Abused Women Speak Out
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."
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.
"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.
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.