Pam, Cathy and Amy discuss their abusive father.

According to Pam, Cathy and Amy, their father, Ted Hendrix, a Methodist minister, sexually molested them almost daily for over a decade. They say he molested and raped them from a very young age, for years and years.

Their mother, sadly, was no help, they say. Cathy says, "I was sitting at her feet and she was brushing my hair, and I know that I said something about what he was doing and then she hit me upside the head with the hairbrush." Later, she says, "I told her again when I was in 10th grade. We were having health class and learned the word incest. I went home and said, 'That's exactly what's going on here.' And she slapped me across the room."
Pam, Cathy and Amy confronted their abusive father.

Each of the Hendrix sisters thought they were the only one being sexually assaulted. But later in life, they shared their stories and realized that he had been assaulting all of them and they became enraged. "It was okay if it was just me," Amy said. "It was not okay that he hurt my sisters."

After deciding to confront him about it, Amy says they "found out that his new wife was keeping small children in her home and that's why we decided to press charges."

Ted Hendrix was originally charged with second-degree rape, incest, second-degree sexual offense, and other crimes against nature. Amy, Pam and Kathy all testified against their father. Ted agreed to plead guilty to six counts of indecent liberties with a minor and was sentenced to 36 years in prison. Ted's attorney says they plan to appeal the sentence.
T.D. Jakes counsels sexually abused women.

T.D. Jakes, a minister who counsels abused women all over the world, appraised these sisters' situation. "The conflict, emotionally, had to be overwhelming, because there's a natural instinct to love the father. And yet, when you're violated, you're emotionally confused. You think that if you go public, people will reject you, that somehow it's your fault. But that is what gave him the power. They're invisible walls, but they're very high walls and very difficult to climb over."
At 13, Vernetta's father impregnated her.

Vernetta says that when she was just 13 years old, after years of sexual abuse, her own father impregnated her. She says her parents then dropped her off at the hospital alone, where she gave birth to a daughter, Melissia. Vernetta kept the secret of Melissia's father for years.

"He was abusing all of us," Vernetta says. "There were five kids: one boy and four girls, and all of us got abused. By eighth grade graduation, I was pregnant, though I did not know it. So he sent me to the doctor when my mom went to work. When we found out [I was pregnant], he concocted a story in which I would lie and say I had [sex] with a boy. And I told her that until he left." Vernetta's father left the family several years ago.
Melissia has always known.

Vernetta says she's always told her daughter, Melissia, that they had the same father. Melissia says, "I didn't understand what that meant at the time that I found out. But the older I got, I came to realize that what happened was wrong and I started to feel like I was different. I felt like I had to keep this really big secret about what happened, and if I told anybody, I would be treated different, like an outcast."
T.D. Jakes says forgiveness is not exoneration.

T.D. Jakes and Oprah agree that forgiveness is not to validate anything but the life of the victim.

T.D. Jakes: What we're saying to the victim is that the door is never open to escape until you forgive. When you forgive, they no longer hold you hostage. Anger is an umbilical cord that keeps you tied to the past. As long as you're angry about it, you're still tied to it and the person is still controlling you, even with your rage.

Oprah: The best definition of forgiveness I ever heard is giving up the hope that the past could be any different. I love that definition, because it doesn't mean that you then have to accept the person back into your life. Forgiveness does not mean I now want to have you over for dinner. It doesn't mean I want to associate with you. It just means I will no longer be tied to the past.

T.D. Jakes: That's what people don't realize. Forgiveness is not about exonerating them. Forgiveness is about empowering you. It's more about you than it is about them. Cut the cord that ties you to the past or you're going to lose your future.

Learn more from Bishop T.D. Jakes about sexual abuse and hear other women's stories.