Turning 16 is a treasured rite of passage for little girls everywhere. It’s often considered the prime of a young girl’s childhood but for Maranda Evans, it became the apex of her pain. When she was just 16, Maranda began dating a man who was 25 years old.
I knew he was someone I shouldn't have been with at my age. It was illegal and even if I had consented to sex with him, it would have been considered "statutory rape". David was the sweetest person I had met throughout the duration of my devious endeavors – at least I thought he was.
He was much older than anyone she’d ever dated. He had a booming career, drove a sleek Benz and treated her like a grown woman instead of a teenager.
One day, after picking me up during a 3-hour break I had between work shifts for lunch, he took me to a hotel near my mother's house. Something in my heart told me to run and not enter that hotel room.
Until we've actually been in a certain situation, we never really know how to handle it. Someone who hasn't been raped doesn't suspect to be raped.
It was the worst day of my life. I endured an hour and a half of unwanted sex and physical assault while trying to run away. I left that hotel room and returned to work as he held my arm the whole time. I was scared, scarred and ruined for the rest of my life. I only told my best friends this story and held it in until I was 22 years old and released my first memoir, Troubled. One moment of misjudgment changed my future forever.
It wasn’t until after she released Troubled that she was able to forgive her abuser.
I am a firm believer in the power of forgiving those who have trespassed against us. If we want God to forgive us for the sins we commit every day, then we must practice forgiving others no matter how bad they hurt us. It took some time for me to forgive him. It wasn't until I converted to Baptist and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in April of 2014 that I was able to forgive David and the woman who murdered my father. Forgiving them enabled me to tell my story to help others and live my life free of anger and pain. Forgive those who hurt you for you. Not for them.
As a SURVIVOR of sexual abuse and secondary domestic violence, Maranda joined the 10 Blessings 10K Survivors Domestic Violence Initiative as a Houston ambassador. Her story inspired her to help teens and young adults conquer the perils of domestic violence, sexual abuse and mental illness.
I have also founded a 501(c)(3) organization called The Troubled Movement, Inc. that enriches and encourages teens and young adults bringing them awareness of the situations I endured as a troubled teenager. We have a specific program entitled, "Heroes & Survivors" that is specifically for domestic violence, sexual abuse, and mental illness victims. Information about our programs and organization can be found at www.thetroubledmovement.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Maranda on Instagram @_theepitomeofme