According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized. And children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13. The statistics are staggering, and no one can deny that this is a real issue. Yes, when we read this our hearts sink and we question, if this world could possibly get any worse. Or we think, “there is no hope”. But not according to Austin. Though she may have been a victim of sexual abuse at the young age of 12, she didn’t let it define her or her future. She was courageous enough to share her story, and offer hope to those who may have or are a victim of sexual abuse.

I was twelve-years old when I was sexually assaulted by my uncle. It was Mother’s Day weekend, and for the holiday we had made a trip out east to be with my stepdad’s family. On our last day away, my parents, aunt and grandmother decided to go shopping for the day, leaving my uncle in charge of my cousins, my sister and me. Little did any of us realize that my family’s daytime shopping adventure would be one of the worst decisions of our lives.  Over the course of that day, a day that seemed to last for years, I was tortured physically, mentally and emotionally. My uncle touched me in ways I didn’t understand, except for the fact that I knew they were wrong and that I was being violated. I was scared, afraid, mostly petrified. Being the oldest, I stayed composed for the other kids on the outside, but really, I was crumbling to pieces on the inside. All day all I wanted was my parents to come home. All day I thought, “Just ten more minutes and they’ll be in the driveway. Ten more minutes and he won’t ever be able to touch me again.” But one hour past after another and they didn’t come back. And until they came home, I suffered the consequences. That day I ran from here to there- inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs- just trying to escape. But I couldn’t. I was trapped in that house. There was no possible way of getting away from him. I was helpless. But yet, I questioned if I was really helpless, if I was actually a victim; I thought maybe his actions were from my own doing. I thought I did something wrong, I instigated it and thus, I cursed myself. I screamed inside, why, WHY did you let this happen? And because of that, slowly, my soul deteriorated.  I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t know what to do. I felt I had tried everything and it was about time I just let go. I was giving up.

But, all of a sudden, at that last moment of letting go, something happened. One final thought, one little burst of hope came to my mind. For the first time in my life, I did something I never would have thought of doing in the past. I didn’t know how to do it, but I knew I would figure it out. It was my only option and something was telling me to do it. I know now that the Lord was yelling at me to speak to Him, to just call on Him. And in that moment, I listened to the hope growing inside me, lowered my head, closed my eyes, and in May 2004, I prayed to God. When I did, the entire world stopped and the next thing I knew, a shield lowered itself around my body.

From that point forth, nothing, but a few strokes to my hair, was all my uncle was capable of doing. I was untouchable. God made me untouchable.

From the Editor
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