for me not attending class for several days at a time.
I was as young as two when the abuse started, and even after giving me to my stepfather to keep him around longer, he eventually left. He was replaced by many more men who all bore the same fondness for little girls. I realized when I was twelve that I was my mother’s bargaining chip. One man in particular let it slip when he told me my mother promised I was good. Big Jim lives in the same city as I. I’ve heard he is a deacon in a church in town. I have long since left the vengeance to God. He promised he would repay.
The connection between molestation, low self confidence, promiscuity, sexual orientation confusion, and life failure is remarkably close. Juanita Bynum, author of No More Sheets, details the transference of spirits during sexual encounters (wanted or not). Insecurity, anger and depression worked together to keep me in mental bondage. Those are all spirits, transferred during the act of rape and fornication, all working with the devil to steal, kill and destroy. .
I learned at a very early age to talk to Jesus. I remember my mother tuning into Sunday television preachers to get her fix for the week. I’m most sure God guided her to tune in to those channels just so I could get His word into my subconscious. I began to talk to this Jesus I heard the TV preachers talk about. I remember tales of him being a savior, and God knows I needed saving.
I praise my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for bringing me through those horrific years. I learned early that to survive this world and its woes, I had to have endurance. I learned to guide my thoughts to the heavens and fantasize about the day I would meet the Jesus I heard talk about, while my stepfather repeatedly raped.
There are numerous children, both boys and girls who are living my nightmare everyday. I live my life with purpose daily so I can reach those souls and encourage them to tell someone about their abuse. I want to teach them that even though it seems their childhood is lost to sexual, physical and mental abuse, God does in fact have something so wonderful just for them. It’s a hard sale to someone going through it, but by the grace of God, I endured these hardships, and can now help others escape them.
If you know or suspect that someone is a victim of abuse, whether it is sexual, physical or mental, please do your part in helping to liberate them. There are many organizations in every state that you can reach out to. If you are a victim and have not been able to break the destructive chains of abuse, please feel free to write me. I would love the opportunity to help you rid your life of the abuse and help you learn skills to live life to the fullest in Christ.
God bless you for stopping by Endurance. Please feel free to leave a comment or send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sonja Ewell, formerly Sonja Lord-Tilley, began in the entertainment industry as an assistant tour manager for several hip-hop artists. She later went on to own her own script consultation and artist management business in Beverly Hills, California. She enjoyed several of today’s most successful artists as her clientele in the early ’90’s. The mother two daughters and one son, Sonja lives each day to teach her children ab
out God’s goodness. Her son diagnosed with autism in 2004, led her down a different career path. Anxious to research the cause and effect of autism, she went back to school and received her degree in Paralegal Studies. With lots of hard work and prayer, her son who was completely non-verbal in 2005, now leads the family in prayer!
Sonja spends her time working to better the lives of her family, her friends and her community. She and her husband, Damainion Ewell, are dedicated workers in an orphanage ministry they helped found in their home church, Remnant Ministries. Together they share their life experiences with hopes someone can be helped. Always in pursuit of knowledge, Sonja is currently learning Spanish to broaden her ministry. In addition to her commitment to God, family, church and community, she also enjoys many hobbies (sewing, painting, decorating, spoken word and writing). She has positioned herself to be a Proverbs 31 woman.