Robert Brown: A Childhood Worth Forgetting
By Renelle Roberts
The 700 Club
On a blustering winter day in Massachusetts, 7-year-old Robbie walked home from a long day of sledding with his friends. He took a deep breath. Just as he looked ahead and he saw some older boys who were known to be bullies.
He says, “I figured, ‘oh great, I’m going to go through that gauntlet. But, you know, that’s the way these—these guys are, they’re a lot older than me, they’re 12 years old.’”
The neighborhood bullies dragged Robbie into the woods…
He says, “I was ordered out of my snowsuit. I objected. They weren’t taking the objection. I was physically to undress and I thought that was about as far as it would go. What happened next was only what you could classify as rape. I’m not sure how long it went on, I’m not even certain as to who of the four were involved as far as physical contact. They did run off when they were done. And I was left there to kind of put myself together and head home.”
Rob staggered home, he couldn’t find the words to tell his parents what had happened. All he ever said was that the older boys were mean to him.
“That most certainly was the day my life changed. A seven-and-a-half- year-old can’t comprehend what that was. A seven-and-a-half- year-old doesn’t even have a clue as to what category of assault that was. I mean, these were some uniquely evil kids.”
Rob started carrying a knife for protection. The next time the boys headed his way, he’d be ready.
The next week one of the boys approached Rob. He gashed the boy’s hand, avoiding another attack…but his plan backfired.
“Using that knife was the downfall of me,” says Rob. “He ran home, his mother brought him to the ER. He needed stitches. Other parents instantly found out about the knife incident and the police showed up.”
He continues, “I was told by my parents that if anything ever happened again, I’d be off to juvenile hall. All the other parents were told that by the police. The kids were all told that. So I had basically cornered myself into checkmate and the, as I call them, the ‘Dreadful Four’ played upon that most proficiently.”
Now rob was trapped: do what the older boys said, or go to jail. For the next seven years Robbie was raped by the four boys an estimated 20 times.
“[One of the rapists] said—basically you’re ours now. You’re going to have to do whatever we say. “
Rob remembers, “ The level of horror after hearing something like that is rather intense, to say the least. And then feeling even less human, if that were possible.
One of their threats was, ‘You know, you comply or we’ll tell your parents what you do for us.’”
Rob withdrew from family and school friends, and was plagued by nightmares and suicidal thoughts.
“My fear was overflowing, I was fully in shock. Without going into gory details, it was just flat out hell visiting earth. I don’t think I ever spoke a word, I know I screamed and cried and I eventually learned to not scream and cry.”
The abuse ended when the boys graduated. Rob was now fourteen, and learning about sex in his health class at school.
“Sex became a fearful thing, it was incredibly shameful. It was something to be feared and avoided at all costs. It was a form of torture and I could see no other definition of it. So where do you go from there but down abnormal paths. And for me, it was really to go down an asexual path.”
To Rob, there was nothing to live for. He was uninterested in school and had very few friends, but he still believed in God.
“I would have many conversations, I used to call them my mirror conversations. From a little kid on, where I would look into the mirror and I would have long conversations with God. Very frequently asking for Superman to come and save me or Batman. Feel free to kill me any time now, God. Feel free to take those boys to hell. So I had a relationship, a rather unique relationship with God.”
Later that summer, his older sisters met a street evangelist and became Christians. They invited rob to spend the summer with them in Cape Cod where they introduced him to the evangelist.
“I had seen too much perversion, too much filth, too much disgusting behavior, the worst side of humanity possible that I certainly was never going to be qualified, never going to be qualified to go to heaven. So the street evangelist was introducing a whole new concept, ask Jesus to be your Savior, and he will. My only path to real life and to a happy life and eternal life was through Jesus. And one morning I had walked out to the beach outside the house and I sat on a big rock and I asked the Lord to come into my life and my heart. And I said, I surrender, I give up. I’m yours. And right at that moment, it was as if a forty pound weight had been lifted out of my heart and my soul. It had just shed this heavy, weighty burden out of my heart. I fell backwards over that rock and I just was bawling my eyes out.”
For the first time since rob was seven, he says, he felt free.
“That was miraculous, palpable salvation!”
Rob found a church and received help from a counselor. He now runs his own marketing company, and is an advocate for child abuse victims.
“ I would never have made it this far in life without help. I could never have done this under my own strength. I could never have come this far in life under my own strength. It’s not possible. People say I’m strong. No. I’m strong because Jesus gives me strength. God’s grace gives me strength. It’s not coming from me. Cause I know I’m weak, I know I’m nothing without him.”
It has taken many years for rob to open up about his past, but he says it helps him heal. Another milestone was forgiving his abusers.
“ I have forgiven the perpetrators. I don’t need the burden of being angry with them or seeking revenge. People say how can you forgive? Jesus will forgive them. If Jesus will forgive them, who am I to not forgive them? I need not drag the anchors of guilt, shame, anger, disgust, there’s no need for that. Jesus would not be pleased with me hanging onto that. To say it’s liberating would be an understatement. It’s a powerful feeling. I am going down a path of healing with the most powerful partner, the most powerful therapist possible. And that is Jesus.“
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.