I was sitting there at the bar in a ritzy Manhattan hotel when he walked in.  He smiled at me.  I literally turned around.  He’s smiling at the glamazon that must be seated behind me because I am wearing grey skinny jeans, a bright red t-shirt that reads “EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT MY BLOG,” & red gym shoes. I’ve been walking the streets of Manhattan for 8 hrs.  I am sweaty, my lipstick is caked.  I am not the picture of sexy.  I am the picture of what I actually was: a married Mama of two so excited to spend 2 days alone in the city for a blogging conference she wore RED KICKS (red ring & red sweater but who’s counting?)

nyc

Life stage be damned, he sits next to me and engages in small talk.  He “loves writers” apparently.  He buys a bottle of expensive wine though I tell him I don’t like wine. “You will like this wine,” he says.  I don’t.  He does not hear me, he sees me.  He’s wearing a $5,000 suit, a $30,000 watch.  God only knows about the beautiful, beautiful shoes.  He’s 50 at least.  Maybe pushing 60.  An old Italian man, perhaps a grandpa and I think he’s hitting on me.  Then an invitation to his room.  I say no thank you.  He tells me he “doesn’t give up that easy.” I tell him I’m married, he doesn’t care. Have another drink he says. I haven’t finished the first glass. Again, “come up?”  He’s interested in me, he says.  In the 5 whole minutes we’ve chatted.  He’s not unattractive to me, but he’s  much older and it’s gross.  I think of the scene in Something’s Gotta Give when Jack Nicholson has a heart attack trying to fool around with a girl half this age.

Is this love or is this going to be a one night stand?

I recognize the brokenness in this thought immediately.  For example, why have this thought at all?  Why not be disgusted?  I am 35.  Why should I sleep with a wealthy Manhattan business man when I am married, his children’s age, a Minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ for crying out loud?

My broken thoughts stem from a long line of this.

The first time a boy came out directly to ask for sex, I was 8.  He was 14ish. I believe my face went red and my cheeks hot with embarrassment.  We were perfect strangers.  He’d walked up and told me “it’d be fun.”  I replied kindly, “no thank you,” as if he’d offered unwanted candy.  There in the back of my head was that question just beginning to take flight…

“is this going to have anything to do with love or is this going to be just sex?”

Truth is, I’d all ready had a lot of sex by then.  My Dad & I had not called it “sex,” and given my age it was not consensual though – at the time – I believed it was.

////

modeling-pic1-e1300156008235

I was 11 when I started modeling.  When I look at her I see her sexuality.  This is the picture I would have put on Facebook in 1987. This is the one Mrs. Hall would have blocked.  This is the little girl who knew how to give a damn good blow job.  This is the little girl that says “come hither boys, because I know what I’m doing.” This little girl who was 4 feet, 10 inches tall & barely 80 pounds with no breasts was given one repeated message: the whole of you is for sex.  No wonder I’m hugging myself.

modeling 2002
I modeled again at 25, 26.  As I hard as I tried not to, the photos read, “come hither men, I still know what I’m doing.”  Jesus and marriage aside I didn’t realize for a few months how much selling my body for images and cash would lead to further corruption in my heart.  When I said goodbye to the modeling world I thought I was saying goodbye to “come hither men” all together.

But no.

////

I’ve been propositioned all my life.  No matter what I wear, no matter what I’m doing or how many children are with me, I attract nasty, forceful men.  I’m 36 now, attracting those intense 50, 60 yr. old men.  They don’t care those old men with a life lived and nothing to lose.  They look with greed and edge and a face that reads “I want to fuck you,” with an anger that’s frightening and disconcerting.

It is a violating experience I have come to understand and sadly, welcome.  “Here you are, old man, just like my Dad!  Showing me exactly what I’m worth!”  It’s deep down there in the bellows of my subconscious but every now and then it pokes it head up above the surface and silently, gently asks…

So is this love old man, or is this just going to be a one night stand?

////

In my Church youth group, one the youth leaders lamented what I was doing wrong.  He too, wanted to know why young men were always coming on to me.  He was “ashamed of me,” he said.  The words cut in, drug down slowly, twisted and lacerated my back deep enough to puncture my soul.  Because, again.  There it was.  It was my shame.  It was my fault.  Perhaps, he pontificated, you have “hyper sexualized demons” communicating with other men with the same set of demons.

I trusted this idea because what other option?  It couldn’t be that I fit into the mold Detroit ninjas had decided made a black woman beautiful: “mixed,” “light-skin,” “long hair,” “good hair,” “thick legs,” “pretty face,” and it couldn’t be that men actually saw something in me worth knowing.  It couldn’t be that I had no father, no protection, no parental supervision, no curfew.  It couldn’t be my obvious vulnerabilities in poverty.  It couldn’t be any of those things.

No, the only option was that I had demons.

I had sex demons.

Every time a college boy stared me up & down I wondered, “are my demons communicating?”  When they say “Damn girl, you fine as HELL!” have I brought this on myself –THROUGH MY DEMONS?

When that Detroit police officer pulled me over ONLY TO GET MY PHONE NUMBER did he catch my demons THROUGH HIS SPEED GUN?

///

When a white-haired, 60 yr. old, married, white dude practically broke his neck trying to stare me down last week, I walked it through: “Grace.  You look normal today, you aren’t showing cleavage, you aren’t communicating sexually, your proverbial demons aren’t hanging out, you are walking to your car, in flats with a laptop bag and his nasty ass has nothing to do with you.  Ignore this stank hoe and keep steppin’.”

“This has nothing to do with you,” I say to myself now.  “You have no responsibility for his lustiness.”

This is not love and it’s certainly not a one night stand.

Not every women has to walk herself through a list of truths for every man that treats her like a piece of meat.

But I do.  I do.  I do.

////

Pray often that there is grace for me, for ALL of us broken-hearted, over-sexualized women of the world, still fumbling around with inaccurate, subconscious perceptions.

Pray to God He’ll keep us from the wrong kind of men bumbling into our life attempting a coup on our shaky resolves, our obvious weaknesses.  Post marriage, I’ve encountered two and by the skin of my chinny chin-chin managed to come out untouched, but not unscathed.  Like a dog returning to its vomit I’ve plunged forth, a sheep to the slaughterhouse until eventually the truth poked up louder than the lies.

Pray for us.

Love us, Mrs. Halls. Love us at 8 yrs. old. Love us at 11. Love us at 26. Love us at 36. Give us 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th chances.

Teach your boys how to love too.  Light switch theology doesn’t work here.  If I could have flipped a magic switch to un-confuse myself I would have done that eons ago.

Teach your boys to treat us with value & dignity despite our brokenness, despite our confusion, despite our come hither images.

It is those men who have been Jesus to me.  It’s the ones who’ve looked me in my eye with definitive actions and words and communicated: you are not your sexuality.  Those are the men who have healed.  Those are the men who have pulled a miracle of out their damned hats in rescue of my soul.  Thank God for these men.  Thank God for these men.

Men have abused me yes.  But God has saw fit to use men to heal me as well.  Never forget that.

With the growing number of sexual slaves in the world we who find ourselves unsure as to the relationship between our sexuality and our worth are growing.

We need advocates.

We need truth telling.

We need love rooted in integrity, concern and advocacy.

Through this, I’ve gotten by somehow.

Love > sex demons.

136 comments

  1. Grace – I can’t even comprehend the bravery it must have taken to write this post. It was illuminating, heart breaking, truth filled and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • yes, I agree with all you said, expressing the same sentiment…as a dad…of daughters.

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  2. mongupp

    Praying for you, dear Grace. :)

    Reply
  3. Kay

    Thank you for sharing this. The raw vulnerability gives you such authority to speak on this to all walks of women and men. Christianese doesn’t work, real does. God’s on the move. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Rodger

    You have a story to tell. Try and do it with a less filthy mouth and you’ll get more respect.

    Reply
    • How do you tell a story about filthy men committing filthy acts without letting their filthy attitudes and words enter the story? How dare you tell her how to tell her story? You need to sit and listen and keep your filthy mouth shut.

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      • Todd Holden

        Well done Joy!!!
        Even more well done Grace!!!

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      • George Minerva

        Grace and Joy thank you. I needed this. It is a good reminder. I appreciate your courage Grace and your choice of words. Some things need to have all the sugar knocked off of them so we can see what is really there. My heart aches for you and for Roger. I’m sorry this is happening. I’ll do my part to make this different.

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      • Tim Deegan

        Couldn’t see where she was using a “filthy mouth” myself, anyway. What a sad but, hideously, I bet what a common story.

        Wel done that woman for telling it.

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    • Modumedi

      Rodger, what I want to say is: you’re sick.

      But then, so am I. We are fortunate, Jesus came for the sick.

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    • Chris

      I agree that there is a story here; I disagree that the language is inappropriate. Life is coarse at times and warrants coarse descriptions. There is no reason to respect her words less for being accurate.

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    • Rodger, i have nothing but respect for Grace and for her bravery and vulnerability. She is a survivor, and she has been through hell and back in ways you clearly aren’t even trying to understand.

      This is not your story to tell, and it is not submitted for your approval. It’s okay if it makes you uncomfortable. It should make all of us uncomfortable–and perhaps for different reasons than may come to mind first. Sexual abuse is not something we should be able to talk about and then go about our day, thinking, Cool story, bro. Let’s sit in the discomfort and grieve together for the brokenness of a world that blames the hurting for the abuses committed against their own bodies and hearts.

      This is a hallowed space. You are welcome here, but you may not desecrate it with your own disrespect and insensitivity. We have and will delete comments.

      Reply
      • you guys are being so awesomely supportive and protective of her rights. amazing.

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    • Ed

      Grace writes about being sexually abused as a child and then deals with being sexualized by men for her entire life and your first thought is, “I’ll only take you seriously if you write about it with a less filthy mouth”? Nitpicking comments like yours are one of the reasons why it’s so hard for victims to speak up. If your first priority isn’t listening to the story no matter how it’s told, then you’ve just made curse words more important than creating a safe place to heal from abuse.

      Reply
    • Wow Rodger. If your respect is less because of a four letter word, expressed in the most entirely appropriate manner, than it might be best for you to keep your own mouth quiet and take a minute to feel the rawness of this story.

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    • Dan McM

      If my memory serves correctly, you’re the same guy that told Erika she had a potty mouth for talking about a guy defecating on the floor in her post a few weeks ago? You are a Troll…. a Troll with a capital T which rhymes with P which stands for Pharisee.

      Seriously, Rodger. You’re getting hung up on the wrong details here. Don’t be a white washed wall and cast aspersions at others, figure what’s going on inside you that makes you react this way. That’s the problem you need to deal with, not Grace’s (or Erika’s) potty mouth.

      Reply
    • tell your story. not hers.

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    • Tom

      I strongly disagree. Don’t water it down. People need to hear it exactly as it is happening. Thank you for your brutal, painful honesty.

      Reply
    • Spokane

      Rodger…Sorry dude you are wrong. How judgemental of you! I have tons of respect for her, I think she was very mellow in her discriptions and language. She is a super-hero to share this story that so many women live. She painted a picture..LOOK AT IT!

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    • lori

      Ahhh, yet again, another foolish man setting standards for Grace to follow. Grace cannot and will not be contained by man-made rules. Preach on sister! You live out your name and your identity as God’s daughter is shining ever so brightly.

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    • Maria

      Really? Grace tells a deeply vulnerable story in the colloquial language and you have the gall to hide a stab inside a compliment in response? I am glad I don’t know you.

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    • rstarke

      Shame on you for that wicked response.

      Reply
      • Obviously Grace has enough respect already without needing to change her approach to gain more. She’s all good! Carry on my girl!

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  5. Jean

    I’m crying. Thank you so much for this message. God Bless you.

    Reply
  6. peppy

    Thank you for the way you have articulated this. It is spot-on, told with brave honesty, and clarity. Fighting back with humility and grace towards righteousness is an honourable thing – well done. Many blessings to you.

    Reply
  7. TaNisha

    Grace,

    I am always blown completely away by your transparency. You are an incredible writer and it is my pleasure to call you FRIEND! Thank you for sharing your testimony. I pray that the Lord will continue to use you to share the love of Christ, to help deliver other women with like stories and for the platform of abuse. Thank you!!!

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  8. Oh Grace, Grace…You are an incredible person. Thank you for your vulnerability and for telling the truth _as is_ and for not sugar-coating it.

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  9. Grace, thank you for this post. It was beautiful, enlightening, and deeply personal. Keep cussin’. Maybe it’ll convict more men over their lust and the realities of how our society values women.

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  10. Thank you for these hard-won truths, Grace. I was 10 the first time I was openly propositioned by a stranger (a grown man, and I was not an early-developed child). I, too, spent years thinking there was something about me. It took a lot of work, spiritual and emotional, and the love of a man who respected me, to internalize that it wasn’t me. I’m so glad you wrote this.

    Reply
  11. Ro elliott

    Wow…this is raw beauty…I know walking in the light will continue to bring healing to those wounds no child should ever ever have to endure ….and thank you for helping to bring me more freedom….conviction for the times I from judge from the outside….and oh God have mercy on me who judges wounded souls instead of giving quite prayers and love rooted in integrity ….thank you thank you and blessing to you

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  12. This is amazing, Grace. Simply amazing.

    This opens up a completely different hurt for me, but one that continues to be healed, and in ways that I never expected. Thank you for your bravery here.

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  13. I’m sad. Because it is so often true that victims are blamed for other people’s bad, sinful behavior. I often felt as you did, marked for others leers. I’m amazed at your strength and honesty.

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  14. Grace, you cannot imagine how I needed this. This very morning, I needed this. As my sexually-abused, hyper-sexualized 17-years-old-and-pregnant granddaughter sits in jail because she is lashing out at anyone/thing that breathes and got herself in trouble, I needed this. I need the hope that there will be men who help heal her. As a married-but-has-some-things-in-her-past woman, I needed this. As a grandmother trying to raise 7 grandkids who need to learn how to treat themselves and others as valuable, I needed this. Pray for us, too.

    Reply
    • Natasha

      Praying that God’s presence in the midst of your family’s pain will bring peace and comfort. Your faithfulness to those beautiful grandkids is so good.

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    • Carolyn,
      I wish I was close enough to hug you and spend time with your 17 year old granddaughter! I will pray though. Praying God brings someone into your granddaughters live to speak hope and help bring about the healing and restoration Jesus gives. Praying for you and those precious grandkids!

      Reply
  15. Just – wow. This is stunning writing, and your beauty shines through – raw beauty, not sexualised beauty. I weep for the little girl who hugged herself and I’m angry as hell at the way men have treated you. This story has power. I hope it will unlock many other doors. Praying protection on your heart today.

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  16. Ed

    Thank you for your honesty and bravery Grace. This is bigger than many of us realize. The messages sent are far worse than many conceive. The need for healing greater than we can fathom. For all of that, we need to tell the truth, and you have spoken directly to it.

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  17. Donna

    Thank you Grace for sharing. For putting to words what so many of us cannot. For me, the feelings I got, the voices I heard were of disgust and err. I didn’t see the men flocking to me. Only the negatives. Now, at 42, looking back I see the naive and broken child I was. In a very sad way, my female peers or “haters” ended up my protectors. My already low self esteem from sexual abuse was further kicked down that I didn’t believe myself as something anyone would want. I was in a bubble oblivious to most all. Today, yes, I see it. the men leer. The wives glare. On occasion my husband will say we need to move along and give my hand an extra squeeze. God bless him. Just yesterday, in the grocery. A man asked if he could help reach something on the top shelf for me. I was thankful. Until he turned up again and again. It made me sick. I am a Christian woman trying day to day to live true to God. I cherish my husband and love him. I pray and strive to be an example to my daughters. This I struggle with so often, asking God please show me your will. Please spare my girls the pains I have experienced. He knows I wanted boys, because of all the pain.
    Thank you Grace for reminding me that I am not alone. that as a Christian, I have God and his grace.

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  18. Natasha

    This. This is brave and important. Thank you.

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  19. Thank you so much for your vulnerability. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you. Thanks for this post.

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  20. I couldn’t breathe.
    The raw courage and honest openness here is just…riveting.
    You are a rare story-teller in that you shared something SO exceptionally intimate and honest without it being inappropriate. It’s an all-share without an over-share, and it’s woven with truth to take home.
    Thank you.

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  21. Thank you, thank you for sharing this story so bravely. May you be richly blessed for your vulnerability and courage.

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  22. Deb

    Brave. Truth. Transparent. Vulnerable. Comforting. Thank you. You have helped more than you know.

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  23. Wow… I want to give you a hug and say to the little girl inside ‘it wasn’t your fault’. Your voice was not heard and right now you as the adult are speaking out. You are being heard. You are helping others hear.
    Your bravery, courage, and vulnerability is amazing.
    It was a powerful intense writing.
    I pray you stay strong and stand strong with a knowledge that YOU are amazing. You survived for a reason and you have a story to tell. Keep telling it so others can find freedom to tell theirs.

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  24. Lavinia

    Wow! Thank you for sharing. Thanks for highlighting the absurdity of the demon thing too. It’s beautiful when truth starts to ring out. Your story and grace matters. Thank you

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  25. Grace, you ARE grace.

    Grace. I love you more and more. Because that’s what happens with bravery and transparency and vulnerability and all of those words that are used too much to describe someone doing something like this. Writing this. Telling this. So many of us KNOW this to our very core and we applaud you while we also simply sit with you to cry and think and remind each other of what love really looks like.

    Thank you.

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  26. I’ve read a lot of great stories here, but for me, this is the most meaningful, beautiful, important of them all. Thank you for your courage.

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  27. I’ve read a lot of great stories here, but this, THIS is the most meaningful, graceful, important of them all. Thank you for your courage.

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  28. Thank you, Grace, for your honesty and authenticity. In a raw, hurting world your words offer hope.

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  29. Grace this is my first visit to your blog {via Heather} and won’t be the last. This was so well written. Thanks so much for pouring yourself onto a page and sharing it with all of us.

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  30. Powerful, brave and courageous. Thank you for that. We need your story, your voice, your truth. Maybe we then can all come out from hiding, and escape our own “sex demons”. Thank you, Grace. In His Grace, Dawn

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  31. Grace. Grace. I have no words, you’ve left me utterly speechless. Because this is the Gospel, dear one. Jesus came near. You are saying: Come near to me. Not because of how I look, but because of who I am.

    I applaud your bravery, but even more, I see redemption here. Broken, beautiful grace.

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  32. Erica

    Thank you so much for sharing!! You have opened my eyes to pray instead of judge these “fast” girls out here. They may have a deeper story & not realize they are more than just their sexuality. I pray that I teach my girls their worth before some little boy comes along!! Thank you for keeping it real as you do so well!!!

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  33. I love this, Grace. Thank you for being so brave.

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  34. I have nothing to say, but KEEP WRITING. Your voice is needed. These words are healing others. Please don’t stop.

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  35. Grace…
    Keep writing, friend. You have an important voice and an important story! Thank you for your courage.
    Trina

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  36. Grace…
    You have an important voice and an important story! Thank you for your courage.
    Trina

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  37. Grace, your bravery is stunning. I know that so many women will be helped by your message, and you are a superhero for sharing it.
    Hugs.

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  38. I want to punch that youth leader for making you feel like you were at fault in the slightest. And I have a hunch that his LIE (from the pit of hell) has stayed with you because from where I sit, your confidence and beautiful heart is what makes you so attractive! The looks are just gravy. ;)

    XO!

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  39. JoniG.

    Beautiful! You and your process.

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  40. Beautiful. Beautiful. Will be linking to it later today thank you.

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  41. woman. this is powerful and i sobbed like a damn fool while I read this. you’re named right :: you EXUDE grace.

    blessing.

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  42. C

    This was beautifully written, and I applaud loudly at your resolve, and path to healing.

    I do disagree with one -okay, maybe two, points. You are apart of your sexuality, there is no such thing as separating the two. I’ve had to learn this. As a woman created in the image of God, my sexuality is absolutely a part of me. A vulnerable part of me, meant only to share, joyfully and free of shame, with my husband! But this part of us has been savagely violated! And it is, in fact, an evil perversion at work in the world. (Exploitation, and dehumanizing another for sexual gratification is NOT apart of our God given make up. It’s a sin seed whose roots have so deeply dug down into our inmost hearts and minds that it has now become tolerable to most.) And in our path to healing sexual abuse, physical, verbal, or otherwise, we must recognize that while it is not our fault, it is an attack. And we must arm ourselves with that truth. Because that truth not only heals us, but sets our brothers free. (pray)

    Reply
    • Peter Ackerman

      When Grace mentions ‘you are not your sexuality’, it is in the context of Godly men relating to her. I appreciate this and agree that there is healing in relationships between men and women, that are Godly and nonsexual. I have had them with my daughter, my mother, sisters, co-workers and others. Yes I agree that sexuality is a part of who we are, but(as you also seem to be saying),needs to be put in it’s appropriate place.

      Reply
  43. I’m with Jen on this one – that youth leader needs a GIGANTIC hit upside the head. Oh, my. Time after time, you were abused . . . and yet, by the grace of God, HERE YOU ARE, writing this story so powerfully. Thank you for putting this all down in words, for speaking truth to all of us and to yourself. And you know what? I believe there were demons involved in your story. But those demons are NOT IN YOU. In you, is the power of God, rising up in righteousness and truth. (And thank you for highlighting the wonderful truth that not every man is a potential abuser, that the gift of a good man can be life-changing for anyone, maybe most especially for one who has not seen very many. They are here and I am grateful.)

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  44. You are brave and I am proud of you. You are graceful and worthy of love and respect and I offer you both. And you’re right: each instance has nothing to do with you. You have no responsibility for their lustiness.

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  45. Michelle

    Sigh. Grace, you get me every time. Every freakin time!
    You got my eyes watering- thank you! I love The way you often bring a different perspective to so Many different things. You remind us that life usually isn’t just black & white. It is much easier to tell our children to Unfriend a “fast tail girl” than to sit down & try to Teach them to love her properly, pray for her, or Even possibly see things from the young lady’s point Of view. As always, thank you for your gut wrenching & beautiful honesty. The world is a better Place for it. Finally, I love how you say men have abused you But they’ve also aided in your healing. So true. So beautiful

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  46. Deena

    Wow. As far as the youth leader, he needs prayer and teaching. We are all broken and taught lie after lie by our society. Pray for him. And teach our young men, little boys, babies…RESPECT for God and how to honor His creation.

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  47. Fierce beauty here. Thank you for sharing.

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  48. Christena

    Beauty. Thank you, Grace.

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  49. Jill Vande Zande

    I am honored to call you friend, Grace. You have taught me so much through your truly amazing writing, heart-breaking story, truth, and fierce faith. If I’m even half the woman you are someday, I will be blessed beyond measure. I don’t even know what to pray, except to thank God for you.

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  50. Thank you for sharing that. We are such a victim-blaming society, and you’ve done a beautiful job describing how much harm that does.

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  51. Stunningly articulate. Breathtakingly brave. This post represents SO MUCH of what I love about the internet, and of what I am awed by in humanity: our ability to make sense of our stories and use them to help ourselves, to help others, and to learn to walk through the world with genuine GRACE. This should be on billboards around the world. This is what is true. I’ve worked as an advocate in the abuse arena for two decades, and this is just an amazing piece of writing and explanation. Thank you.

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  52. kim s.

    Awestruck. God used you to strike the perfect balance of grit and grace. The enemy of our souls is prowling like a lion – seeking to devour and destroy…so often with sex…what else cuts deeper then the very way the Creator intended to display the crowning glory of His creation – two halves made whole for one glorious moment of intimacy. Instead Satan has perverted it at every turn – scamming us into accepting a cheap imitation by drowning out the voice of our Father with the actions of the humans meant to represent the safety causing us to doubt we are beautiful. priceless. treasured. He heals. restores. redeems. For glory! For life! For joy! Not for more cheap and destructive imitations.

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  53. You’ve written beautifully and vulnerably, Grace, and I’m so sorry that you haven’t had enough people really see you… really love you… really value you – yet.

    A shift is happening, I believe, as more and more of us share our vulnerable hearts via story.

    A few days ago i read Nate Pyle’s story, teaching his son how to view women, and I believe his is the first in a chain reaction of change (I am praying!):

    Toward this end, he says: “A woman’s body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious. Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings. Let her be confident. Encourage her confidence. But don’t do all this because she is weaker. That’s the biggest bunch of crap out there. Women are not weaker than men. They are not the weaker sex. They are the other sex.

    I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart. Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.”

    I pray your heart is growing stronger and stronger every day – thank you so much sharing with us!

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  54. Thanks for writing this. I don’t have those kinds of experiences, I’ve never dealt with this and the people I know who have aren’t necessarily able to articulate it this way. It helps a lot to be able to hear your perspective.

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  55. I stand beside you holding your hand. I know the abuse. I know the mindfuck it creates. I know the power I have now. You are a fierce woman and I am glad you’re here to tell your story and in telling your story fly that bird to the abusers. They have NO control over you now. (((hugs)))

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    • just have to comment. i absolutely adore that you unashamedly said mindfuck. sometimes the lesser words just aren’t strong enough to give the idea you are trying to convey. Thank you!! <3

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  56. shadowspring

    Bravo!

    Personally, my opinion is that these sexually aggressive men hit on everyone; only those of us who don’t treat them like the scum they are get the more intense come-on. Neither you nor I nor any other girl has “sex demons”, but some of us women have been groomed by sexual predators to not run, not pour our drink on someone’s lap, to just be polite and try not to offend.

    Good for you, that you are now so over that!

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  57. Brit

    So brave, so vulnerable, your story is heard and your heart is held

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  58. I love what you write because it is honest and real. So real, that more women than we can count have endured the same. We need to acknowledge and extend grace, that is what we should be as a Christian community. Thank you for being that voice.

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  59. Once again you’ve left me speechless. Thank you for your forthright honesty — and bravery to share.

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  60. I hurt for you. This makes me feel ashamed to be a man.

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  61. I love you Grace..awesome post.

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  62. Grace i have lurked in various places and read various posts and been touched and impressed by you repeatedly. I was near livid at Mrs Hall’s post to the teenage girls while simultaneously taking no responsibility for her sons actions and choices and responsibility. I posted an Ann Voskamp blog from post-Steubenville and one from Jamie the Very Worst Missionary about how she’s raising her sons. And I am now near to losing the oldest friend I have because somehow she’s reading it all backwards. I wish I could send this to her to see if it would help. Sadly, I don’t think there is a healing in our future. I am hoping for a reasonably amicable separating. But I digress …

    I had to say Thank You. You and I can put words to things that many of us feel but others can’t put to words. My story is not similar to yours in any of the ways described here, mine revolves around chronic medicated depression and grieving. But I know people are blessed by your words. Our words. People have been through what you’ve been through and couldn’t put words to it. Now some of them can. Now some of them can start healing and can seek help and can begin to try to explain what they are facing on a day in and day out basis.

    Keep your head up girl. He continues to speak through you. And, no, none of those leering disgusting men having anything whatever to do with you, keep steppin. :)

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  63. Nicki

    So powerful.

    “though – at the time – I believed it was.”

    YES. Me too.

    But no. It was absolutely not.

    My husband’s love healed me in ways the therapy couldn’t. Although the therapy was essential as well.

    Thank you for writing this.

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  64. This was deeply touching and raw -what a beautiful gift you have to write. Thank you for sharing and for touching on ways God has started to help you heal.

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  65. Alicia G

    Brave, honest and well written. I agree that the men who truly respect women are healing to us.

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  66. Michelle

    I have been delivered from something similar and I want to offer you HOPE. I have come to learn that Lust does attract Lust. When you are delivered, the men won’t notice you anymore. It will actually be weird at first because you’re used to the strange attention but then suddenly you will realize YOU are free. It’s not your fault that you have lust. It was inflicted upon you through your innocence. You can start by rebuking it once every morning. “I rebuke Lust.” Then find a church that offers deliverance. I’d recommend a Charismatic one but it does not have to be. I have been through something similar. There is freedom and healing. Don’t let any religious person make you think this is your fault. It’s not. And the enemy would not attack you so hard if he didn’t want to stop you from your calling. Because he knows you have a high one. And God will get you there… Press into God, He’s your deliverer, he longs to set you free.

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    • SynCallio

      Michelle, your words are well meant, and for some of us they’re true. Some of us receive healing, and it is wonderful. However, some of us do not. Paul pleaded with God to take away the thorn in his side, three times. Who of us is better/more deserving than Paul? Who could ask with purer motives? And God said “no”.

      He said “no” because “My grace is sufficient for you; my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9) Some of us are healed, and some of us are given an extraordinary experience of God’s grace and strength.

      I’m glad you’ve received healing & deliverance. That’s such a blessing. However, there is no formula that works for everyone, and no guarantee of healing or deliverance in this life. You say it’s not her fault she’s been broken; it’s also not her fault if she *stays* broken.

      If you don’t think this is right, please, would you tell me why?

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  67. Grace, you are one of my favorites.

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  68. I pray every day that my sons will be men that heal, and not harm. Saving this for when they can read and understand. (They are babies right now) Your courage is astounding. Thank you.

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  69. Wow.. no words, but may God bless you and continue to make you whole and bring healing into your life! Your testimony is so valuable. I pray I will be the voice and person of love for those who have suffered as you have especially this fall when I go with my church to the barrios in Mexico to counsel the broken hearted. With God’s grace, I will remember you and your plea to love. Thank you for sharing your testimony!

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  70. I love that your name is Grace. It shows that even in the naming you by human standards, God’s divine grace prevails through the brokenness. Thank you for being so brave.

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  71. Beautifully and powerfully writen!

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  72. SynCallio

    This is beautiful. More evidence that God can take darkness and depravity and make beauty grow out of it: Grace, your life is beautiful and you have described it beautifully. Thank you for writing!

    Also, you have the perfect name.

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  73. Bill

    Grace — Your words are direct and to the point. Thank you for your honesty and boldness. I’d really like to hear your testimony of how you became a Christ follower. Sharing your powerful story of abuse and objectification coupled with the power of Christ claiming you as His child would be inspiring.
    As a side note – I find it interesting how some people want us to sugar coat our testimonies. My story involves abortion, alcohol, broken relationships and drug abuse. There are those who are uncomfortable hearing it because of what my life was really like before Christ. I can’t believe anyone would want you to water down yours. It’s your story…thank God for women like you.

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  74. cherie

    Grace, you are a lovely person.

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  75. Jack

    Grace,
    You are light years ahead in wisdom because you uncovered/exposed the spiritual factions that taunt you. Know that your experience parallels Christ’s in that someone else’s sins are thrown on you, and you bear another person’s cross. While we may stigmatize ourselves by identifying with the spiritual faction at times, it is always better to know that they exist and how they work, rather than letting them use us or work through us unknowingly. I hope you can walk in faith with God by doing His Personalized Will for you, because it is only in going forth in faith in the path that God has especially prepared for you that you will get cleansed from inherited pre-programming. Church is great but church can be a false idol if organizing activities at church replaces a walk of faith with God. Family is great but family can be an idol if it kryptonites oneself from doing God’s Will. And of course, self-idol and love of the world buries us all…

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  76. This is brave and beautiful and there is so much healing here. Thank you.

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  77. Leonard

    Appreciate you brutal honesty with this. Praying for you.

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  78. Emma

    Dear Grace. I know Mrs Hall. She is kind and full of grace, and she did not mean pictures like that. She would have been the first to embrace you, and would never have been like that youth pastor. Please understand that her post was not directed at girls who had been abused, but at girls that made bad choices. Girls she knows and loves. Maybe that is too much to ask, and I am sure that she would forgive you anyway.

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    • carla

      “Please understand that her post was not directed at girls who had been abused, but at girls that made bad choices.”

      Those are often the same girl. The reality is that what looks like bad choices to the rest of us may arise from abuse, and unless you can look inside every girl’s heart it’s a better idea to operate from grace than to judge the only thing you can see – the bad choices.

      And why would Grace need to ask for Mrs. Hall’s forgiveness? Being offended by another person’s brokenness and its manifestations does not mean you deserve an apology. I’m pretty sure the apology should go the other direction.

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    • Marie

      People who are full of grace don’t say “no second chances.”

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    • “Please understand that her post was not directed at girls who had been abused, but at girls that made bad choices. Girls she knows and loves.”

      I think that’s what I was trying to address here: being a girl she wouldn’t have known AND being a girl making bad choices. I wanted to touch on the idea that maybe the girls making bad choices are the *exact* ones we need to reach out to as opposed to shoo-shoo’ing them off in protection of our boys.

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    • It makes it worse that Mrs. Hall wrote that post for girls she actually knows. How horrifying it would be if I was one of those girls and read a viral internet post directed at me. These girls are CHILDREN, for God’s sake. If she only wanted those specific girls to read it, then she should have sent it to them individually. She chose to post it on the internet where teenage girls from all walks of life could read it and feel shamed by other Christians. A little more care, tact and GRACE would have gone a long way.

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  79. Theresa

    Grace, thanks for sharing…. this is the story of so many women. But so taboo for Christian women to mention. You just let the cat out of the bag and have given us all much to think about. Yes, confusion can creep in, and given the whole story, why wouldn’t there be confusion. Anyway, great work and I’m glad for all the blessings and support you have been given for your transparency. I’m sure there is even more that you have to share with the world. Keep writing.

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  80. Steve

    Thanks, Grace, for this story so full of grace and truth….

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  81. jilliann

    Grace,
    Your courage is inspiring – your voice is important – so many women needing to know and understand their true worth – and God’s grace. Keep writing.

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  82. Juliet

    Thank you Grace, for your truthtelling, that is balm (and “grace”)to the spirits of many with same and similar stories. Blessings on you and your journey.

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  83. Peter Ackerman

    Thank- you so much Grace! Your respect and affirmation of Godly men is a blessing to me. I see Jesus in you! Yes, my heart goes out to abused people. Love is greater then sex demons!

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  84. Bonnie

    I am so impressed with you honesty, your faith. This was so honest and straight forward! I love your writing!
    Amazing that “Roger” was put down, and never came back!!!! You tell a story, you tell like it is! Thank you!

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  85. Having met you and having seen the truth of your heart shine through your eyes… This makes me want to wrap you in a loving embrace and awakens the momma fight that wants to turn around and slay all of those demons that have attacked you. Because. You are worth it.

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  86. Thank-you so much for sharing these thoughts. I also experienced sexual abuse at a young age and for awhile struggled with “what is about me that screams sex?”. Thankfully the Lord also filled my life with men who saw me and not my sexuality. Letters/posts like Mrs. Hall’s fill me with so much sorrow and anger; your post hits dead center on one of the main reasons why.

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  87. Grace, thank you.

    Too many have never spoken it.

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  88. No More Lies

    This has been my existence since I was 12 years old. 30 years later whenever some creepy, disrespectful man pays me unsolicited attention I run through a mental checklist of what body parts might possibly be too exposed or prominently featured (let’s call it the boob and butt check). No matter, though. I almost always come to the conclusion that it’s all my fault. I’ve actually been told that on more than one occasion. Whenever a decent-seeming man pays me some respectful attention I have to fight off the voices that tell me no decent man would ever be interested in me. It’s a trick. I’m reading the situation wrong.

    This is no way to live. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.

    P.S. I didn’t realize there were this many sex demons (I was told that too). You’d think they’d all be busy on the sets of porn movies or something.

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  89. Bonni Korcok

    Thank you, Grace! and thank you, too, so many of the women who responded. I just wanted to add that I’m a mother/grandmother of 7 girls. My grown daughters who, with the Lord’s help and the unusual and blessed condition of being raised under the protection of praying grandparents and parents (and others!), made it to 20s with virginity still intact. They, like you, don’t dress to attract inappropriate attention from guys. Neither do they stand out as odd, awkward, over-protected Christians (I’m not trying to judge others, trying to express something in writing is Hard!)….but, even so, are regularly approached with these sinful offers by some men, occassionally stalked for the day (or week), and outright scoffed at as being liars by worldly people when at some point they mention they don’t have sex stories to tell. Also Christians have said similar harsh words as were said to you.

    In other words, take out the heart-rending awful thing that should never have happened to you and to so many other innocents…and the story is still relevant and similarly happening to many pretty women who are just trying to love God and live life. Yes, a daily attack by the “little ‘g’ god of this world” and his minions. And, believe me, that includes the mind-rape, the constant self-scrutinizing, and self-esteem warping (though not at the level, I assume, of those who have also been physically abused) that can happen as expressed in this story.

    I appreciate the story so much, for so many reasons, and once again see that we women are all suffering in this sinfilled world and need to constantly uphold one another in love and non-judgment. Two reasons the attack happens come to mind: John 10:10 “The thief (satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy…” If he can’t destroy us, he’ll do his best to kill our relationships; if he can’t kill those, he’ll at the very least steal the joy of them best as he can. Thank the Lord, the rest of the verse is Jesus rebuting that with “but I have come that they might have Life and that more abundantly.” The second reason is because the enemy (satan) knows better than we all do God’s plans for Himself and part of that which has been written throughout the Word, is that God wants to be so initimate and one with us individually and then collectively as His Bride and forever Wife, that he gave sex and marriage as a very real picture of what He’s after in becoming one with mankind…and the enemy is doing everything he can to scramble the picture. Thank you, Grace, for being one of the voices trying to bring the picture back into focus.

    May we all pray against the enemy’s attack in this way, and stand shoulder to shoulder to protect all our sisters and brothers from the evil onslaught of the world and the wounds to body, soul, and spirit. May the Lord continue to strengthen the voices of writers and pray-ers, to help us all see Him and the healing He brings both directly and through His people. May the Lord return for us all soon…”Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!”

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  90. Pamela

    Well said, Truth Teller. Your inner beauty is radiating through your words.

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  91. irene schepis

    Oh Grace, you are indeed amazing. I along with a group of other women have been reaching out to women in the adult industry with a little gift bag and our card that says you are valued, loved, precious. We don’t preach, don’t tell them they need to get out of the business, we just show them, by showing up, non judgemental love. We love them right where they are at. Your blog confirms for us. Love is the key, love is greater than sex demons and we pray every month that the girls will see the unconditional love of Christ in us. As you stated. This is what brings healing and transformation. Not words of judgement. Your words expressed the shocking, painful reality of what sexual exploitation and abuse looks like. Thank you for your courage to share. I know this will help countless others that have walked or may still be walking down this path where you have been. You are awesome!

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  92. Nyutu

    Very brave and touching story. I had no idea…

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  93. What a powerful story. So vulnerable and raw. Thanks for sharing.

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  94. All I can really say is thank you for your honesty and courage. Keep steppin’.

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  95. I am thrilled to read the powerful blog. You are so eloquent on a topic not usually conveyed in such a powerful way. Power, power, power is what I kept feeling as I read this.

    As one who experience childhood betrayal by a great-grandfather (preacher no less) I am moved at your accounting of yours. I know I went through life thinking I had some kind of un-natural target on my back and was a catalyst to my becoming a counselor/advocate for victims of rape/sexual assault. Subsequently, before my retirement I had written a series of 11 suspense novels (Greyhound Lady Walking–real cases fictionalized to protect the identities) and a non-fiction accounting of an 11 year old victim’s story (Footsteps OUt of Darkness: the Annabelle Kindig Story.) I tell you that not to sell books but to salute that you are leaving your legacy in writing, as I did mine.

    KEEP WRITING; YOU ARE GETTING THE POINT ACROSS MY FRIEND.

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  96. John S

    Grace, Amazing Grace! Thank you for your bravery. Just wanted to let you know you made a 37 year old, 200 pound man cry. My niece was a victim of childhood sexual abuse from age 7 to 9 at the hands of her mothers boyfriend, which lead to her being a teenage runaway and prostitute. She was also cursed with sex demons her entire life and til this day battling against them. With the grace of God and an unconditional man in her life she is now with child embracing the future of motherhood and trying to put the past behind her. You are strong and the grace of God is with you. Thank you for being an inspiration! God bless you my dear!

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  97. Shelby Prater

    Awesome story. thanks for sharing, Grace.

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