The Painful Journey Toward Healing for One Victim Sexually Abused by a Youth Minister

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

Statistics show that most sexual abuse is carried out by someone who knows the victim, not by a random predator lingering in the shadows.

A woman named Marie Jensen recalls the moment her youth pastor turned her world upside down by making sexual advances toward her. She wrote about it in a compelling post a couple years back.

It began when she was 15 years old (below the legal age of consent, which is 17) at an overnight leadership team retreat, where he was the only adult chaperone.

“We were talking in hushed tones about my body image issues, and he asked what part of my body I was most self-conscious about. I told him: my stomach. He told me he was going to touch my stomach so I would realize how beautiful it was,” wrote Marie.

“His hands quickly drifted. The next day he took me back to his apartment — I don’t know where his wife was that day — and kissed me for the first time.”

This perverse and forbidden tryst went on for two years, until finally, Marie said Enough! She walked away from it with many emotional scars that resulted in self-harming, nightmares and post-traumatic stress.

Despite the damage it did, Marie classified the “relationship” as an affair.

It wasn’t until she was educated about what sexual abuse and rape entailed, that she realized she was not a consenting party, but rather, a victim.

“It took me until college to realize it hadn’t been an affair. I was sitting in a YWCA training seminar to work as an advocate for sexual assault victims, listening to the definitions of rape and consent, when for the first time I put a name to what had happened to me.”

She now views the youth pastor through clear lenses and sees him for what he truly is.

“My rapist is still a church leader. He’s still preaching to teenage girls and — I am certain, because I see the pattern now and understand him to be a practiced predator — helping them overcome their body image issues,” Marie shared.

Since being enlightened, she has attempted to warn others of his tendencies, but no one believes her, especially not after, according to her, the leader has craftily labeled her a loon.

“I have told my story directly to the churches he bounces to. They never believe me, despite the fact that I bring backup, references from therapists I’ve seen, contact information for my peers in the youth group, people still in leadership at that original church,” Marie wrote.

“He tells a story when he’s hired of this poor, deluded girl who tells lies about him. And so they choose not to believe me.”

When rape, molestation and abuse happens, it hurts and can be very difficult to deal with.

As a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a neighbor when I was six years old, I know how confusing, traumatic and long-lasting the pain is.

There are others like Marie.

So many men and women I meet in my travels, like Marie, like me, have been victimized to varying degrees by a predator.

Many of them turn to unwholesome sexual relationships as a result.

Click here to continue reading.

SOURCE: EEW Magazine – Dianna Hobbs