• Christopher Tanner

God Isn’t Real but the Devil Is: Childhood’s End and Five Years of Hell

Warning: The Following is a true story with names changed for privacy and safety.  This is a trigger warning so please be careful if you have a history of abuse as this story could cause a recurrence.

Hi, my name is Josephine and I am 12 years old; I’m in the sixth grade, and my life is pretty good. I live with my grandparents and my younger brother. My sister Nicole, her husband and their two children live down the road. I like to visit and spend time with my sister, so I usually walk to her house and we clean or watch television or something like that.

Today was different though.

Today, I walked there and my sister was not there. He was, though. He said that Nicole would be back soon. He sat down beside me on the couch. Then He started tickling me. At first it was kind of fun, but then He started touching places that my grandma said no one was supposed to touch. I thought maybe it was just an accident. Nicole came home soon after that.

I went back to Nicole’s house about a week later. My nephew was the only one who was there. I sat down in the living room and he went back to his bedroom. Not long after I got there, He came home. I got up to walk to my nephew’s room, but while I was walking down the hall, He grabbed me from behind. His hands cupped around my still developing breasts. I tried to squirm away, but His arms are stronger than I am. He leans over and whispers in my ear “You know you can’t tell anyone that we play like this.” I didn’t like this game. This game made me feel dirty, like I needed to shower. Maybe I am just overreacting. Maybe He will stop this soon, He is like my brother. He and my sister got married when I was only four years old. Maybe He really is just playing.

I am now 14 years old. The game has only escalated. He has gotten a lot braver. He grabs my behind or my breast even when my sister is in the room. He waits until she turns her head and then does what He can get away with. He and my sister argue so much; this is one of the reasons that I do not tell on Him. He hurts my sister already, this news would destroy her. They have two children, children who need their father. So I will bear this shame without complaint, I will do this for my niece and nephew. I feel like maybe I should just stay away, but my sister is one of my only friends. I need her and He is where she is. I have not told anyone, not my few friends, not my grandma, not God, no one. I feel dirty. I feel violated. I feel…guilty.

I am 15 years old now. I am sitting in church. The preacher is talking about how loving God is, how he takes care of all of his children. How if we try, we can feel the loving touch of God’s hand…all I have ever felt is the clammy hands of Him touching my body in places I have never even touched. While He is using my body in any way He wants, I am thinking that I will tell Him to stop. I never do. I am afraid. In church, I feel so guilty. I feel like God is angry with me. Maybe I like it. Maybe that is why God is angry at me. Physically, what He does to me feels kind of good, in a strange way. Does that mean that I want it? I do not think I want it…but if I did not want it, it wouldn’t feel good, right? God lets it happen, so maybe it isn’t wrong…does that even make sense? I cry for God to help and to forgive me. The pastor’s wife says that I should feel God, but I never do; does that mean that he does not want me? I am dirty, and God doesn’t want me- but He does. He always does.


Another year has passed. He has not decided that He should stop yet. He tells me that He knows I like it. He says I smell better than my sister. I still have not told anyone. After letting it go on for so long, I think that my sister would think that I like it, that I want it. What if she thinks that I am trying to take her husband? What if He says I am lying? Who would she believe? I feel that my grandma would blame me. I feel like everyone would blame me. Even if my sister did believe me and made Him leave, would my niece and nephew blame me for getting their Daddy sent away? I don’t want to take away their Daddy. I just want Him to leave me alone. I just want us to have a normal brother and sister relationship. I want these last 4 years to have never happened. God still has not come through for me. Why? I try to do things “the right way”, I try to be a good girl. Why would he let this happen to me? Maybe I did something to deserve this. My mother did not want me, maybe God doesn’t want me either. Maybe this is my punishment for some unknown sin. Maybe I deserve this.

I am 17 now. I want to feel the touch of a boy my age. I want to be touched and not have to feel guilty about it. My sister still has no idea. My mother suspects it. I do not know what made her think of it. She asked me once if He had ever done anything to me. She asked in front of my sister. I denied it. I said absolutely not, He is my brother. They dropped it after that. I almost wish they hadn’t.

One of the best events in my life happened this year. My sister finally made Him leave. He had pushed her past what she could handle. It is kind of strange, I did not really want Him to leave. I did want Him to leave for my sake, but my niece and nephew are so upset. I would be willing to continue to let Him do things to me so that they could have their Daddy. It isn’t up to me, though. He is gone now, but I can still feel Him. Every time I am alone at my sister’s house, I think that any minute He is going to come in, pick me up and carry me to His bedroom. He is gone, but I am still not free. I am now 19 and I live on my own. I thought that after I got away, after He was gone, I would get better. He would not still have an influence on my life. Who was I kidding? What He did to me shaped the way I see sex and the kind of sex that I enjoy. He has shaped my life in more ways than one. He stole 5 years of my life from me.

One drunken night when I was 20 years old, I told my sister what had happened in her house for years. We had a good cry about it. She asked me to forgive her……me forgive her? I thought I was the one who needed forgiveness. I thought I was the one who was dirty and had let this happen. My sister and I talked about it for a while and we have not brought it up since then.

I now know that I was just a child. What He robbed me of was something I was supposed to be able to give away, not have taken from me. He is the one who should be ashamed of himself;, whether He is or not, I will never know. I do not want to know. I know that I didn’t do anything to deserve it. I still have a few things to work on, but I am taking it slowly. I am my own person and He only has as much influence on me as I allow Him to have. I now know that God did not “let” this happen to me because God does not exist. No God would allow something like that to happen to a child.

I hope that someday I am able to share my story to help some other child going through a situation like that. No child should ever dirty, guilty, or ashamed for something that is done to them. My way of getting back at Him will be to help other people. If I can let even one child know that they are not to blame, I will have beat Him. He does not have a hold on me anymore. I am free.

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