The year my abuse began, I was taken to a Christmas Pageant by my mom. There was the usual santa, fake reindeer, cocoa, candy canes, storytime, and there was a church. The church gave me a book that had 3 pages, a black, a red and a white. The black page was the color of a human soul before Jesus saved you, the red was the blood he shed and the white was the color of a human soul after he made his sacrifice.
There was a paragraph saying that Jesus could free you from all sorts of shackles and pains and a number to call to pray daily. I knew something was incorrect about my relationship with my uncle, but I didn’t know what it was, and my brain was always working super hard to make it normal. “Tori must do these things with her uncles…all girls must do these things with their uncles…it must be like a tradition…”
Anyway, I spent the next three-ish years calling this number twice a day. I called from friend’s houses, pay phones agter dance class, I was late for school, because *I had to pray, because Jesus was going to save me*. I watched religious films with my mom. Jesus saved Mary Magdalene and that “cast the first stone lady” and lepers and blind people and *raised Lazarus from the dead*, clearly my uncle was no match for Jesus.
Except, more than three years later, my uncle still bested Jesus. He’d begun to loan me out to his friends to pay his drug debts. Watching a Jesus film one Easter, I watched him sullenly march up the hill with a cross on his back, and he broke my heart.
He wasn’t even fighting back. I was despondent. He couldn’t even save himself, or any of the other people that were crucified. I was numb. Either Jesus was powerless (see evidence against this above) or I was beyond help (this was my conclusion).
I was unworthy of the miracle of Jesus at the grand old age of almost 10.
Then I was supremely lonely, because I’d imagined Jesus as a kind of Aslan type of friend, and I had no replacement deity. Until now. Now, I have dozens.
Since then, I have come to terms with Jesus. He’s great for some people, and I guess if he could really affect the world in the ways I’d imagined, there would be no child abuse, so it seems he can’t. I doubt he can help and just doesn’t. I’ve seen people take their comfort in him, and so I imagine he’s able to give it.
My mom and I differ because I think the Catholic church in which I was raised, ought to be condemned for all the cover ups they’ve been involved in regarding child abuse, and she won’t throw the baby out with the bath water, as I have. She thinks I’m being dismissive.
My dad cares not.