My Childhood Nightmare

white and black concrete chapel in low angle photography

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

As I look back on my childhood, I'm filled with a mix of emotions - pain, anger, and a deep sense of betrayal. When I was just 12 years old, my world was shattered by the unthinkable - I became a victim of child sex abuse at the hands of my youth pastor, Lemuel Collins, within the church I grew up in: Greater Grace Worship Center (now Grace Church) in Sacramento, CA. The church was affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAofW), an apostolic predominantly black denomination.

I still remember the day it started, how Lemuel would single me out, pull me aside, and slowly groom me with his twisted words and false promises. He made me feel special, like I was the only one he truly cared about. But beneath the surface, a dark and sinister plan was unfolding.

Lemuel exploited my vulnerability, my desire to be seen and heard. He manipulated my young mind, convincing me that what he was doing was somehow okay, that it was all part of God's plan. I was trapped, paralyzed by fear and confusion, unable to comprehend the gravity of what was happening to me. The abuse continued for years, leaving me feeling dirty,
ashamed, and utterly alone. I lived in constant terror, afraid to speak up, afraid that no one would believe me. The church, the very place I had turned to for guidance and comfort, had betrayed me in the most unimaginable way.

As the years passed, the pain only grew deeper. My family, desperate to escape the painful memories, made the difficult decision to relocate to Los Angeles, hoping to find solace and a fresh start. But the void within me remained, a gaping wound that time could not seem to heal. When I eventually returned to the church, I was met with more disappointment. The founding Pastor, Bishop David C. Foster, Sr., made promises of connection and support, but failed to deliver. This heartbreaking neglect only compounded my anguish, and I knew I had to take action.

Finding Strength and Healing

It was during this tumultuous time that I found solace in the guidance and mentorship of Bishop Carlton D. Pearson. His profound fathering spirit and unwavering support became a cornerstone of my healing journey. Through his wisdom and compassion, I began to reclaim my voice and find the strength to seek justice.

The civil claim I filed against the church was a pivotal moment, not only in my own healing but in my desire to protect others from experiencing the same horrors I had endured. The undisclosed compensation I received was a small victory, but it was the acknowledgment of the harm done that truly mattered. Today, more than two decades later, the pain of my childhood abuse still lingers, a constant reminder of the trauma I endured. But I have transformed that pain into a powerful catalyst for change. My voice has reached far beyond the pages of my memoir, "I TRUSTED YOU," which has captivated readers and is now being considered for adaptation to the silver screen.

A Message of Hope

To my fellow survivors, I want you to know that you are not alone. The scars of childhood sex abuse may never fully heal, but we can learn to live with them, to transform them into sources of strength and resilience.

It's a long and arduous journey, but I promise you, it is possible to find joy, purpose, and even moments of peace. Seek out support, whether it's from a trusted therapist, a support group, or a mentor like the one I found in Bishop Pearson. Allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions, to grieve the childhood you never had.

And most importantly, remember that you are not defined by the abuse you endured. You are a survivor, a warrior, and your story has the power to inspire and uplift others who have walked a similar path. Together, we can break the silence, shatter the stigma, and create a world where no child ever has to experience the horrors we've faced.

Your brother, Dr. Pierre Diamond Author/Consultant/Survivor

Social Media Handles: Facebook: @iampierrediamond, Instagram: @iampierrediamond

Dr. Pierre Diamond

Published by SurvivorSpace, an initiative of Zero Abuse Project