We have read and heard several stories of sexual and physical abuse but the more stories we read and hear the more our hearts break. No one deserves to experience such life-shattering and devastating ordeal and definitely not a 10-year-old. But Niqui Bishop, a US based single mom of one was only 10 when she started experiencing severe physical and sexual abuse. And it got worst — the abuses didn’t stop until she found the courage to run away from home at 14.
Niqui’s story is one that inspires hope because not only is it prove that our past doesn’t define us, but that no matter what we have been or going thought, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Please read this very touching and inspiring story as shared on her blog…
“Scrolling through Instagram this past weekend I stumbled on the hashtag #ShareStrong where Kate Upton asked women to share what makes us strong. I immediately thought of the two little girls that gave me a strong backbone and a determined strut. They drive me every day to be the strongest, fiercest version of myself.
The little girl
The first little girl I’ve known her for as long as I’ve known myself. She is a quiet, withdrawn and sad little girl. Several weeks ago my friend Shannae Ingleton Smith shared a quote that said “behind every strong independent woman is a little girl who had to learn how to stand up alone without depending on others.” That quote resonated with me then, and has stayed with me since because I know that little girl well. And she is still very much present. I hurt for her sometimes too. So much so, that her pain and struggle are as real as if they just happened yesterday. My eyes are burning with unshed tears as I type this, because that little girl is the much younger me.
My physical and sexual abuse began at the age of 10. They were both intertwined with each other because if I didn’t give in to the sexual advances, I’d be punished for some trumped up offense. Punishment too was not just a beating with a belt but meant kneeling on two industrial sized graters for hours. Many nights I’d kneel on the graters until I could no longer feel my knees. Sometimes, when I thought they were asleep, I’d slip off the grater to give my knees a break. I always got caught though. This then signified a beating plus an even longer stint on the grater. My knees stayed scarred with the indentations of the grater.
Yes, I’d be the first to admit that I probably have PTSD as little things often trigger the agony of that hurt little girl. To dim them, I usually forcibly channel my thoughts to present day so I wouldn’t re-live the experience. The memories themselves are a mental beating and hurt way deep in the pit of my stomach.
I was fourteen when I ran away from home. The morning I left I’d been told, “prepare your knees.” That could only mean one thing — I’d have an all-nighter kneeling on the graters. You see, I had refused to be touched a few days before, thus I knew it was coming. The offense, like most times, was so silly. A classmate had missed school and came knocking on our door to ask me if I could share my notes. Bad move. Immediately I was accused of inviting folks over which was against the rules. That was when I realized I could not survive if I stayed.
On my lunch break from school I went home and packed up all my schoolbooks. My cousin already had the ones I gave her that morning. The school year had just started, and I knew at minimum I needed those. After school that day I dropped my 4-year-old little sister at the door, made sure she got in the house safely, then I ran and ran and ran. I kept looking back to see if anyone was trying to stop me. My fear was palpable and and you could hear my heart thumping out of my chest. One thing was certain, I had one chance to get to my aunt’s house.
The next day they came to get me. They swore that things would be different and that they would never do it again. After much discussion, my aunt said I needed to go back home. I was desolate. Instantly I crawled under the bed to the furthest corner and wailed uncontrollably. If I returned home, I wouldn’t survive. When she saw how completely shattered, I was, she asked in alarm, “what are you all doing to the child down there?” She let me stay.
Though that was over thirty years ago I can clearly remember everything that happened that day and the days immediately following, as that’s when I took ownership of my journey. I decided then that I’d speak up, I’d fight for me, and more importantly that If I had a daughter I’d love and protect her the way I had wanted my mom and dad to love and protect me. Her memory reminds me every day to push past circumstances and create my own opportunities. That little girl – the much younger me — made me strong.
How she fights…
Today, my daughter, my own little girl, keeps me strong. She is twenty three but she will always be my little girl. As a single mom and college student we struggled while she was growing up. But she never saw me cry. And she never knew why we didn’t have electricity at times nor why we suddenly didn’t have a car anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I cried. I cried a lot too. But those moments were reserved for the bathroom with the shower on full blast. I also stayed on my knees. And I developed a prayer life and a faith in God that is unshakeable. God was and still is my source of strength, courage and motivation. The days when I didn’t know where my tuition fees were coming from, I clung to Hagar’s story, “thou God seest me.”
Instead of showing her my despair, I showered her with love and pushed her to excel at school and in sports so that she would get scholarships and not have to struggle in college. When she walked across the stage of the University of Texas at Austin with her degree minus any student loans, I’m not sure who was prouder.
Why she keeps fighting…
So, when you look at me with my MBA, a successful career, and a beautiful family and ask me what makes me strong? I’ll quickly answer — the little girl who survived abuse and somehow stayed sane. And the little girl who needed to see her mom succeed, who needed to know that there is a God and He is still in the miracle working business. Every day I fight and stay strong for these two little girls.
What makes you strong? Share in the comments and share this story with someone who needs to hear that they too can make it.
Please go to Niqui’s Instagram Page and show her some love for us. Thank you.