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When I posted the video yesterday of Jamal Parrish speaking about the abuse at the hands of Bishop Eddie Long I was sure that I knew I would see a reaction. It was those reactions that poured into my email, resounded on our facebook page and comments section that really let us know that this is a story that is much deeper than just the questionable actions of a pastor.

Read: When Silence Gets Too Loud: Sexual Abuse In Black Community

Here are some of the moving testimonies:

Coco Devine via our Elev8 comments section

I totally understand where these young men are coming from and how they feel. I identify with them in a very profound way because I too was a victim to a predator of this nature. I was 13 and in junior high and the vice prinicipal at my school became my mentor, I was a straight A student but I was very shy. I was timid and passive and everyone said it was because my parents spoiled me, I was always the teacher’s pet. This old man showered me with priase and attention and celebrated me in a way that I had not experienced at home where both my parents were workaholics but great providers. This predator saw my emotional vulnerability, I did not need “things” he saw that I needed nuturing and emotional support and he provided that in spades. I trusted him and admired him and I felt special to be chosen by him, however the time cam where I was forced to “pay up” for what I thought had been so freely and honestly given to me by this man. I was sexually molested by this authority figure and my mentor in a school supply room and the media room of the school auditorium just after I had sang on a school black history program. This man forever changed my life, by stripping me of my dignity, pride, self-worth, and self-esteem. I have never been the same since, he robbed me of my man-hood and made my first sexual experience something traumatic, shameful, and dirty. I have carried that scar with me for many years and it has manifested itself throughout my life in many forms. I turned to bad abusive relationships, drugs, alcohol, prositution, and inevitably jail. I have relocated seval times only to experience the same manifestations. I am still in therapy and counseling and I will be 40 in April. I was abused and as a result of that I started abusing myself because that’s what I thought I deserved and was worth. I turned everything I was feeling against myself because on some level I thought it was my fault and I had somehow caused this to happen, I thought I was “bad” and therefore I treated myself accordingly. The world never discusses this truth in our society. I changed my whole identity and became someone else, I totally transformed myself physically and created an illusion of who I wanted to be but my internal self remained the same. I no longer abuse myself or allow any person, place, or thing to abuse me and I do it one day at a time….Be Blessed My Brothers You Are Not Alone..

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Anonymous via email

My prayer is that these young men find healing throughout this situation. From experience I know that the memory doesn’t go away, but it does become less painful overtime. My advice would be to not let it hinder you, and let this define who you are. Continue to ask God for the strength to get through this, and use this as a teaching tool.  –

{If you or someone you know needs help right. Don’t wait! There is someone waiting to hear from you. No judgments just help.Please click here to be transferred to the Online Hotline.}

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Anonymous via Elev8 comments section

It just hurts when you have to go through the whole process by yourself! From the molestation to finally telling the truth to being called a liar to carrying the shame of something you didn’t do wrong to being told don’t report it because you will mess up the molesters happy home to finally being by yourself and facing it alone with no family and no friends and nowhere to turn!!  To not have one family member say that they are sorry for what you went through.  Then to listen to your family take up for all the other molested kids like Sandusky’s victim’s, Long’s victim’s etc but NOTHING is ever said about you, their so-called love one being a victim or better yet when their so-called love one starts to tell the truth not only calling them a liar and then saying why wouldn’t you say something to never discussing it pass 3 minutes to slowly pulling away from you but remaining lovable to the molester feels grand! How many kids between the ages of 8-11 back in the 80’s reported it?  How many people listened?  It’s 2012 and some people still don’t want to believe Long did anything wrong!  Some of us have absolutely NO ONE! At least those boys have each other and I hate that they went through that horrific nightmare!  No child or teenager deserves to go through that.  We never become who we are meant to be and we will never be the same whether boy or girl, our lives are destroyed.  Molesters take lives without the need of funerals and that’s why I don’t feel sorry when they get life in prison for child rape and molestation because that’s what they deserve for the life/lives they just took!- 

{Using a free safe, confidential, secure and anonymous instant-messaging type format, the Online Hotline allows victims of sexual violence to communicate directly with trained crisis support volunteers.}

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Malcolm via Elev8 facebook

I totally understand what they been through because countless grown ass men and women would try the same mess with me when i was very young (countless).. And yeah, as i got older, i did think to myself and wonder why that kept happening to me, like did i do something wrong and i was being punished or was i cursed or something, or did they just see that i was a shy quiet kid that they probably could get away doin that to.. nut then i realized that it probably didn’t matter that i was shy and quiet, because no matter who the person is, if someone wants to do it they will try their best to… So now, i dont trust any man especially around young kids.. I was avoiding reading about this stuff or looking at and news stories about for a long time because it does hit me hard, but i see im a very strong person and i try my best to forget what i saw or heard.. Its damn sad how many people are out there looking at kids in that way and taking their happiness from them before they even start life yet, and by the time they are old enough to realize what happened and see that things could have been different, it will mess then up too bad to think about it, because that would be years of unspoken truth, confusion, and abuse. And all that added to the newly awakened young adult mind and hormones does not make a good mix. It will most likely explode into an emotional volcano, if not they will just carry those thoughts,anger and guilt around for half their life. That feeling will sit fiscally show on their face without them even knowing. it will feel like being half dead, and for some, some of the only ways to stop it is to sleep it off, have a drink, or try really hard to think of other things and or try to forget.

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Michael T via Elev8 comments section

I was a victim too of a pastor.  He was black and handsome and well known in my home town.The relationship lasted four or five years until I became too old to interest him anymore. … I do remember that toward the end of the relationship the physical part had become so revolting to me that I was unable to ‘perform’ no matter how hard I tried (and I worked at it diligently because I wanted to ‘please him’ above all other things). He told me that was ‘all right’ because it meant I wasn’t gay and that was a ‘good thing. The man now looks at me with disgust and has the entire town convinced that I am worthless. So worthless in fact , that I can go nowhere to worship now. I think just where was God in all of this. I understand these men. I am one of them.  I also developed a strong dislike bordering on hatred for the (perpetrator). No one could understand that. … My mother, who suddenly had me around the house again, was especially upset that I was so ‘ungrateful. These guys didn’t ask for this ish so people need to stop saying they are useless’

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These letters came from the heart of people that have watched the Long story and no longer want to be silent.

The truth of the matter is that Eddie Long  walked into 2012 minus a wife. His ego was stroked by how ecstatic his church was to see him at the Watch Services. Many of the members would stand in the pew cheering  the “blessing” that they would get upon their sighting of his “holiness”. Long loves being  the center of attention. He struts like a king on his throne. I am sure that he told  himself that they were there for him, rather than God. He holds power over the weak, vulnerable and wounded. He is stronger then them because like Jamal says., “He holds their secrets.”  His admirers gather by the thousands, feeding his ego and adding to his choice of captives.

Our sister site NewsOne wrote a companion article about  abuse that is worth of reading: Eddie Long’s Accuser: I Couldn’t Wash The Smell Of Him Off Me.

I applaud, pray for and thank each and every one  of you that reached out to me. I hope you all heal one day.

Watch Jamal’s testimony again and think about all that everyone has said above. If you or anyone you know is living with this pain there are people who can help you.

Stop the silence now by reaching out to:

RAINN- 1.800.656.HOPE(4673) .

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