I was so angry. Why did it happen to me? Why did no one come to my rescue? My father didn’t even come check to see if I was okay. In one moment, my heart was violently shattered into millions of pieces and it shattered into even smaller pieces every time it happened. Over and over again.
My name is Jackie Sweasey and this is my story.
When I was five years old, the uncle of my next door neighbor was visiting L.A from Guatemala for two months. He would always watch over all the kids while the adults were inside talking. There were about 7-8 children of us that would come over to play at the only house on the block with a backyard. I was one of the older kids. And my little brother loved going over to play basketball. It was our way of getting away from our parents because they were literally arguing all the time.
I will never forget the day it started.
I remember the neighbor’s uncle waiting until all of the adults were distracted when he grabbed me and put his hand down my pants. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t why he did that.
Every day for the rest of the time he stayed in LA the abuse continued and gradually got worse. I remember going next door because I thought that if I was the only one being hurt then he couldn’t hurt anyone else.
The abuse reached a point where the doctor told my mother there was damage done to my body. They asked me what happened and who did it. But I was so scared that I stayed silent. I felt worthless. I felt abandoned. I felt like my life didn’t matter; like I was a nobody.
After a month, he finally returned back to Guatemala. And the next 5 years were my silent years.
I didn’t tell a single soul. I kept this as my secret.
Until I was 10.
Everything that I once archived as a distance memory came rushing back the day I saw my abuser walking out of a barbershop. I thought he was gone. I thought I would never have to see him. I froze with my thoughts and sunk with my heart. He winked and blew me a kiss as he walked out through the barbershop door.
I felt so weak. As if he took all of my power from me. So I finally gathered up the courage. I was going to tell my family.
The next morning I let it all out. I couldn’t help but pound on my father’s chest, screaming and crying as I broke down in anger. He was supposed to protect me. I blamed him for not checking up on me while my mother was at work. That night the cops came to investigate the situation. My dark secret was finally out.
Fast forward to age 18, I moved to Florida to play college basketball at Southeastern University. I had amazing teammates that loved on me every single day no matter how much I fought it. One of them even bought me a Bible that I still use today so that I could read along during team Bible studies. They truly cared for me and not just for me but for my soul. They knew I didn’t know the Lord and made it their mission for me to know Him for myself. Because they were so Intentional, so genuine and so loving to me- I decided to stop carrying all the heavy weight and I asked the Lord to come into my heart on October 8, 2012. This is when my life began to drastically change. I knew God would never abandon me nor forsake me and I was overwhelmed with love in my heart. My teammates and friends fought for me everyday and made me feel so special. Shoutout to Christina Jackson for showing me true character/integrity and how to truly prioritize people that you love. Shoutout to Kalilah Lasenby for showing me true loyalty and how to wholeheartedly listen to others in need. Shoutout to Lauren Wilson for showing me how to be sweet and that it’s ok to show people that you love them.
All I can say is God is faithful and He will bring you through anything and everything that this life throws at you. Isaiah 43:2, it says “When you walk through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned and the flames shall not consume you.” Through Christ, I have learned to steal my power and my mind back. I’ve learned to take ownership because I refuse to waste Jesus’ death in my life by not fulfilling my full potential. Keep God close, stay in His will and you will experience all the wonderful joys this life has to offer. To all the beautiful women and guys who have gone through abuse, I’m sorry. But please remember you are so important, so loved, and so beautiful. You will heal and you’ll be ok. But please love yourself. And in order to do this you have to let yourself feel the pain. Let yourself hurt so you can own it and when the pain is finished doing what it has to do in your heart, you’ll be able to let it go. But please don’t fight it. Your struggle has an expiration date. Draw close to the Lord and love the hell out of yourself. Everything will be good in the end and if it’s not good, it’s not the end.