Apologies if this doesn’t flow together very well. Even after all these years, I have difficulty writing about it.
As I mentioned in the last post one of my child abusers was a well-known Fundamentalist leader of his day. Let’s call him *Luke. *Luke paid Cleo to abuse me.
However there were many of times *Luke brought others with him. Especially during conferences.
This particular time was at the farm. The only two were *Luke and another fundamentalist Christian leader named “John. I had never seen *John before.
*Luke had a particular ritual. *Luke tell me God made me special. When I was little *Luke told me God had made me special and told me I was made to be *Luke’s concubine. I didn’t know what a concubine was. I thought it was another word for princess. *Luke used to give me treats such as chocolate or ice cream.
*Luke would then rape me.
After *Luke was finished, if others were present, it was their turn. On this particular occasion *John watched and pleasures himself while *Luke raped me. *John never touched me that I can recall.
However afterward a mammoth argument took place between *John and Cleo because *John refused to pay Cleo for time with me. It mattered not to Cleo whether *John abused me, he still owed the fee. I remember being terrified and wanting to hide but there wasn’t anyway to get away.
I cannot recall if *John paid the fee or he didn’t, but Cleo was extremely angry with me for ‘not pleasing’ *John. She and Lou threw me in the basement. I had become used to sleeping down there when Cleo became enraged. I had fallen asleep on the floor of the basement. I was awakened in immense pain. I was wet. Cleo was standing over me holding a large empty pot. I remember looking down at my right arm and legs, confused about why my skin was melting.
I was screaming and Lou came running. Now Cleo and Lou were arguing. Lou picked me up and took me upstairs to the tub. He took off my clothes and tried to put my in a tub of cold water. At that point, I’m told I lost consciousness because of the pain.
Next I remember lying on the green couch in the sitting room. I looked down at my body the first thing I saw was a blister covering the entire inner part of my left thigh from my groin to my knee. The front of my right thigh was one open wound. As was my right forearm, most of my chest and abdomen. I even had the same open and seeping wounds on both of my feet.
Cleo was sitting there ripping bed sheets into strips.
After Cleo had the number of strips she needed she coated the strips with Bag Balm and applied her “bandages” to my wounds. When Cleo determined the “bandages” needed to be changed she would tear them off quickly. Causing intense pain which she appeared to enjoy.
There was a lot of fighting between Lou and Cleo. Lou said repeatedly he didn’t sign up for murder.
After a few rounds of Cleo’s “bandage” changes things my memory is very fuzzy. All I remember was this woman who was a nurse who was always kind to me leaning over me, asking if I could hear her, telling me to open my eyes. I remember the nurse saying I was going to the hospital. All I remember was hearing the siren, that seemed to be a long way in the distance and feeling extremely cold. Then a bright light surrounded by a level of peace I’ve never experienced before or since that time. I remember regaining consciousness in the Hospital. I think it was the Emergency Room. I could hear Cleo and what I thought was a doctor arguing with Cleo about what happened to me. Cleo told the doctor I had tripped over a cat and scalded myself. She blamed her “bandages” as advice from the nurse who had called the ambulance.
The next thing I remember was being in an isolation room as a pediatric burn patient. At first, Cleo was allowed in to see me. She told me that I had better tell everyone I had tripped over a cat and burned myself or she would kill me. It wasn’t too long after this, Cleo nor Lou weren’t allowed to visit me.
I know at some point the pastor and his wife from the Christian School came to the burn unit. I had sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 61% of my body. I was nude on a special bed for burn patients with a bed cradle that kept the linens off of my wounds. I was in and out of consciousness but I remember the pastor pulling back the sheet. I remember being embarrassed because I didn’t have any clothes on. I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I was too weak to actually verbalize it, but I remember thinking “oh please don’t uncover me.”
I went through months of painful burn treatments which included several surgical debridements, hydrotherapy. skin grafts, dressing changes, etc.
After I was released from the hospital I was taken to live at the pastors home who had visited me in the hospital. A few days later I was back at the farm with Cleo.
I kept telling the story for many years that I had burned myself by tripping over a cat. I was terrified at the time and believed Cleo would indeed murder me unless I said what she told me. I’ve told people over the years the truth.
One thing you can be sure of, I never forgot what *John looked like. A few years later I lost it when I found out he too was another well-known fundamentalist leader.
I’m now stating it publicly, Cleo threw boiling water on me in my sleep because she blamed me, a fifth grade child, because a ‘customer’ didn’t pay her fee.
Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?
A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.)
*Not their real names