The Shame that Follows Stolen Innoncence
By Amy Reid
The 700 Club
“I was out with my sister and we went to her friend’s house,” remembers Jennifer Polimino.”There were 5 older guys there, probably 17, 18-year-olds. They were all smoking pot and drinking and stuff. My older sister, she left with her boyfriend. Four of the boys threw me on the bed and started molesting me."
Jennifer continues, "and thank goodness, though, the one boy said, 'Leave her alone, she’s 12 years old, get off of her!' and he pulled me out of there. My attitude toward men definitely changed. I was very untrusting and just didn’t understand at that point. I’d really lost that total innocence.”
Jennifer never told anyone what happened. Then, three years later, she was assaulted again.
“I had my first real boyfriend when I was 15,” she says, “And he was a bit older; he was on his way to college. And I didn’t know but he had a bet going on with his buddies to see how many girls he could conquer before he went to college. And he got me drunk and I was date raped. I didn’t tell anybody, again. I didn’t say a word.”
Jennifer went on to the next relationship. “This boy I fell really hard for, I thought, he’s the love of my life,” she remembers, “So we dated for a while and when I was 16, I got pregnant. I really had a lot of outside influences; people telling me, you know, just get an abortion. So I cut school one day, went to a clinic and cried the whole time and got an abortion. Got back before dinner, my parents never even knew, they just thought I was in school.”
The abortion had an effect on Jennifer she didn't count on. “My grades started to suffer quite a bit, and I know now that I kept reaching out to people. Just, if somebody would have said something I never would have done it,” Jennifer cries.
Jennifer tried to move on, but the depression and guilt were overwhelming. “I knew that getting the abortion was wrong,” Jennifer says, “My parents would take us to church every week, So I knew what I should be doing and what I shouldn’t be doing. I just thought, “Oh I don’t deserve to live at all, you know, I killed my baby, why should I live?”
"I remember walking down the street to this empty subdivision," says Jennifer.."I had a razor blade, and I thought, 'This will be better.' But then I kept thinking, I don’t want to burn in hell for the rest of my life, ‘cause I believed that if you took your life that you would go to hell. So that twisted belief actually saved my life.”
Jennifer finshed high school and moved to California for college. Her surroundings changed, but Jennifer hadn’t. “My grades were great, I did well, but I was definitely the party girl,” she recalls.
Jennifer also gained a lot of weight. She was determined to take the weight off, so she started working out. She even became a personal trainer. “I wanted that perfect body. I would work out 4 hours a day sometimes and I started competing in the fitness contests and things,” she remembers.
Jennifer married, but it ended in a painful divorce. She moved to Denver, hoping to make a fresh start. “I wasn’t getting a lot of clients here, cause I didn’t know anybody when I first moved to Denver,” Jennifer says, “So the person that I was with suggested that I work in a very high-end gentlemen’s club. And it was really sad cause these guys that would come in, most of them were married. And usually, you would just sit there fully dressed and just talk to these guys. And I really grew to hate men, in a sense.”
One night while out with friends, Jennifer met Dan and they started dating. She noticed right away that he was different than other men she’d dated. “Within a few months we decided you know what, this is working and we really want to do it God’s way, and I started coming to church with him,” Jennifer says.
Dan encouraged Jennifer to quit the gentleman’s club and helped her get her personal fitness business going again. They married, but Jennifer was still wracked with guilt from her past.
“I remember going to church and the entire service I would just cry and cry and cry,” she recalls, “’Cause I just felt such guilt from everything I did. And I thought oh, I’m so unworthy.”
Jennifer’s insecurity kept its grip on her for the next 5 years, until she got pregnant.
“I was a Christian, but I really didn’t know Jesus as a personal friend,” Jennifer says, “And I think my biggest thing was while I was pregnant, that relationship grew so much. And that’s when I really started praying and asking God these prayers for my baby. And so that, I think is where I really had that turning point and said, 'You know, God, you are so real and I really understand that you care even about me, no matter what I’ve done in my past.'”
Today, Jennifer is enjoying motherhood. “After so many years of struggling with feeling unworthy and feeling like I don’t deserve a husband, I don’t deserve children; look at what I’ve done,” she says, “I think that women especially need to realize that God loves them no matter what they’ve done. It doesn’t matter, God forgives you and he loves you, And If you can just confess your sins, ‘cause it says in the Bible when we confess our sins, Jesus will bury them and then they’re no more. And then we don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
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