Vicki Duffy: From Rape to Restoration
By Kristi Watts
The 700 Club
It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But what kind of story does a scar tell?
Vicki Duffy's scars tell quite a story. Her story begins after she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend.
“He came into my room,” Duffy says. “I was scared. I remember crying, and he raped me.”
Vicki was only 5 years old.
“He followed it up with, ‘You tell anyone, I’m going to kill your mother. I’m going to kill your dog, and your brother.’ So he went for all three,” Duffy says.
Months went by before Vicki ever said a word.
“I felt I must have done something to cause him to do this,” Vicki says. “I thought, ‘I need to be nicer or kinder.’ I had all those feelings at that moment.”
But no matter how “good” Vicki tried to be, her life just got worse. Her older brother, who was once her best friend, suddenly turned into her arch enemy. He threw words like weapons and punches laced with hate.
‘You’re stupid. You’re ugly. You’re an idiot,’ her brother would tell her.
“After hearing that for weeks, months, and days on end, getting the brunt of someone’s anger, you start to believe it,” Vicki says.
Then the verbal and physical abuse from her brother turned into something else.
“Just one night out of the blue he raped me,” Vicki says. “It happened. He raped me, and I didn’t even see it coming.”
Vicki was 11-years old, her brother was 13.
“The themes of, ‘You’re never going to amount to anything.’ ‘It’s your fault.’ ‘If you tell, it’s your fault anyway.’ I started believing that so much so that when he actually raped me, he kept to his threats,” Vicki says.
‘I felt like I was this atrocity,” she says. “I felt like I didn’t look good. I felt like I was huge and fat. I was incredibly insecure with massively low self-esteem.”
And Vicki felt confused. She began to fantasize about being a boy, even dressing like one. By her early 20’s she was actively living a gay lifestyle, and was, in her words, “promiscuous.”
By the age of 24, she had been in half a dozen mental hospitals for a litany of mental illnesses: depression, anorexia, bulimia, and drug and alcohol addiction. But one compulsion consumed her.
“It was like doing something that you like so much, whatever it is,” she says. “Fill in the blank: sex, a great chocolate cake, gambling, this was it for me. I could taste it. I couldn’t wait for the next moment.”
Vicki is talking about ‘cutting,’ an act where someone uses sharp objects like knives, scissors, and razors to cut their bodies. What made her do it?
“It was something that I could control and nobody else could,” she says.
Vicki still has the scars. On one arm there are over 200 cuts. On both forearms she required a skin graph from self inflicted cigarette and lighter burns.
“I needed the scar on the outside of me to match the horrible scars on the inside that no one could see,” she says. “And the pain and turmoil I wanted to come out on my own body.”
“I was cutting and burning with anything I could get my hands on. I was an alcoholic. I dabbled in drugs. I was in promiscuous relationships. I was on 17 pills a day, on psychiatric medication,” she says.
Then one day something happened.
“Nothing could compare to the day that I was in the presence of God,” Vicki remembers.
“As soon as I walked in there was such peace. I really don’t know how to explain it other than a ‘who’ feeling.”
“The urges and desires for a few hours left. And that might sound like nothing,” she says, “but it’s something, because the fact that they weren’t there was enough for me to go hmmm, maybe there is something to this God thing.”
So she went back to church, and after a couple of visits someone gave her a Bible.
“I picked it up and it opened right up to the book of Mark, chapter 5, and I started reading it. I read about how this man was tormented night and day and cut his body with stones and how he wasn’t in his right mind. The short and the long of it was how Jesus healed him,” Vicki says.
“I was so angry and so agitated. I felt like, ‘How dare you? You did it for this guy, but you can’t do it for me?’ So I just start going into this fit.”
In her desperation, Vicki gave God an ultimatum.
“I said to God, ‘I’m going to give you 30 days to prove yourself real,’” Vicki says. “I gave him 30 days and proceeded to really plead with Him. I said, ‘If you did it for that guy, do it for me.’ I didn’t know how to pray. I didn’t realize, I was praying right then. I was swearing. I was yelling. But I was having a conversation, and I believe God met me where I was at.”
“I said, ‘Change me. Help. Take anything that is not of you from me, in Jesus name, amen.’ That was my prayer.”
“Within the next few weeks, the desire to cut and burn started to go,” Vicki says. “By June of 1995 I took all my medication and flushed it down the toilet. I started going to church on Wednesdays to mid-week service.”
“Within a year and a half I hadn’t cut. I hadn’t burned. I hadn’t had any kind of thoughts. I was getting control on the eating,” Vicki says. “The thing is during that year and a half, I forgave. I made the choice, ‘I’m going to move on and move forward in my life.’”
“It’s all about making choices,” she says. "We can’t make a choice in what happens to us, whether we’re harmed or raped, but we can choose how we deal and how we react to it, and I was making the wrong choice.”
Once I forgave. I was just like, ‘Wow, life is good. I can change me, and I can change how I act and react to them.’ It’s a choice, and I chose to spend those two years seeking God and getting healed and set free completely.”
Today, over a decade later, Vicki is happily married with a beautiful son. She’s even written a book, No More Pain.
She has a message for people who see themselves as bad and beyond God’s love. What does she want to tell them?
“There’s hope. As long as there’s breath in their life, there’s hope," Vicki says. “It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God, He believes in you. And He can make it work. You give everything else a chance, the cutting, the burning, the alcohol, the drugs, the gambling, and the sex. We give that a chance, let’s give God a chance.”
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