Elma Van Delft's testimony.
In short it is my personal testimony:
I escaped from a family drama myself (father, mother /=me/ & our 2 children , almost dead the 4 of us ...)
by jumping off from a 5th floor in 2007, trying to kill only myself
Of course it was before I was converted, it was in my life when I was without hope.
I was dying, I was in a coma ... and then I came out of it miraculously.
After 2 years (yes!) in the hospital
I then converted..
And last year I was graduated for 'pastoral studies' at CUPEI (centre universitair protestant etudes interculturelles)
after 4 years of studying
And then the idea of this centre entered my heart ... (It will take another miracle: I will need a lot of people who will join my vision to open the centre 24/24 & 7/7 ; a lot of money etc)
This is only in short ... if you knew my life before (striptease-dancer, secte, drugs, domestic violence, mental illness, severly adicted to food, depression for almost 22 years: I have lived it all) ... and after:
I lost my husband, my children, my house, my work , I am handicaped now (my legs)
but :I have faith for a great future.
After 2 years of hopeful prayer my daughter came back to me (4 years after my jump).
after 5 years then came back my son (7 years after my jump)
and since not so long I am in peace with their father, we go out together with our children sometimes. We are a FAMILY again.
Elma Van Delft, Belgium.
My testimony starts when I was a child. I lost my dad at a very early age, when I was only 5 years old.
My brother and myself lived with our mother most of the time before his death; we were not really used to having our dad around except towards the last year of his life, when he took us in with his then partner (we called her Mum).
My father lost his life to a car crash. He was in a coma for two weeks before he died. As young children, we were not aware of his death for a long time. We were living again with our mother and her siblings. I was near six years old when I was finally told about my father’s passing. I had never felt close to him as such, even though he loved me very much. I couldn’t say that I was crushed by the news, to be honest. I was living with mu mum, my brother, my two uncles and two aunties. It was great! We were happy children, we loved school and we had fun all the time. Those were the best years of my childhood.
My mother was only in her early twenties at the time. She was struggling to scrape money together so she got a waitress job out of town, where she would have to go every weekend. We went with her every Fridays and got back home on Sundays evenings. Her boss owned a beautiful home right behind the bar where my mother was working. We spent our weekends there and were treated like royalties by my mother’s bosses. Then their son began to torment me. Over a short period of time he turned from loving big brother to sexually, emotionally and physically abusive towards me. I became afraid of him and I hated him with all my guts. At some point his taunting became such that I dreaded going to that house on weekends. I cried every Fridays and asked my mother to not let me go. I wanted to stay with my uncles but our house was empty every weekend so it was impossible. Thankfully one day my mother caught this boy trying to harm me physically and she handled him as a mother should. From then on she stopped working for his parents.
Unfortunately, not long after that my mother started dating this man who became my step father. I loved him, I was happy to call him “daddy”.
After just a few weeks of dating my mother, he started abusing me sexually. I won’t go into details but the abuse went on for four years. In the meantime, my mother and him moved in together, he became officially our dad, married my mum, etc. and on the surface was the best father on earth. We had fun with him, and our friends loved him too. Such are children abusers, they know how to attract children. He was much appreciated, and I loved him in spite of all. I just wanted a dad.
I didn’t speak to a soul about what was going on, trying to “protect” my stepdad from repercussions. Plus for me it was too much a shame to be shared with anyone. I had internalised the abuse. I thought to some extent that I had brought it upon myself. I didn’t realise that my ordeal was showing through my everyday behaviour in school though. At the age of 10 years old I had stopped interacting with classmates, I spent my recess time walking alone and telling myself stories of princesses and prince charming etc. I also read a lot, plenty of children’s books/ I had and still have a vivid imagination. I didn’t care much about playing around with other children. I didn’t like girls because I found them insipid. I hated boys for being aggressive and what I thought mean to me. Besides, what I was going through had put a stamp on me. I felt dirty, different, I could no longer relate to the other children. I created a world on my own and I was the only one allowed in that reality. I enjoyed it. I pictured myself as a Princess, happy, beautiful, living in a perfect world without anything contrary to upset my happiness.
However, there was a dark side to it too: the few children I was still involved with outside of school (including family members) engaged with me in sexually explicit games, including homosexual experiences. The latter didn’t last very long, in that sense that I did NOT love girls, but I enjoyed sometimes pretending to be a boy and having the upper hand with the girls I played “mum and dad” with. I could enjoy innocent games, but also very inappropriate ones. Unfortunately, that is the reality of many children today. Our over sexualised society robs them of their innocence on a daily basis. I also blame the so-called sex-education our schools pride themselves in. Protect your children at all costs folks!
Again, I LOVED my stepfather. And overall, I didn’t feel miserable. Yes, there was abuse going on but I chose to focus on the good stuff at home, like the freedom I enjoyed to go out with my brother, the pleasure of playing in the park, the sweets and rich foods we ate. I was from the outside a spoiled child. My stepdad passed me everything I wanted. I understand now that that was his way of buying my silence.
Fast forward: One day my teacher asked me if everything was okay at home for me. I was ten years old. She was the first person to whom I told about the abuse. From then on everything ran downhill. I met with justice officers, social workers, etc. I was placed in hospital waiting for a foster family to take me in. My mother never really heard me on the subject of sexual abuse, but what I know now is that at the time, she did not believe me. She continued living with that man for years after that.
I’ll pass the details but at the age of eleven years old I was placed with a relative who became my legal guardian. I spent eight years in her house. I can say those were the darkest years of my life, except for school. It’s not that she didn’t love me. It’s just that she didn’t know how to express her love in a way that would have positively impacted me. Instead I grew a screwed up, unhappy, self-hating and God-hating person. At a time when humans are so fragile, namely adolescence, I was being hurt on a daily basis. It turned me into a broken vase. It took me years after that to forgive my guardian. School provided my only respite, in particular due to my attachment to my male best friend, whom I positively identified as the love of my life at the time. Today, even though life has separated us, I still have a deep affection for him.
At the age of nineteen years old I literally ran away from home. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Despite my reluctance at first, two weeks later I had a miraculous experience of faith, which powerfully transformed me inside out over the following years. It took away the anger and bitterness on my heart, and helped me to move from a broken and empty vessel to the accomplished 31 years old woman I am today.
My ambition is to study law and become a defender of the rights of children.
I believe in Family, in the simplest, natural sense of the term. I believe in the importance of stable homes for children, with biological father and mother to love them and nurture for them. I know what it is to not have had a dad, talking about my biological father. I know what it is to lack the security of a stable home. I am certainly not advocating that homosexuals cannot love, or that heterosexuals have it all together. My own experience testifies to the contrary. But nobody can take away the right of children to have at least a chance. No equality policies in the world should be allowed to take it away from them. If we don’t fight back, unfortunately that is what their reality will be for a long time. For far too long our society has been pushing for more devaluation of family. Now relationships and family breakdown are the norm. Lifetime marriages and stable homes are the exception. This is not acceptable! I want to fight and live to see the reversal of this tide. That's why I sign up to We Believe in FAMILY.
That’s my story.
During primary school I was part of a class of around 5 girls and 25 boys. I was chosen as one to be bullied, perhaps because of my stammer, my sticking-out teeth, that I was quiet, I don't know. It increasingly became worse as the years went on and increasingly violent. One evening my parents joked to me about the option of a boarding school. What surprised them was that I took it seriously. When I left, my classmates celebrated and turned on another boy in my class, who was small and quiet of course. I moved to a private school that did wonders in helping me catch up academically, for which I'm truly grateful. I bonded closely with a best friend, and formed general close friendships with the other 4 girls in my class (it was a suitable small class of 6 boys and 6 girls). I was always weary of the boys though. They were nice enough, and I especially remember being talked into playing arm-wrestling with them that resulted in a black house mark. I moved to an all girl high school in 1998, thankfully getting in because I did not want to go to my local mixed high school and meet most of the bullies again.
I first became aware of my same-sex attraction on an end of year school trip at the end of that first academic year. I was totally taken with a girl from another form who I hadn't seen before called Yvonne. The next year the forms were mixed into ability sets, and so I saw more of Yvonne and her friend, Rachel I was also taken with. I was heartbroken when she moved schools at the end of that year. I hoped to find support from my best friends, but the next thing I knew was that Rachel knew I liked her!
Eventually I found out about an all girl LGBT youth group in Liverpool. I didn't dare go to the nearer group in Birkenhead for fear it would get back to the girls at school. I dated a couple of girls during this period aged 15 - 18. I tried to attend the mixed group, but my reservations about the men made me so uncomfortable, a similar reservation to the boys at my private school.
Around 17 years old I started attending the local rugby with my grandad. It came about that I heard about my grandad going, thought it would both be nice to see him and it would be a needed interest, especially as at my original primary school I used to play touch rugby during playtime with my brother and his friends from the year above, that was when I wasn't the loner child talking to the dinner ladies. As I attended during the coming season or two, my same-sex attraction started to diminish, and I was increasingly attracted to men, mainly the players. I eventually "came out as bisexual", and my good friend from the youth group was keen for me to date her little brother. I told her that I preferred older men.
The same sex attraction had mostly left me until in 2014 I started dating an older man, who was eventually arrested and I found out about his criminal record on the sex offender list. I don't know when he was planning on telling me this background. I suddenly found myself very attracted to a lady I saw at church on Christmas day 2014, which caught me by surprise. I dated an ex-navy man recently who left me hanging - I can't see him ever settling down. He was unreliable, and at the same time I started struggling with same-sex attraction again, becoming increasingly cold towards men again.
A few years ago I read about the psychological causes of same-sex attraction: a man who ends up with a disordered desire for male affection after a distant (real or imagined) father, or a woman who rejects masculinity subconsciously after a bad experience with men. There are other models in addition to these two examples, and it is a very complicated area. But these examples fit in perfectly with my history and suddenly my past experiences made sense. This helped in recent relapses to see the cause of the relapse. Around this time I found out about Emotional Freedom Technique, and tapping on my difficulties trusting and the weariness around men helped greatly to help get my same-sex attraction under control, though I'm grateful that I can pinpoint a central cause of the problem. I'm from a science background and I like to see patterns! One of the areas I've studied in molecular biology is epigenetics. We were always told as students in our genetics lectures that there's no genetic basis for same-sex attraction. However, epigenetics is the effect of external factors on the molecular switches on the genome, stress and psychological factors being a big researched area. This would make all psychological disorders difficult to treat and prone to relapses if stress has led to molecular switch changes. We need proper support to control unwanted attractions, but if you want to control unwanted attractions you are seen as "having an unhealthy attitude", and so there is no support.
In addition, I sustained a traumatic brain injury on my gap year when I was 18. I touched a high voltage electric fence at the wildlife centre I was working at, blacked out, and life hasn't been the same since. However, often brain injured people develop either hyper- or hyposexuality, and so a newly acquired hypersexuality after the accident led to strain in my relationship at the time and was one of the causes of the break up with that boyfriend. Suddenly he wasn't enough and I wanted more, ideally robot-based. The advice for people with traumatic or acquired brain injuries with acquired hypersexuality is practice "safe" sex, with no support to control it in any other way. This is the advice given to vulnerable people, as anyone with acquired hypersexuality is vulnerable, and so there's no support apart from finding Emotional Freedom Technique, a radical diet change and adaptogen herbs. I've had to make my own support, and I'm thankful for my science and research background.