COURTESY OF AKIBA GRACE ZAKAI
The title of my book says it all. YOU STOLE MY CHILDHOOD, BUT NOT MY SOUL (The lasting horror of child sexual-abuse). There is (still) a little girl inside my heart. For every girl or boy who has ever been sexually or physically abused, there is a place where time stopped. For me it stopped the very day the molester laid his hands on me. My childhood was stagnated by the continued abuse that went on under the watchful eyes of my grandmother.
Nothing could shield me from what seemed to be the inevitable. My mother had turned over her parental rights to my grandmother, and my father was not around. Who was I to tell? I felt like a throw away and abandoned. I grew up with a cloud of guilt, shame, feeling dirty; I felt like a fraud and anything else negative that I could throw into the pot of life. For many years I tried to numb my mind and body with drugs and alcohol. I stayed in abusive relationships because I thought that the abuse was my way of life.
I was hospitalized for a week in the year 2000 and that for me turned everything around. I was at rock bottom. I was not crazy. All I needed was for someone to make me see that I counted in this world. I needed to be validated. The Doctors made me see that even though the molester and my grandmother had been dead for many years, I still allowed them to rule me from their graves. On the third day there, I looked into my bedroom mirror and saw that I was a child of GOD. That day I realized that I was not what had been my past.
There are thousands upon thousands of books pertaining to child sexual abuse. No one has heard my story. Many of us, who have had pain (abuse) put upon us as a child, lash out at others. I turned my pain inward and was hurting myself with drug use. The majority of our children who are involved in crime have a history of some form of abuse. They are the ones who are still hurting. The prisons are full of stories. Children are suffering right today and waiting for a glimmer of courage to come from anywhere they can find it. I am no longer silent, nor afraid of being vocal for innocence that is often lost when abuse is the norm for them.
I hope and pray that I can touch a child or a teenager so that they can have the liberty to tell someone, anyone. I was in my late 40’s before I uttered the words sexual abuse and it was to a therapist. I pray that an adult with a past of sexual and/or physical abuse will see that it is time to release themselves from the bondage of the past. My main objective is for the reader to finally get the courage to be liberated. I want to reach out to the world of men and women who have walked in my shoes. This is my prayer and hope for this book.
This has become my life and my mission; I do not want anyone else to destroy their lives when getting help is the key. A survivor will feel safe from past abuse when speaking with someone who will lend them an ear. Then and only then will that individual feel validated and important to someone, THEMSELVES. They can one day be able to cry good tears and be able to revisit the past stronger, in control and with a freed soul.
I have faith in this book. The message of surviving and hope needs to be imbedded into a victims mind immediately. I could not do it a few years ago, but after receiving the professional help that I so desperately needed, I have made it my mission to speak out about child sexual abuse. I no longer look outside of myself for a SHERO, I weathered this storm. But, it is not about me anymore, I have overcome the pain of my past. I want to share with others my TRIUMP and JOY of today. EMOTIONS HEAL WHEN THEY ARE HEARD AND VALIDATED.
Even as an adult, I had to have someone to believe in me because I still did not believe in myself. Parents need to be aware that they need to watch over their children; especially around strangers and even more they need to watch them around some of your closest associates.
AKIBA GRACE ZAKAI
P.O. Box 1601
Chicago, Illinois 60690-1601
AKIBA GRACE ZAKAI is a Chicago native. As an Author and Speaker in the community, she uses her life’s experience to help and to serve others. Her search outside of herself for fulfillment led her down a road of destruction. “I was still empty, and I was still thirsty.” Some obstacles seemed insurmountable, but her success hinged on the ability to keep on hoping and striving. It was not until her search turned inward did she find out her own true strength.
“I do not regret my past; it is an integral part of who I am today. I have overcome and made peace with my past. The tough times built my character and gave birth to a renewed desire for life. I no longer look outside of myself for a SHERO. I weathered this storm. I am grateful to GOD for my journey.”
Today, Akiba’s desire to tear down the ‘walls of silence’ in regard to child sexual-abuse is a battle within itself. She is, and has been undaunted in her resolve to better the lives of other victims and to express the need for men and women to get the help that is so desperately needed.
Zechariah 1:3 “Return to ME, “says the LORD of hosts, “and I will return to you.”