I’ve had a whole crazy long blog post typed out for a week now and just can’t hit publish. There is a part of me that wants to defend what happened to us and then there is a part of me who knows that all the lies will eventually come to the light. I have been warring with this for a long time.
That being said, there is a story that has yet to be heard and it changed my life when it happened.
About a month ago, I was sexually assaulted by a very close family friend.
As a matter of fact, the police report is calling it a rape.
Barry Flowers was the name of the guy and I feel like it is my obligation to warn as many women about him as I possibly can. He is a predator and premeditated my attack. September 24th is a day I would like to forget, but God allowed it to happen for a reason. I am still wrestling with why exactly he chose me to go thru this, but I can tell you that I am so very thankful it was me and not one of my youth girls.
Barry is a member of our church. Old church now I guess. Still hard to get used to saying that. When we first came to the church almost 5 years ago, he and John became fast friends. They have walked thru some really rough life roads together. Barry is a divorced man and has a grown son, but told John that being a dad was all he ever wanted to do. His wife left and took his son when he was 18 months old. He never got to experience a first christmas, first day of school, first baseball game, etc. Or so he told us. Now bear in mind that we (and because of the way John and I do ministry, his close friends are my close friends. We minister together because we are one flesh) have been close for years now. He has come over for holiday dinners. He bought a kayak for Brooks and took him on “adventures”. John was working out with him every other morning there for a while. He is a realtor, so when our house stuff crashed and burned, he was the guy we trusted the most to help us find the perfect one for our family.
We trusted him.
Had no reason not to.
When we moved out of our rent house and were in the middle of a contract on a cute little house we were hoping to buy, Barry offered for us to come stay with him for the 2 weeks that we would be homeless. He lived by himself in a huge house and was looking forward to having the kids around. Again…family friend. No reason not to trust him. The 4 younger kids were with our parents in Oklahoma while we were moving all our stuff into storage, so it was just John, Brooks and I. We took our suitcases over on Thursday and stayed our first official night that night. Barry wanted to take Brooks to school on Friday, so we let him. He came back and told us that he actually teared up when he dropped him off because he had never had the privilege of doing that with his son. John is off on Fridays, so he and I ran some errands and really just enjoyed the day together.
A week prior to us moving in with Barry, he has asked me if I would like to earn some extra money by cleaning a house he was going to show. Naturally since we were going to be staying with him, I felt like it was the least I could do to just help him out. I went to the house to meet the owner with him and help him measure and take pictures. He presented it to me as a “she is single and has hit on me in the past, so I would like it if you could go with me and act like my associate” kind of thing. John ok’d it and I went with him. She signed the papers and I helped measure. No big deal. On the way back to the church though, he caught me off guard by saying that he would love to help me take care of the kids if anything happened to John. I didn’t think a whole lot of it because again..family friend. I just thought he was being nice.
Fast forward a week.
Saturday is the day I am going to clean the house. He said that he was going to go with me to help so it would be done faster. John and Brooks were going to Sams to get stuff for his sunday school class, so we made plans to meet them after we got finished.
I rode with Barry to the house and we started cleaning. We made some small talk while we were working, but for the most part, he was in one room and I was in the other. When it got time to clean the master bathroom, I went back there while he was vacuuming the living room.
I am on my hands and knees cleaning the shower. I hear Barry say from behind me ”Jes..turn around”.
My stomach dropped and I don’t know how to describe it other than I just knew what he was going to do.
I refused to turn around and he kept asking me to. I sat there with my back to him trying to figure out what to do. I have always said that if I was ever going to be in that position that I would scream as loud as I can, fight for all I was worth and run like hell. Turns out that when you are in a state of shock…your body doesn’t do much of anything. I sat there and just kept saying “Barry don’t. Please no. Stop.” over and over again. He came up behind me and turned me around.
He was naked.
I don’t want to get into all the details of what happened next other than saying that I did fight him. I tried to get away from him. But honestly? I just wanted it to be over with and I wanted to survive to walk out of the house. He had locked me in the house and bedroom. He took my clothes off. My body and brain just shut down.
After what seemed like hours and numerous reasons and excuses of why he shouldn’t be doing this to me, I told him that if he would stop I would have sex with him later. Just not now. He made me promise and then stopped. I never had any intention of following thru with it…I just wanted him to stop.
He left the bathroom and I tried my best to gather my clothes up and get dressed. I remember him yelling at me from the other room asking if I wanted any pineapple juice to drink. Pretty sure I said “no thank you”. I couldn’t find my phone to call John and was looking for it when he came back in. He came up behind me and started kissing my neck. I noticed that he had an ice-cube in this mouth. I pushed him away.
Since I rode over to the house with him, I had to stay and help him finish cleaning. It was almost as if nothing had happened. I stayed as far away from him as I possibly could. I know you are thinking “why didn’t you leave?? run for help? something?!”. I had no idea where I was. He locked me in the house. My brain was on autopilot so bad that I couldn’t remember where I had put my shoes. I just did what I thought I had to do.
Remember….this is a close family friend.
As we were finishing up the house, he kept calling me “hon” and “baby”.
We finished and loaded up the cleaning stuff in the car. I didn’t talk to him. He asked me on the way home what “one of my fantasies was”. I told him that I didn’t have any. I asked him what gave him the right to do this to me, john and our church. He said “I guess I’m just looking for a reason to get run out of town”. That there was “nothing keeping him here”. I asked if he was just trying to get me pregnant. He said yes..that he wanted me to be pregnant with his child. That we would make pretty babies. He tried to give me the money for cleaning, but only if I would go to Victoria’s Secret and buy myself something. I told him that I didn’t want his money.
John called while we were headed home and asked if we would stop and get something to eat. He and Brooks had decided to go on to the house from Sam’s. I wanted to tell him right then what happened, but I just couldn’t.
Barry stopped and got a pizza. We went back to his house. John and Brooks were outside in the backyard looking at the creek. I immediately went back there with them knowing that Barry would follow me. As soon as I got back there, He showed up. I told them that I needed to go in a take a shower and start the pizza. I went in the house and sat at the kitchen table and watched them. Barry was laughing with John and playing with Brooks.
When they came in for dinner, I went up and took a shower. I waited till John was in the house on purpose.
As soon as I got out, I told John that a friend of mine had invited me over for a girls movie night and that she wanted me to stay the night. I remember him giving me the look like ” I’m not sure whats going on but I trust you”. I packed up my bag and kissed he and Brooks and left.
Stayed the night with my friend….went to church the next morning. At this point, I didn’t want to tell John because it would be a serious distraction while he was preaching. I went and robed up for choir.
When I walked across the choir loft, I saw Barry come in the sanctuary and sit down.
It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Sit there and know he was looking at me. I had to leave during the hand shaking part and go throw up.
A guy can assault me and then sit in church the next morning.
I told John after the service.
We got our stuff out of Barry’s house. He wasn’t there thankfully.
We left and went to some dear friend’s house.
Filed a police report the next morning. Met for hours with a detective. Gave a written and verbal statement. Filed for an order of protection. Did all the things you are supposed to do.
It wasn’t enough.
He is still walking around. Still coming to church.
We met with the leadership men and told them what happened. They asked John and I to go away for a while to heal and regroup. We were going to address the church about what happened the following Sunday, but the men asked us to leave before we could do that. We were gone for 10 days.
Barry still came to church in those 10 days and told his side of the story. He used text messages that I had sent him out of context. Remember…family friend. John had asked me to invite him over for dinner one night and said that I needed to be very direct with my message. “My house. Dinner. 7:30. Be there.” Taken out of context..that looks bad. John had a kidney stone and Barry had sent a message asking if there was anything he could do to help. “yeah..can you kill John for me?! :)” Taken out of context..that looks bad.
He was given the opportunity to show people those while we were gone.
I didn’t want him. I never told him that I did. I didn’t ask for a relationship with him. He is sick! He took something from me that wasn’t his to take.
I didn’t sneak out of my house at 5am to “go to the gym” but instead go sleep with Barry.
I didn’t send him naked pictures of myself.
He attacked me. Took from me.
And I want to make sure he never has the chance to do this again.
After we got home from our trip to Florida, the leadership asked John to resign from church. They said that the 2 events were unrelated. Whether I believe that or not, we are not longer serving as Pastor of the church.
The charges against Barry were NOT dropped from lack of evidence.
I asked the detective in charge of my case to not pursue Barry any further. If I didn’t have the support of my church and was going to be moving, there was no reason for me to continue on with it. John and I prayed about it and felt like this was the best thing to do for our family.
Barry was still allowed to come to church.
I am fine.
John and I aren’t getting a divorce. You can put a stop to that rumor.
John has stood by me thru this whole ugly chapter of our lives and never once doubted me.
I am not the same Jes that I was on September 23rd. I am slowly finding my identity in all this and can’t wait to see how God uses me.
Please allow me the time and grace to get past this. I am not looking for sympathy or pity in all this. I am broken and slowly starting to heal…and I may or may not answer your phone calls/texts/emails. It’s not because I don’t love you, but because I am trying to spent as much time with my family as I can.
Please pray for John and I as we start this new chapter of our lives. We are praying and seeking God’s direction. Not sure where that is yet, but I know that He is preparing us for something awesome!