Kelly Putty: Rape Victim Forgives Attackers
By Robert Hull
The 700 Club
Sixteen-year-old Kelly Putty was a happy teenager with a bright future. One night, her life was brutally interrupted. She was running errands when she noticed two men parked next to her car.
“Something did not look right, but again I was from a small town, I was not trained in any kind of safety or what to look for,” Kelly said.
Kelly ignored the feeling and walked to her car.
“I got as far as putting my key in the lock and a man came up behind me with a knife and stuck it to my neck and told me if I said a word he would kill me,” Kelly said. “I really honestly could not think of what to do. I just froze.”
The men forced Kelly into the car and drove off.
“I was crying and begging them to let me out, and anytime I said anything they would punch me in the face,” she said. “So I quickly learned I couldn’t speak or do anything except just submit.”
The men drove to a secluded area and took turns raping Kelly.
“As it is happening it is so surreal, that you can’t image, like you’re watching a bad movie. You can’t imagine that this is happening to you,” Kelly said. “I’m in shock. I’m numb. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to feel. You just try to get through it.”
Kelly’s nightmare continued for hours into the night.
“The masks were off. I saw their faces,” Kelly said. “That is when I thought, ‘I’m gonna die; I’m not going to make it through this.’”
The men put Kelly back in the car and drove off. Then, in a bizarre twist, the men stopped to pick up the driver’s wife from work. With the wife at the wheel they drove past the location where Kelly had been abducted. The police were already on the scene.
“At this point, I saw my help and this was my only chance for survival; so I, I’m yelling at her to let me out of the car,” Kelly said.
The woman stopped the car and let her out. She ran to the police and told them what happened. The men were arrested and later received life sentences for the severity of their crimes. But Kelly was left with deep emotional and physical scars.
“After the rape, subconsciously I started letting go of everything normal to me,” she said. “Start this new life, pretend that this didn’t happen; I think that was my coping mechanism.”
But the scars remained. In Kelly’s attempt to begin her new life she started dating a boy named Shane. He was a Christian.
“I started going to church with him but I still was not willing to give my heart to the Lord,” she said. “I was doing what came natural and that was relying on Shane and trying to forget the past. Bury the past. That’s probably what I would have continued to do had I not gotten sick.”
As a result of the rape, Kelly was left with a medical condition that brought on cancer and infertility.
“They started me on these Chemo treatments. It was supposed to last eight weeks,” Kelly said. “During those eight weeks, Shane started praying and he got his church praying for me; and when I went back to the Doctor after the eight weeks, the Doctor was amazed. He said, ‘there is no scar tissue; there is nothing to show that you ever had any problems.’ This was the same doctor that stood up in court and testified that I would never be able to have children due to the complications from the rape.”
Kelly knew she had been miraculously healed by God, but Shane remained the center of her new life.
“I still relied on him to try to take these emotions away from me, to try to make me feel better,” she said. “I was still hurting from the rape. But it was so buried, I didn’t realize it, but it was all coming out in my neediness towards him.”
Before long, Kelly, who was just 17 was pregnant.
“I was petrified,” Kelly said. “When I discovered I was pregnant, it was a miracle in its self, because the doctor told me I was never going to be able to have children. So abortion was never an option.”
Kelly and Shane married after graduating from high school. They attended church regularly. While Shane’s fervor for God grew, Kelly’s heart remained hard. One Sunday morning, when she was eight months pregnant, she heard a sermon about what Jesus did on the cross for her.
“All of these things that he was describing were things that I needed to be free from: the shame, the fear, low self esteem. All these things that I was still trying to fix myself,” Kelly said. “I just knew this was my moment. He said, ‘Jesus can take this pain from you.’ I went down and he prayed with me and I accepted the Lord. That was just me giving all of my junk to God: the low self esteem, the shame, the guilt.”
Christ had lifted the shame off of Kelly, and some of the scriptures really spoke to her heart.
“Second Samuel 13, that is the story of Tamar where she was brutally raped by her brother,” Kelly said. “It was just God speaking to me, showing me that I was not the only one - you feel so alone, so shamed, like you are the only person that this has happened to.
Her next step in her journey with Christ was to forgive the people who raped her and stole so much from her. She tells how this happened.
“I just faithfully prayed about it,” she said. “Then I started feeling a peace about it. When I thought about the men, I did not have all the emotions that were tied to them that I had previously.”
Her act of forgiveness was put to the test one Sunday morning while visiting a church in her home town. The pastor asked people to come to the front of the church and pray for the person in front of them. As Kelly looked up, she realized the woman in front of her was the mother of one of her attackers.
“Instead of her son being the first person I saw when I looked at her, I was actually looking at her with a mother’s heart,” Kelly said. “I saw the heart of a mother in her and I saw how broken it was; and I was able to pray for her and I was able to pray for her son.”
Kelly has been set free from the emotional and physical wounds of her past. She and Shane have five children and they just adopted a sixth child from Ethiopia. She is a photographer and in her spare time she’s an artist.
“I want people to know that they can not make it in this world without God. I thought I could. I was on a road where I was ruthless and nothing would ever happen to me,” Kelly said. “But, life happens and that is when we realize we really need a Savior. It does not matter what you’ve been through, how ugly it is, what it looks like on the outside, the shame that comes with it - it can all be lifted off your shoulders; but only through allowing Jesus to come into your heart. That is what changes you and then you have to live it. His love and His grace will just overshadow all of the darkness.”Can God change your life?
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