After being sexually abused as a teenager and nearly taking her own life, Katherine found redemption in marriage to a loving husband. This is her powerful testimony.
When I was a teenager, I was sexually abused by my mother’s husband.
He had been around since I was ten years old. After the wedding, we moved to Canberra as my mother’s husband was a full-time member of the Australian Defence Force.
My Dad has always been in the picture, but he played a minimal role. He believed that women were made to serve men and that whatever the husband said was law.
When I was fifteen years old, I remember sitting on a couch in Dad’s living room with his wife — my stepmother — beside him.
My brother Greg was there as well.
Greg had recently received an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis, and Dad was furious because Mum had not consulted him. I have never seen Dad so mad — neither before then nor since.
Dad had always professed to have a relationship with Jesus. Yet he and Mum divorced due to domestic violence after nine years of marriage. I remember my Grandma — my Mum’s mother — always saying to me from when I was little, “A leopard can never change its spots and your father won’t either”.
Even in my youngest years, I remember defending Dad, saying that he had changed, that he’d never hurt a fly, let alone Mum again.
When Greg received the ASD diagnosis, Dad was as mad as a hippo. He said some words that I have never forgotten: “If your Mum was here right now, I’d hit her!”
Then Dad prayed; he led us all in prayer… to Jesus Christ!?
I remember saying to God at that moment,
“If this is who you are, I don’t believe in you. I hate you!”
My saving grace was that Mum was also a Christian, and I knew from her that Jesus was not like that.
When I was seventeen, the sexual abuse from Mum’s husband started. It did not end until I told Mum when I was twenty-one years old. Mum believed me, but she thought her marriage was more important than her daughter.
I contemplated suicide.
At that time, I was living on a busy road in Brisbane. It would have been easy, but I was afraid of the pain.
The Road to Healing
I was at university in Brisbane, studying law and international business. I was also attending church. Mum had always taught me that whenever I moved somewhere, I should find a church family.
I received counselling from the church pastor, and I also received counselling from the university I was attending. Through this help, I was able to process my past.
Dad had rejected me from an early age, and I was rejected again by the only Dad I ever knew: Mum’s husband. I faced further rejection from Mum, all for the sake of keeping her marriage intact.
Those years were the lowest of my life. I remember praying,
“God, if you love me, end my life here and now! I can’t cope with this anymore!”
Mum’s family had no boundaries, so when I fell out with Mum over this issue, I fell out with my brother, grandparents, and uncle — everyone. I had no family.
I almost married the wrong man, too. I called the wedding off a month before the date we had set. While I was a Protestant, he was Indian and also a Roman Catholic. I was in trouble with his family because I refused to say the Rosary.
To cut a long story short, I lost all my friends because of my breakup with my fiancée. I needed to get out of Brisbane. God heard my prayer and provided a job for me in Mt Isa. And it was there that I met my now-husband.
I had given up on men. I had learnt that you couldn’t rely on them.
I was hostile towards males. I wanted that ‘special someone’, but I’d given up asking God. Nevertheless, God knows our deepest yearnings, even if we’re too afraid to utter them.
The Liberation of Marriage
I have experienced total acceptance in my marriage covenant. My husband knows my entire history, and he loves me still today. We have shared our innermost dreams and fears.
My husband has led me down the ‘traditional’ family route, where Mum stays at home with the kids and Dad goes out to work. I struggled to accept this at first, and we’ve had our fair share of arguments.
But, honestly, this has been so freeing!
Today, I homeschool our three children. I rely on my husband to provide for our physical needs, which he does very well by God’s grace.
My children cannot imagine going to school! My husband supports me when he is at home, and while he is away working at the mines, he is missed.
In a society that considers marriage oppressive, I have found it truly liberating.
I am who I am, and I am accepted no matter how sad or weird I might be. Even more, I am loved beyond measure by my husband.
Isn’t this a picture of how Christ loves us? He loves us, warts, history, and all.
I thank God every day for marriage, and for my husband, a man devoted to him too.
Image by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.