CG - "It was a destiny that only God and I could determine."
It took me almost 30 years to realize how much a traumatic event when I was 5 affected me. I spent all those years feeling guilty, broken, and flawed because I didn’t make that connection. I still saw the abuse through the eyes of a five year old, I hadn’t looked at it through an adult mind. Once I did, I learned how to heal, how to comfort myself and make myself whole.
When I was five a cousin raped me. He told me (and my sibling who was locked outside the door when it happened) if I was to tell anyone that family members would die and it would be my fault. Six months later my brother told our parents, shortly after that my grandfather died. In a six year old mind, I thought it was my fault that he died, my fault that I was now “bad”.
I was abused by another family member when I was 13. When it was happening I wished that they were dead…within a year they passed away. I again carried the guilt and burden of believing not only the abuse was my fault but their death as well. I started on a path of self-destruction. I spent much of the next two decades trying to kill myself in one way or another. I did not believe I deserved to live. I saw myself as the cause of the abuse, I saw myself in the eyes of that 13 year old, broken and flawed. It didn’t matter what I did to myself I deserved it, I was comfortable in my pain. I never had any goals or dreams because I didn’t believe I was worthy of having them, I didn’t believe I was worthy of living and certainly didn’t think I would or could be happy. I found myself in abusive relationships because it was easier if someone else helped me abuse myself and agreed with me that I was worth nothing. I could accept any insult as fact but never believed a compliment.
The thing that changed it all for me was finding my relationship with my Father in Heaven. Once I realized I couldn’t heal myself, that I needed help from a higher power and handed my pain over to Him I began to heal. I had always told the youth and children around me that they were children of God and He loved them because He created them, so they were good, but I needed to accept that if it was true for everyone else on earth, it must be true for me too. I was His creation and He loved me and wanted me to be happy. He made me with talents, qualities worth loving and a destiny that didn’t begin or end with someone else’s horrible decision to hurt me. It was a destiny that only God and I could determine. I found the strength to go back to school, find my passion and love in life and find peace and happiness. My abuse was my abusers story, not mine. My destiny was about strength and healing and love. The love of those around me, the love of my Father in Heaven and most gloriously….my ability to love myself for who I am and all I have learned in my journey. The good, the bad, the unspeakable and the incredible.
My Abuse My Story - Shelley Harris
"I did not want to continue to live the life I lived so I made the choice to change"
This past month, I recreated my website and an idea came to me about helping victims of abuse become survivors. I put a request out there for others to share their story, so with that I obviously want to share my story as well. Although I have shared my story with a few friends, I have not shared details with the public. I am feeling extremely vulnerable, but if I can help one person with my story, then it is all worth it.
My 2 brothers and I were born into poor to low income family, our life consisted of hard times, low rental (Government Housing) and later a house my parents bought that was falling apart (Picture Below). My Dad was a body man, who fixed cars, and my mom did odd jobs here and there. My Dad always worked hard and provided as best he could. I don't have alot of memories about my Mom, sometimes I think I blocked them out. My parents were emotionally and physically unattached from us, so alot of times my brothers and I were left to fend for ourselves. My mom was and is a drug addict.
At 3 years old my life changed. My dad's friend showed up at our house at 1:00 am in the morning, he was drunk and could not make it home. So
when he came to our door my Dad let him in and told him to stay on the couch. About an hour later, I woke up screaming with this big 250 lb man
on top of me. He made his way to my bedroom and began to sexually abuse me. After what seemed forever my mom came in and pulled him off me, he
was half passed out. He had my underwear off, and his pants down and he was seconds from raping me. I was only 3. After that day, I was
terrified of men. Shortly after that happened, approximately 2 weeks later the doorbell rings, and my mom opens the door, and I heard "The Voice". I screeched,
and cried, I was hysterical. It was "The Bad Man", he came back because my dad told him he would paint his car. Until this day, I cannot
My second close call was when I was 10 years old. I went by my girl guide leaders house and her brother was there, and he told me she
stepped out but she will be right back. He was about 15 or 16 years old. He lured me downstairs to "her bedroom" to wait for her. But I soon
realized it was his bedroom and we were the only ones there. He started to try to take my clothes off and I told him if he does I am going to
scream. He said who cares no one is going to hear you. So after an hour of him wrestling with me to take my clothes off he went upstairs to grab
something. I looked at the basement window and I pushed it opened and started to climb up through it, he came down stairs and I was already
almost out, he yelled at me and said he was going to call the cops, I got out and I ran and ran. Later on, I found out he did this to 4 other girls I know. But they weren't able to get out, and he did to them what he probably would have done to me.
At 13 years old I started babysitting for people in the neighbourhood, and there was a family I babysat for often. I always loved babysitting for them because they were always so nice and would let me have a friend over. One time I babysat by myself, it was a normal night, kids were great, and the parents came home around midnight. The husband drove me home as he usually did. But that night he crossed the line, he put his hand up my shorts. I felt like I was going to scream, but I stayed calm. I started talking about his kids, and then he stopped. Thank God!
At this point in my life I am starting to think I am a target and felt like a marked individual. Meaning predators could tell that I was an
Later in the summer when I was 13 years old I went away to babysit for a family member. These family members were like parents to me, I loved
them with all of my heart. The wife of the abuser nurtured me like a mother would nurturer their child. To this day I still love and miss
her. Sadly it was too good to be true, the abuser started crossing the line by subtle things, because I was aware and sexual abuse happened to
me before, I knew what was coming. I would try to avoid the individual, but one day the abuser came home early and I was in the pool with the kids. The individual came into the pool and the sexual abuse happened. After it happened, I ran, and ran, I cut my leg because I was running so hard I fell. I told my one friend I had up there what just happened. It was the country so my one friend lived quite a ways down the road. I was terrified of going back. In the evening I went back, the wife of the abuser made one of my favourite meals, and I couldn't touch it, I was sick to my stomach. He told me not to tell or he would lie and make up stories. He said I was old enough to take it, and he wanted to be my first. I later found out this family member had taken other girls to the corn field and done stuff to them as well. Sadly my family was ripped apart because of him. It disgusts me that people in my family did not support me, but they supported him.
When I was 18 years old I thought I was ready to "deal" with it, so I pressed charges. I was bullied so badly from my family that I dropped the charges.
I felt like a loss soul. I felt sad, angry, frustrated, neglected, not protected, not loved, and the list goes on. I put all the abuse in the back of my mind and I blocked it out. Years later I entered into college at 18 years old, I befriended a young lady who had had a similar childhood as I did. But she was being raped on a regular basis. She was brought over from the Philippians to go to school but her family ended up abusing her. When I heard her story I convinced her to go to the school counsellor. As she began to share her story, I started going back to the days of my abuse, and the counsellor noticed something was wrong. Needless to say she convinced me to talk about it, tell my parents, and press charges, and that was the first time I told any adults. My mom felt terrible she didn't know, I had been carrying around the other abuses for years and years. Although it felt good to talk about it, nothing changed. My mom addressed it, but that is when the family was split apart.
Through it all, I was always an active kid who tried to make the right choices. When all this crazy stuff was happening I said to myself, I have two choices, I can either become real bad, or real good. I chose to throw myself into sports and be a good kid. Although I may not have been able to choose my childhood, I can certainly choose my adulthood. I did not want to continue to live the life I lived so I made the choice to change. I worked since I was 9 years old on paper routes, and then had a part time job when I was 13. Other then being off when I had my kids I have worked ever since. One great thing my Dad instilled in me
was to work hard. Now lets fast forward to 2010, I started to understand my Life Purpose. Once you start to realize why all these things happened to you, you
start to understand what your Life Purpose is. Every person is unique in their own way. God doesn't create Lego Land people that all look the same, talk the same, and have the same stories. God has a purpose for all of us. I know what my purpose is, do you? Everything that happens in life is to create the person you are today.
Working towards my Life's Purpose in 2010, I graduated with a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (Life Coaching) degree. In spring 2012, I went to India on a Yoga retreat where I also volunteered in an Orphanage. In fall of 2012, I was invited to a private lunch with Oprah. In 2013, I began my volunteer role with It Takes 2 Youth Leadership Institute.
As I move along with my Life Purpose, life really changed for me in 2012. Oprah wanted people to help grow the OWN Network, so as an individual who loves Oprah and Social Media, 30 of us came together to help Oprah build OWN. Now the 30 people (Picture Below) have grown into thousands because of like minded people who want a place to go to for good soul T.V. and a great supportive community. Since then, I became a founding member of the OWN Ambassadors, had a private lunch with Oprah (Picture Below), attended Lifeclass, private get together with Oprah backstage in 2013 in Ontario, regular tweet ups, and shot outs.
One of my Life Goals is to write a book. My Life Purpose is to help individuals overcome the adversities in their life and to find peace. When we can forgive, and let go, we free ourselves to endless opportunities. I share with you because I want to, I share with you because you are loved, and I share with you because you can do it. Let us help you become the strong individual you know you can be.
If you would like to share your story, and give others a voice, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or through the "Contact" Tab on my website. www.shelleyharris.ca
Until the next time...Thanks for stopping by
Much Love and Peace,
Consider it pure joy, whenever u face trials of many kinds, because u know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. -Jame 1:2
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