Author, From Sorrows to Sapphires (2007)
Founder, Voice Today, (, a non-profit that breaks the silence and cycle of child sexual abuse worldwide through awareness, prevention and healing programs and resources, since 2008)
BA, Journalism, Georgia State University
Angela Williams: From Sorrows to Sapphires
The 700 Club
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Angela was three years old when her stepfather, Carl, began touching her inappropriately. (The names in her story have been changed to protect those involved). Her mother was a school teacher and Carl worked shifts at a local factory and on many days was Angela’s caregiver. By the time she was seven, Carl began penetration. When he was finished he would tell Angela that this was their secret and if she dared to tell anyone, she would be taken away. He threatened to kill her mother so she learned to be silent. Her mother looked the other way. In third grade, Angela took a bottle of vitamins in an attempt to kill herself, but made herself sick instead. One day when she was in fourth grade, Angela told her teacher she was raped. The teacher called her parents who punished her for using the word rape. “I resigned to never speak again, because it wasn’t worth the consequences.”
Over the years, Angela kept a journal. The mind torture and abuse continued for years at least once a day, sometimes twice a day, and even when she was sick with the flu. Mentally Angela would take herself to a different place. Hang in there, just a few more minutes she would tell herself. As adolescent years turned into teen years, Angela begged Carl to stop to no avail. She gave her life to the Lord at 12. At 15, Angela attempted to find her biological father but instead had to face another attack on her soul: that he abandoned her. “Abandonment and sexual abuse stole my identity,” says Angela. “And Christ gave it back.”
One day at 17, Angela hit her breaking point. Carl was yelling at Angela. At that moment, she screamed at him back and then ran out of the house. Angela sat outside until it was dark then she took vodka from under the kitchen sink, took the keys to the car and bought two boxes of Sominex, ready to end the years of abuse. A few hours later, Angela woke up covered in vomit. She didn’t die! In the middle of the night, Angela drove to her friend Nicole’s house, whose father happened to be one of the most powerful attorneys in Mobile, AL, and told them everything.
Angela’s mother showed up the next day at Nicole’s father’s law office and showed little mercy towards Angela. She screamed at Angela because she had set into motion a chain of events that would now “ruin” her life. Angela’s mom turned her back on her, and chose to stay with Carl. “I was a wreck,” says Angela. She became emancipated and lived with other family members. Angela worked three jobs to put herself through college. “I dated the wrong kind of men,” she says. “Deep down, I hated men and was determined that no man would ever hurt me again.”
A VOICE FOR KIDS
Angela had been to counseling. “Not every counselor is equipped to handle child sexual abuse,” she says. “That trauma takes years to surface and years for your mind and body to heal. It’s taken me a lifetime and it’s a journey. God is doing a work and a healing.” Angela met Phillip and married him in 1985. He was aware of some of the abuse but Angela says she didn’t tell him everything. In her 30s Angela had a mental breakdown and surrendered it all to God. “There was a huge gap between me and what I was supposed to receive from God. He saw me as clean and pure, but it took me a long time to get to that place. I blamed God for not intervening; I blamed my mom and others for looking the other way.” God began speaking to Angela about writing a book. In 2003, she started writing while working in her real estate business then finished a draft in 2005. I can’t do this, Angela thought. My mom will disown me. After running from ministry for years and receiving over 20 rejection letters from publishers, Angela self-published her book in 2007. Carl died in a car accident in 1987. Angela and her mother are continuing to reconcile their relationship.
One in four girls is sexually abused. One in six boys is sexually abused. Only one in ten will ever tell. Perpetrators have an average of 117 victims in their lifetime. Ninety percent of abuse is by someone they know, love, and trust. The numbers are staggering and getting worse. Angela started Voice Today in 2008, a non profit ministry that promotes awareness and prevention and offers healing from child sexual abuse, to give kids a voice. “This is an issue whose time has come,” says Angela. Her ministry provides awareness and prevention resources, such as workshops, workbooks and retreats, both secular and Christian. Her healing resources are Christian based. “I cannot teach healing from this evil without the blood of Jesus Christ,” she says. She recently launched public service announcements to bring attention to this much-needed epidemic. Angela recently visited Bulgaria which she says is the hotbed for child sex trafficking. “Whether you are a parent or a child advocate, it is important to be educated on this issue,” she says. “Knowledge and vigilance are the only way to end child sexual abuse.”
Silence is the tool which the evildoers use to perpetuate child sexual abuse. Angela says this is an uncomfortable subject but that our society must wake up to the reality of it. The majority of people stand in denial. It is Angela’s desire to educate and train all youth serving organizations to prevent, detect and properly respond to child sexual abuse issues. It is important to teach children about personal boundaries and a plan of protection with three basic messages:
- Teach them powerful NO voices. Give them permission to say NO to unwanted or uncomfortable behavior.
- Teach children to RUN out of an uncomfortable situation if someone is trying to invade their personal boundaries.
- Teach children to TELL exactly what has happened to the first person they see, and continue to tell until someone believes you.
For more information, please visit www.VoiceToday.org
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