Faith, Overcoming Trauma

What a Shock!–How God Prepared Me

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

By Pamela K. Orgeron, M.A., Ed.S., BCCC, ACLC

Last month I wrote about how I witnessed an attempted rape and murder when I was a preschooler. This week I would like to share the shock of what happened and how God kept my head together through most of the ordeal.

First, the influence of my paternal grandmother teaching me as far back as I can remember to pray about everything was a lifesaver, probably for myself and two other little girls who were present at the time. Secondly, I had been raped by a neighbor boy not long before witnessing the attempted rape/murder. Because I had been raped, I knew what was happening when my childhood playmate and I heard my playmate’s sister scream and upon looking out the window we saw her struggling on the ground with a man on top of her. Here’s what happened next:

“Someone’s raping her! We gotta get help,” I told my playmate.

My playmate and I hurried down the stairs as quickly as we could. On the way to the door outside, I noticed a telephone setting on a table. “Call the police, now!” I instructed my playmate.

“The telephone isn’t working,” she replied.

We hurried on outside. We’re running towards the back. We were yelling her sister’s name. We hear a commotion and see Paul struggling with a man. We heard the man and Paul yelling at each other. I heard Paul yell, “If you ever try to hurt my sister like that again, I’ll report you to the cops.”

I glanced back at my playmate several steps behind me and told her to go get help; I’d stay with her brother. By that time, the perpetrator had picked up a garden tool that he was swinging at Paul. Paul was doing his best to dodge the blows.  I started yelling, “Stop it, …! Stop it, …! You’re hurting my friend.”

When the perpetrator did not listen, I tried to get between the two as I was hitting and kicking the perpetrator.  I grabbed at his pant leg still yelling. I also was praying. As I prayed aloud, “God, help me,” I pushed the perpetrator backwards. He lost his footing, dropped the weapon he was holding, fell backwards, and rolled down the hill behind us. Paul fell to the ground. I asked him if he could get up. He said he could not. I started talking to him telling him to pray as I started tending to his needs. He told me he was praying, and that he was ready to go. I told him to hang on, that I sent his sister for help. He told me no one was at home. Both his parents were working, and they’d left him in charge to watch the girls at his grandparents’ house. I asked him to stay with me and tell me about his family as I tended to him.

The first wound I noticed was the big gash on his forehead. I told him I had to stop the bleeding but did not have anything to put on the cut. He told me he had a handkerchief in his pants pocket, for me to get in his pocket to get it. I remember pulling out the handkerchief and putting it on his head. I realized I was not strong enough to put enough pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. I told him, “I’m not strong enough. I have to get on top of you with my weight.”

He said, “okay.”

While crouched over Paul’s head, I glanced up to see the attempted rape victim crouched in the weeds not far in front of us. She was in shock in the fetal position. Our eyes met. I mouthed to her, “Are you okay?” She nodded affirmatively. I remember moving my body back down off of Paul’s head. The bleeding had almost stopped. I was straddled over Paul’s chest facing Paul. I glanced over my shoulder to see the perpetrator had recouped from his fall down the hill, and was heading back up the hill. I told Paul, “Here he comes again.” Paul told me to get away. I said, “No, I’m staying with you. Play dead.”

He said, “okay”. The next thing I remember suddenly I was picked up and jerked around to face the perpetrator eye to eye. In my eyes then he looked like a monster. He yelled at me to get out of there, go home, and if I ever told anyone what happened, he would kill me too. I took off running. I was going for help. Unfortunately, my help was too late for Paul. He was found bleeding to death the next day and later died at the hospital. After having my life threatened, I too went into shock and was unable to talk to tell anyone what I had witnessed for several days.

Let me answer a few questions you might be asking:

  1. How did I know to put pressure on Paul’s wounds? First, if I may say so myself, I was always told how smart I was when I was growing up. Thus, after my dad and I had watched a lot of medical shows together, such as “Emergency”, “Dr. Kildaire”, etc., I applied what I had learned from watching those TV programs.
  2. How was I able to push the perpetrator down the hill? That was a question I remember asking one of the investigators who interviewed me. He told me it was called “adrenaline rush”. Then he told me how when people get excited, they can get super strong. He said he had heard of men lifting cars off of people to save someone’s life.
  3. How did I stay calm up until my life was threatened? No doubt, without God’s help I would have panicked. However, as my playmate and I were running towards the scene, I heard the Holy Spirit’s voice speak to me saying, “Stay calm. You have to stay calm.” I knew God was with me.

It was not until August of last year, 50+ years later that I remembered the trauma and shock I witnessed that day.  I knew I had carried a lot of pain and anger inside of me since my early childhood but did not know the source of the feelings. Remembering and having to face the truth also were a big shock. After processing what happened, I have no doubt God will use my experience of what happened that day and its aftermath to help others who have experienced similar trauma. How so? I don’t know.  That’s in God’s hands. My prayer now, “Here I am, Lord! Use me!”

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