The Tragedy Of Incest
THE TRAGEDY OF INCEST
I stood in the shed. Waves of dread and hopelessness flooded me, while fear gripped my stomach. Dad was home this weekend. I knew what that would mean, and the thoughts brought with them a wish to no longer be alive.
I was an only child growing up in a land where I had not been born. This alone bought its challenges, as I was torn between two cultures; growing up at home in one culture, and yet trying to adapt and adjust to another so that I could be accepted. My culture at that time was one of male dominance, and children were to be “seen but not heard”. This meant never answering back, a good thing considering much of today’s disrespectful youth; however, with it came a fear of speaking out.
Incest at that time seemed to not be spoken of, at least not in the circles where I grew up. I had never heard of anything of the sort happening to anybody else. Let’s be clear; incest is incest whether it involves penetration or any other form of sexual intimacy. Anything of the sort that involves a parent/relative with another member of the family is an offence to God.
“No one shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness (have intimate relations). I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:6).
My father’s employment meant that he would often not be home for a week at a time. He had begun to drink more heavily and this eventually led to him becoming an alcoholic. When he was home, the atmosphere was wrought with tension, and his loud angry tirades, sometimes erupting into violence, would intimidate the family into silence (my grandparents lived with us).
During his absences, I was able to “enjoy” life to a degree. There was a limited sense of freedom, because as the days drew nearer to his return, the sense of foreboding returned.
I can’t remember how it started, or how long it continued for. I think it started at some point during when I was between age10-11 and continued on until I was 14-15; memories are hazy.
What I do remember are the thoughts. Was this normal? Did it happen to other daughters, and if so, why didn’t anybody talk about it? Was that because they, like myself, had been told not to tell anybody? I was too afraid to tell anybody anyway. Would anybody believe such an unthinkable thing? Then there was the feeling of shame and disgust. I was under the domination of my father; I was to tell no one; I had this secret locked inside of me; I was helpless; I was trapped.
One thing that is very vivid in my memory is the night I was in bed and heard loud voices coming from my parent’s bedroom. Then they both came into my room and mum said they both loved me very much. That was the end of the abuse. I suspect it had all somehow been brought to the light.
That been said, it was never mentioned by either of them to their dying day. There was no apology; no explanation; no words of concern for me and the impact it had had on my life. One day when I was about 17 my mother said, “It’s better that you get married as soon as possible as you are the cause of all the problems in this house”.
It had a profound impact on my life. I became withdrawn, extremely shy, very insecure, fearful of people and without knowing it, depressed. Even after the event, it was extremely hard to concentrate on schoolwork. I was not part of the “in crowd”, in fact I had very few friends, accentuated by the fact that I was hardly allowed out even to go to anyone’s house without an intense interrogation and threats from my father that he would take a knife and scar my face if I got pregnant; in any case, the thought that I had a tirade to face from an angry sulking father when I arrived home made it almost impossible for me to enjoy my outing.
I married when I was almost 19; far too young and immature. My husband was also quite dominating and while we were OK for a while, it wasn’t long before I had to put up with his verbal abuse and negative comments toward me. So now I had two types of abuse. Pent up fear, anger and frustration would cause me to erupt in anger and shout and yell. After all, nobody knew what I had been through! Why wasn’t there anybody that I could tell! I needed to tell somebody, to have somebody listen to me and understand! There was a silent scream within me calling out for help.
This verbal abuse and negative input caused years of depression to take over and was a huge contributing factor in causing a marriage separation which ended in divorce years later. I am not speaking of simply feelings of depression, but depression as an illness. I didn't know I had it, as I had lived with it for so long, and thought that the way I felt was "normal". The doctor put me on anti-depressants to help me get through a very difficult time.
But then, GOD……..
In my late thirties, Jesus Christ came into my life and so began a journey of transformation, which accelerated after I was water baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit. That journey is nowhere near ended, but when I look back on my life, I can see that the hand of God has been on me. He has been leading me, guiding me, speaking to me and delving into my innermost parts and bringing change.
I was once a fearful, quivering child, shy, withdrawn and frightened to talk to people; helpless and with no hope for a secure future. I was once an angry adult, exploding and lashing out; I was once filled with guilt, fear and shame; as well as that, after years of negative abuse from my husband, my mind was filled with how useless I was and how I would never amount to anything, and that nobody else could ever want me or love me.
Now I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I speak the Word of God with boldness. I am not afraid to speak to or challenge any person. The guilt, fear and shame has been replaced with my identity in God. I am a child of God. My mistrust of men has been replaced with my belief and trust in God. My Heavenly Father has seen all that has happened to me. He was there every step of the way and He saw fit to reach out and pick me up out of the miry clay and to set my feet upon the rock, the solid rock of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The enemy knows our weak points, and how to attack us. I still have "low" days when words of friends have hurt me, or people have "silenced" me by being unwilling to listen, etc., but I rejoice that God has given me the strength to not stay "low". Prayer, Worship, the Word, His Promises, and the encouragement of friends lift me up very quickly.
I know many have been through far worse than I have, and my experience is perhaps ‘a drop in the bucket’ compared to yours, but no matter what, there is hope in the Lord. I share this also for you to know that you are not alone.
I have completely and utterly forgiven both my parents. I know this because I can speak of this without feeling at all angry or upset in any way. Even though we never spoke of it, in my heart there are no unresolved issues, no words that now need to be said by them or to them; all has been settled by the cleansing blood of Jesus over my life. By God’s grace we can forgive and keep on forgiving, regardless of whether the other person has apologised or acknowledged their wrong. We are to “forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead, pressing toward the goal to win the heavenly prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).
I would add that my father abandoned alcohol a short time after I was married, and never drank another drop. He too, in his own way, was seeking to put his life right. He too, must have had hard memories to put to rest, as well as the memories of war-time trauma. I do believe I will see both parents in heaven, as I was told that on my father’s death bed, he inquired about eternal life, and received his salvation in Jesus Christ.
“For we know (with great confidence) that God (Who is deeply concerned about us) causes all things to work together (as a plan) for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose” (Romans 8:28).
The writer of this message wishes to remain anonymous, any responses or communications with regards this message can be sent to: The Gospel Faith Messenger Ministry