|A Letter to Youth by Chris*|
Hi. My name is Chris and I know something that you might need to know, too. I am 16, and I had sex with my pastor. He was also my Bible teacher at school. I thought he was my friend. I thought he loved me. I did not know I could say NO to him. I feel so stupid and embarrassed. I’ve learned a lot of things since that happened, that I wish I had known before. It’s hard to talk about it, but I thought there might be someone else out there (like me) who might need to know what I found out.
Pastor Bob* is really good with kids. He likes all kids, but he especially likes teenagers. He is good at getting them to open up to him and talk. He spent time with us playing basketball and air hockey, or just hanging out. He played the guitar and sang a lot, too. I told him about my dad and my eighth grade teacher. They both molested me, and I was afraid of men. I was angry inside, confused and hurt. I was mad at God because He let it happen, and I didn’t know if I could trust God, because he is supposed to be a man too, and I just don’t trust men.
I thought Pastor Bob was different though. He told me that he would prove to me that all men weren’t evil. He said that I could trust him. I really liked his wife, too. It felt good to be special to someone. I was still a little afraid of him, so he started our relationship very slowly. He taught me how to trust him and his wife. We spent a lot of time together. It felt good the first time he gave me a hug. I sure needed it!! But when he started touching me inappropriately it didn’t feel so good. I was not sure what was okay and what wasn’t.
See, every kid has built-in radar to warn them of danger, but my radar was tweaked because of my past experiences. Everybody is like a house with doors and windows. When a kid’s been raised in a house that is not safe and peaceful, it’s like the doors and windows are broken out. Anyone can come in. The radar doesn’t work right anymore. Pastor Bob knew that.
It’s sad that lots of kids get molested. Sometimes it’s by someone they don’t know, but lots of times it’s an adult they know and trust. It can be one of their parents, or an uncle, or another member of their family. It can really screw up your head, and hurt your heart like it did mine. All of it is really bad, but I know it is extra horrible when a religious leader molests you. Pastor Bob told me it was God’s will that we love each other. He said God would be mad at me if I said no to him. He said he’d go to jail if I told, and his wife would, too. Now I know he was lying, but then I didn’t. I wanted to trust God, and go to Heaven, but Pastor Bob said I wouldn’t unless I did what he said.
I was so lucky that the right person noticed how depressed and angry I was and took the time to talk to me. They helped me get out of the situation and get help. I was desperate for help, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t think anyone would believe me because Pastor Bob seemed so good. What he did was illegal, and wrong. All he told me was a lie. I believed him, but now I know the truth, and am learning to trust my radar, and build new doors and windows on my house. I’m learning about God too, and He is helping me to believe again.
If you have been, or are going through anything like this, I hope you can learn something from my story. If no one is noticing how you are feeling, I urge you to find a way to tell someone what is happening to you. Write someone a letter or call a hotline. You can find those in the phone book. Leave a note someplace where someone you trust will find it. You can call The Hope of Survivors; they are great!! Anyway, thanks for reading this. You are important and the life you have is worth living well.
[END OF STORY]
*Not real names.
If you are a survivor of pastoral abuse, we would love to hear your story and possibly make it available on this web site for others to read and renew their hope. You can use a pseudonym if you choose and rest assured that all personal information will be kept private and strictly confidential. Please contact us.
Please note: We do not necessarily agree with or endorse all the information contained in the survivor’s stories. We do, however, feel they have some valuable information that could be useful to you in your recovery. It helps to know you’re not alone, that others have shared your pain and have healed, by the grace of God, in their own time and way.