© 2015 EEW Magazine. All rights reserved. Award-winning urban faith-based media specialist Dianna Hobbs has launched the “No More
Secrets” nonprofit campaign to make it safe for sexual abuse survivors to open up.
I was sexually abused at 8 years old and it continued until I was 13 years old by my mother’s boyfriend.

Usually in the afternoons when I would return home from school and while my mother was still at work he would carry out
his horrible deeds. He worked nights, which is why he would be home when I got in from school.

On Friday nights, her boyfriend would also bring other men over to the house to sexually abuse me.  Sometimes, there
was one, but no more than two. He was able to do this because, every Friday night, my mother would be out playing
cards and did not get home until the very next morning.

When he touched me the first time, I knew it was wrong and I told my mother the very next day, even though he had told
me not to tell anyone what he did.  My mother’s response to me was not to tell anyone “because that was how the rent
was getting paid.”  So I didn’t tell anyone after that, not even my father.  

MY STORY

My mother’s boyfriend came into my room, woke me up and told me to come with him.  We then went into the room he
shared with my mother and I was told to get in the bed.  After I got in the bed, he began touching my breasts, rubbing
them and touching himself. He then asked me to touch him and he grabbed my hand and had me to touch his penis.  

He was also talking to me as I laid there crying, telling me that what he was doing to me would make me grow up to
become a beautiful young lady.  He then slid his hand down my pajama pants and began touching, motioning his fingers
back and forth several times.  After he was done, he told me not to say anything and told me I could go back to my room.  

I returned to my room crying, but kept very quiet, because I didn’t want to wake up my two sisters who were older,
because what happened to me, I didn’t want to happen to them. The next day when he went out to run some errands, I
went into my mother’s room and told her what he did the night before and as I stated earlier, that's when she told me
not to tell anyone because that is how the rent was getting paid.

I never mentioned it again and he continued abusing me every chance he got.  

On one of those Friday nights, he came into my room and woke me up and told me to go into the living room. When I got
to the living room, there were two men sitting on the couch. They were smoking and drinking and looking at me smiling.
My mother’s boyfriend told me to go sit between them and I did.  One told me to take a sip out of his glass, so I did. It was
nasty and burned when I swallowed it.  While I was doing this, the other man was touching my breasts and feeling my
legs.  

The man who told me to take a sip, unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis and placed my hand on it and began
moving it up and down. This went on for a while and then he stopped and got up and left the room.  The other man told
me to lay down and when I said no, he placed a gun to my head and said “no one tells him no” at which point I began to
cry and did what I was told to do.

HOW IT IMPACTED MY LIFE

I started eating more, biting my fingernails down to the skin until they would bleed. I began wetting the bed every night
and lost control of my bladder, and would sit at my desk and pee in my clothes, and one of the students would point it out
to the teacher. I began to lose focus. Nothing seemed important anymore, not school, not being around people. I felt so
alone. The joy, the laughter and self-esteem had disappeared.  I began to rebel at home and in school, would talk back
to my teachers or any adult who said anything to me, because I had lost respect for all adults and trusted no one, not
family, not police, no one.  

I felt in my mind that they were all involved in it or knew what was happening to me and chose not to do anything about it,
and instead, let me suffer through the pain and agony.  As I got older, I began smoking, got kicked out of one school and
dropped out of another school when I became pregnant at 15 and had my daughter at 16.  

I started drinking and doing drugs, every kind that you can imagine to ease the pain I was going through. I felt like it was
all my fault what happened to me and was ashamed of myself, and embarrassed. There was a lot of anger built up in me,
resentfulness and disgust buried deep inside of me because of the abuse and many of the other things I was forced to
do.  After all that I have been through, I am truly amazed that I did not lose my mind.  

The strangest thing is that a week before I was sexually abused, my sisters and I were baptized, and I was given my first
Bible after the baptism by my Great Aunt. She was instrumental in first introducing me and my sisters to God and having
us study the Bible and memorize scriptures. My favorite scripture was Psalm 27:10: “When my father and my mother
forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”

Reading this scripture every day is what got me through.  It dawned on me later, when I was older, that my mother was
using me as a prostitute to pay her bills.

So I did what I was taught to do and that was whomever I slept with, I made sure I got paid for it, because in my mind, I
was now in control of me.  Even in doing all of this, I still found the time to read Psalm 27 and even Exodus 20. Over time,
I began reading the Bible every day when I first woke up in the morning and before I went to bed at night. As a result,
things in me began to change. God began talking to me and telling me that I must forgive in order to heal from the hurt
and pain, and find peace. This went on for a quite some time and finally, I was able to forgive my mother and my
abusers.  

However, it took a long time for me to forgive myself for the things I had done to myself, but eventually, I was able to
forgive even myself.  

WHY I AM SPEAKING OUT IN THE "NO MORE SECRETS" CAMPAIGN

I believe having a platform like “No More Secrets” will help so many women become free from the pain, shame and guilt of
their past and let them know that they are not alone and that we stand together. As I mentioned above, telling my mother
at age 8 and hearing her negative reply did more damage to me because she allowed it to happen and chose not to
protect me. Because of that, it took me 39 years to finally break the silence. I shared it first with my daughter Tawanna,
who encouraged me to write a book and tell my story to help other women and give them hope.   

So I took my daughter’s advice and wrote
Mute But Now I Speak, for which I am also working on a film script. This was a
huge step, because it meant I would have to be completely transparent about all that happened to me. I would have
to show the destructive ways I dealt with the pain, guilt and shame. I would be revealing what I did before seeking
counseling, receiving guidance from my Pastor and First Lady, and pouring out my heart to God to heal me from my past
-- not only of the sexual abuse caused by those men, but also from the abuse I did to myself.   

I went back to school and received my GED, enrolled in college at the age of 50 in 2003 and graduated from Strayer
University with my Bachelor's Degree.

The freedom I am feeling now, I want other women to feel. In order to do that they must release the pain by first, talking
about it; second, forgiving themselves for something they had no control over; and third, forgiving the abuser.

MY WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS

My prayer is that, if you haven't already, you would break your silence and speak up so that you too can be healed as I
was and gain your freedom to move forward in your life and receive the peace you so deserve.  

Most importantly, please stop blaming yourself; it was not your fault; you have nothing to be ashamed of.  You are
beautiful inside and out, a child of God who is loved by God.  

Seek God, open up and pour out your heart to God. Cry, scream, yell; it is okay.  Seek counseling if you must and if you
belong to a church, speak with someone on the ministerial staff who will be there to pray with you and for you, and give
you guidance.  

Know that you are not alone and you can and will be healed.  You deserve to be happy and free.
If you have been sexually violated and need to talk to someone, you can do so confidentially and safely with RAINN. Get
the help and support you need at 800-656-HOPE or visit
Barbara Jean Wilson was only eight years
old when her mother's boyfriend set off a chain
of events in her life that, for a time, wrecked
her.

Multiple violations at the hands of multiple men
made her feel worthless.

In Barbara's case, she wasn't silent. She did
tell her mother the horror she dealt with only to
be rejected and not protected.

Today, she is a living witness that forgiveness,
restoration and true peace is possible after
abuse.

This is her story, in her own words.
Barbara Jean Wilson
The "No More Secrets" campaign is sharing the stories of courageous women who survived sexual assault
and are now using their voices to let other survivors know, they are not alone. Warning: Readers may find
sexually graphic details extremely disturbing
DISCLAIMER: The personal accounts of sexual violence you see on DontKeepSecrets.org were voluntarily submitted by participants in the
national “No More Secrets” campaign. These descriptions are based on their individual experiences and memories. EEW Magazine and
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