I was six years old when I was first violated by my mother’s friend's boyfriend and his son, though not at the same time.
We were neighbors residing in the same apartment building.

I didn’t tell after the first time when the son raped me because I was told not to tell. I was scared.  After the father did the
unthinkable, I was ashamed and felt guilty.

MY STORY

My mother’s friend's daughter and I were friends and sometimes we would take turns playing at each other's house and
this particular day I went upstairs to play. My mother’s friend allowed her boyfriend and his son to come and stay with her.
The son would be in the room with us while we were playing. They would often check on us from time to time to make
sure we were ok if they didn’t hear us. They would occasionally put him in charge of watching us while they ran errands.

The first time, I was playing and he told me to come here. I was hesitant at first because I knew not to have dealings with
boys. I was only six. I just didn’t understand why I would need to be bothered with him. He said “I want to tell you
something.” So I went to him and he whispered in my ear “Let’s play. I like to play too.” Then he said “Give me a kiss.” I
told him No! I’m not supposed to do those things." He quickly began to tell me that
we were just playing. It was a different
kind of playing. It’s not bad no one will know. You won’t get in trouble.

So I kissed him on his cheek. He said no, on the mouth. So I kissed him on the mouth. During this time, he had
repeatedly told my friend to continue making noises, and keep the door open. After that he told me to go finish playing. I
went there again about a day later and this time I didn’t get to play that long before he told me to come here again. He
told my friend to keep the door open, and keep playing. He told me to give him a kiss. I did. He told me to pull down my
pants. I knew  at that point, it wasn’t the kind of playing I was supposed to be doing.  He said if you don’t do it, I will tell
your mom about the kissing.

He said, "I’m gonna pull down my pants first." He pulled down his pants and exposed himself. He told me to touch it and
don’t be afraid. He took my hand and guided my hand to touch his genitals. He told me to kiss his penis. I did. Then he
pulled down my pants and began fondling me and put his fingers inside me. He told me to kiss his penis again and this
time to suck it. I did, and was told not to stop. He also masturbated and had his hands in my pants. He put me on the floor
and inserted his penis and began pushing. He kept saying, "It’s ok, just relax," because I was hurting. He stopped, and
told me to finish playing.  

The next time I went there, just after getting there, the adults had put him in charge of watching us. Immediately, after we
heard the door lock he said come here and the routine had always been to give him a kiss. He took his pants off and
mine, laid me down on the bed and began fingering me. Then he stopped and began going down on me. He put me on
the floor and inserted his penis. He kept pushing and pushing while putting hickies on my neck.

Everything changed when my mom saw the hickies. She stopped me from going there. He got kicked out, but my first time
going there after things had died down wasn’t good either. I rang the doorbell and the boyfriend answered the door. The
house was quiet and he told me my friend was in the room playing when I asked if my friend was home. He followed me
down the hall and when I got to the room I saw she wasn’t there. He grabbed me and was trying to put his hands in my
pants. I kept pushing his hands away and broke away.

Once I did, I ran and got out of the house. The next time was different. I went there and he lied and said she was playing
in the room. This time, I got to the room. He grabbed me by my arm and shoved me in the room. Immediately, after
getting me in the room he began saying how I wasn’t getting away this time.

He locked the door. He pulled down his shorts just enough to expose himself and made me perform oral sex on him. He
went on telling me he liked me and was telling me I was a nice girl and pretty. Then he took my pants off and put me
against the wall. He picked me up a bit and put his penis in me and began thrusting. While he kept forcing himself on me,
he told me he liked me, and he liked the way I felt. He kept making me say I like it. He said, "My son was stupid he put
those hickies on your neck, but you don’t have to worry about me. I’m not gonna do that."

He told me, "I want you to be my little girlfriend." He asked me to be his girlfriend. I didn’t say anything. He said, "You
better say yes," so I said yes. Afterwards, he told me not to say anything or "you're gonna be in trouble because I’ll make
you get in trouble." Then he let me go home. After that day, I never I saw him anymore. He had moved out.

I was 22 years old when I told my mom about what the father had done to me.

HOW IT IMPACTED ME

The violation mentally had me somewhere else. I felt like it was my fault. I should’ve done something else. I suppressed it
because no answer was good enough to suffice or answer my "why" questions. I felt empty and helpless and it made me
question my worth because all I could think is “why me” with our age differences. The son was 18 years old and I couldn’t
understand what he wanted with me at six. I was taught to stay out of grown folks conversations and that my place was
with the kids. So it made me wonder, "Is this what I’m good for?"

What really made me lose hope was when nothing was done about it. We went to court and the case was dropped due to
not having enough evidence. The son got kicked out the house, but, for me, that wasn’t enough. That messed me up
really bad.  All I could think was “That’s it?!” “Who is gonna stick up for me?!” “No one is gonna help?” “How does he get
away with this?!” After that I carried around such disappointment, and feeling like I had no protection. I grew very angry
with God because with all I was learning about Him, things just weren’t adding up. How could such a loving God allow this,
and let them get away with it while I’m left feeling all the hurt? I felt like God didn’t care about me and doesn’t look out for
me, so I have to look out for me.  

I didn’t become promiscuous, but I thought that there were certain things I had to do to please a guy. Not long after that
last encounter with the father I began masturbating, and later I began watching porn. It was so twisted that something so
wrong would lead to me engaging in such a perverted act.  Even though I knew it was wrong, it was my first sexual
experience. It created very conflicting emotions within me as I got older. I thought that I had to engage in  different acts to
please guys. I was fighting with being my own protector and being selective gave me this sense of control because I felt
powerless.

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

As I was going through my own process of dealing with this and trying to find out where was God in the midst of
everything, while I was crying for myself, I was crying because my story is more common than rare. I knew the pain I was
feeling and that I wouldn’t have wished it on my worst enemy.

The "No More Secrets" campaign is important for that very reason: this is more common than rare. So when we break our
silence it liberates us as well as the others. Exposing the truth and the secrets of this evil reveals the patterns, which will
help someone else recognize those same patterns, creating more awareness.

I believe it is also important not only that women in general should break their silence but also Christian women. It’s
about honesty and saying we don’t have it all together. It starts with tackling the hard questions that are too painful to
think about.

MY WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS

What happened to you is not your fault. You don’t have to carry this weight. Let this be the time that God shows up the
way you need him to. I promise you He will. One of the most beautiful things about God is that, unlike our abusers who
have forced themselves on us, He does not do that. It is in His love that he patiently waits for us.

Your desire for freedom and peace has to be deeper and stronger than the pain of your detox. It was a very painful
experience and most of the time my counseling sessions consisted of me crying, but it was also a good time.

Tell God everything, go to him, and get to know him. This is what he told me as I was laying on my couch one day. My
mind was racing and He said, “Tell me everything.” So I began to tell Him when it started what happened first and last,
and how I felt about it all.

I sat on my floor, talked to God like he didn’t know what happened. I didn’t understand it then, but it was during that time
that I began giving my issues to God and letting him take away the weight. You are not alone. You were never alone.
Don’t believe that lie. His plan is for you is to have a life of freedom and not this torment. He has good thoughts about
you. He loves you.

Your future doesn’t have to be filled with the pain of your past.
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
Lakiesha Barleston was taught to stay out of
grown folks business, never imagining that
grown folks would rape her at six.

A play date in her friend's room became the
scene of a crime -- one that would be
committed repeatedly.

After being violated by both a son and his
father, her trust issues ran deep, leaving her
grappling with conflicting emotions.

How could she heal and accept God's love?
She shares.

This is her story in her own words.
Lakiesha Barleston
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
sexuall
y graphic details extremely disturbing
© 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.
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
RAINN shall not be held liable for any statements, views or information shared. Testimonies do not necessarily reflect the views of EEW,
RAINN, Lamp Mode Recordings, or any agents or affiliated organizations