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I ‘Gave Into Abuse’

Serious Trigger Warning!

Someone once told me I was at least partly in the wrong because I had ‘given into abuse.’ 

First of all, I was a child.  But let’s leave that aside for now…allow me to explain.

There were times when I did ‘give into abuse’ for a plate of food and a glass of ice tea.

I remember without food; locked down in that basement. I smelled the aroma of their dinner through the floorboards over my head. It made me feel crazy. I often sat at the make-shift table (an old door that they laid across cinder blocks) and pretended to eat. In my mind, I saw an enormous plate of delicious food and bit at invisible mashed potatoes. That is how desperate I was to eat.

Starvation will make you crazy. It will literally eat away at your brain making your thoughts unclear and your responses erratic; Cleo and Lou knew this and used that knowledge as a tool. They used to lock me a basement (or outside in the barn) after the ‘customers’ were finished.

To fight loneliness I had elaborate fantasies about “The Six Million Dollar Man” crashing into the house to rescue me. Rushing in, he would explain how the earth swallowed him whole and he was trapped inside it. How he battled demons through fire pits of molten lava to save me and that’s why it took so long. But then I opened my eyes and faced–reality. “The Six Million Dollar Man” would never rescue me. I had been forgotten, like a dirty rag in a landfill. No one cared what happened to me, I was the unlovable “damn kid.” “Damn kid” was what Cleo called me.

On occasion I would only get to eat if I ‘earned’ it. ‘At times, it meant I had to beg these “customers” to abuse me so I could ‘earn’ food.

This particular time, there were no customers for a few days. I was in the basement and my Cleo decided a few days before that I would eat again would make me compliant to do a specific disgusting sexual act one particular ‘customer’ wanted. 

I was so hungry. I remember Cleo coming down the basement stairs. She stood in front of me and told me this particular man had arrived.  She asked me if I were ready to eat.  Cleo  took me to the kitchen where she showed me  fried chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans. She put the food on a plate. On the counter sat a picture of iced tea. He said, “and you want this,” he said, (motioning to the food).

As I reached for the plate he said, “Tell me you want me.”

I gave in and said yes to him. When he finished with me, he placed the plate of chicken, mashed potatoes and string beans and a glass of ice tea on the table.

I ate too quickly and vomited.

Yes, for a plateful of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans, and a glass of iced tea I ‘gave into abuse.’

For those who would criticize me of “giving into abuse,” I dare say if it he or she were the one that were locked in that basement, given the “choice” of dying from hunger and dehydration, they would choose to ‘give into abuse’ too. 

This wasn’t the only time I had to choose between eating and ‘giving into abuse’ for this customer.  I think it was part of his fantasy.’

It wasn’t about giving into abuse. It was about survival.

Psalm 56-8


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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.).




6 thoughts on “I ‘Gave Into Abuse’

  1. It’s hard to give my thoughts when this soooo evokes emotions as a mother that I cannot express them. Keep sharing. Keep writing. People need to hear your story no matter how shocking it is. If people are not shocked and outraged, then they do not have the spirit of God in them. They are cold, heartless, lacking compassion, lacking love. They are proud. The gravest sin of all.

  2. I am so sorry this happened to you, Cathy. I really am. I wish I could go back in time and rescue that little girl and take her to a place that would be warm and safe.

  3. This was truly a no-win situation. Unfortunately, this is something those hatemongering fundies would have used against you no matter what. Their religion is truly perverted in every sense.

    Suppose you had fought back and not “given in”, as the sick freak put it. You would have starved, and probably been beaten and forced to “perform” anyway. Then if somehow you had survived to tell, they would have condemned you for not “obeying them who have rule over you” — never mind that they kidnapped you and took you from the rightful authorities!

    So… all you hatemongers lurking? Just tell the truth once in your life. You like perversion, you like cruelty, and you hate knowing someone survived to expose what you really are and how sick your so-called religion really is. You would have condemned her no matter what she did. Take your pervert religion and go back to the hell from whence you came.

  4. You never “gave in to the abuse” Cathy – you merely did what any child would do. You fought to survive. The sick bastard who told you that you were partly to blame because you “gave in to the abuse” is wrong! You did not give in to the abuse – you chose to live in the only way that it was possible to survive. Every child needs food, water and love to survive. All of the perverted pigs who abused you and pimped you out to other abusers took these basic three needs and twisted them for their own sick gratification. I will never understand how anyone can get off on raping a child – but then to rape a child who is starving is just so evil there is no way to comprehend it. These people are monsters. They are so evil.

    I am so thankful you survived – so grateful to God that you are in my life. I am so immensely proud of you. I want you to know you are really a hero to me. I love you with all my heart. You are such a strong survivor and your voice is shaking the fundie world. Keep speaking your truth. We all need to hear it, as painful as it is to hear.


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