I have known Christine Fairbanks for many years now. She has always been one of the most beautiful and intelligent women that I know. As well-spoken as she was, I never quite understood why she was so soft spoken. The interview below helped me to put such things in perspective.
Here is the story of Miss Christine Fairbanks…
Thank you for your willingness to share a bit about yourself and your experiences with the [FriendsOfCoachD.com] audience! Please tell us a little about your background including your childhood.
I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and was surrounded by a very loving, supportive family. My mother was a single parent for most of my childhood and tended to relocate often, so I also lived with my grandmother and an aunt at different times during my upbringing. My father left for the army before I was born–immediately following his high school graduation. In spite of the dysfunction involved with being born to young parents and moving frequently, I managed to maintain solid grades in school and gain recognition as a standout student, which later led to college.
Give us an idea of where you currently are in life and how that came to be?
After graduating from FSU, I began a career as an educator. The following year, my first novel was published, but the second novel of my contract was unlawfully attributed to another author, which inspired me to start an honest publishing entity, Airris.
It has taken quite a bit of legwork to launch the company in addition to being the first author under the brand, but it has been an extremely rewarding process. In the next three weeks I expect to release Healed Women Don’t Cry, a Christian-Living/Memoir hybrid that encourages women to trade “victim” for “victorious” in the wake of abuse and to live the life that God has promised each of them through His Word.
Going a little deeper, what types of challenges have you faced over the years prior to arriving where you currently find yourself?
As outlined in Healed Women Don’t Cry, I struggled with a wavering relationship with God which resulted in heartache and numerous addictions. I dealt with a severe identity crisis because of my inability to identify myself as a child of God. After experiencing years of sexual abuse in childhood and rape as a pre-adolescent, it was difficult to define myself as anything more than a rag doll. My self-esteem wasn’t healthily established until my 20s, so many of my actions were a direct result of simply not knowing who I was.
On Sexual Abuse…
Tell us about some of the tough situations you’ve faced with male figures in your life.
I’ve endured years of sexual abuse as well as experienced rape and domestic violence, so my relationships with male figures were not the best. In all, each of these episodes chiseled at my soul and made it nearly impossible to identify myself as someone of value.
You have mentioned that you have undergone sexual abuse at the hands of TWO fathers. Please explain.
At the age of four, my mother was married and soon after became pregnant. From this time to their separation when I was seven, I was consistently abused by her husband. With the threat of my mother’s disappointment, I began to harness his secret. As a result, I became incredibly introverted and standoffish. Then, at the age of eight, I experienced inappropriate sexual contact with my biological father that resulted in an inability to be near him for over nine years following the incident.
After the first scenario, how was it that you found yourself in a position for it to occur again?
It’s definitely beyond me. It’s one thing that I could not wrap my head around for years. What’s most ironic is that as I sat on my father’s lap that evening, and after he kissed me like a man would kiss an intimate partner, he looked me in the eye and asked if my stepfather had touched me inappropriately. I admitted that he had. The sad part is that I confided in my father in the midst of him abusing me himself. He became the first person I told about the ordeal, but he would do nothing about it.
Tell us about the rape.
The middle school where I attended seventh grade was adjacent to a high school. Both schools shared a track and field. My friends and I were walking the track during PE class when we were approached by a junior from the high school who was lingering alongside the bleachers. He asked for my phone number and called me that evening. He seemed like a nice guy, so when he asked if he could come over after school one day I agreed. Before I had the chance to let him into the house completely his tongue was literally down my throat. He closed and locked the door himself and took me down to the floor within feet of the front door. Screaming was counter-productive and caused him to clench my throat. When he panted that he wanted me to have his baby, fear caused me to stop fighting against him until it was over. He found the bathroom in the hallway, retrieved a towel, and wiped the blood from the carpet before leaving. I never saw him again. The guilt that I felt for letting him into our home hindered me from talking about what happened, so I never came forth.
Christine, as traumatic as I’m sure these situations have been in your development as a young woman, please tell us specifically how they have impacted your views regarding males in general?
One thing that it DID NOT do is make me promiscuous in my adolescent years. I didn’t desire to have sexual relationships with boys. In actuality, I was uncomfortable engaging in relationships with boys who I even assumed wanted me in that way. Instead, in my youth I began to form relationships with girls. For me, relationships with girls weren’t sexual—it was safe. I enjoyed the normalcy of heterosexual relationships, but they were missing the emotional element that I craved in my youth because of all I had experienced. I went on this way through high school and college—having seriously committed relationships with men, yet entertaining emotionally intimate relationships with women.
How have these situations impacted your growth and development as a woman?
Well, not at all as a woman, but initially these situations stunted my growth and development as a woman of God. I was able to lead a fairly normal life from the outside looking in, but I was completely torn up inside. Bouts of depression were normal occurrences—even to the point of contemplating suicide and one actual attempt which left me Baker Acted for a night in college. I managed to have numerous successes in the midst of it all, but I was a complete mess. I rebelled against even the simplest things—even myself as I became heavily involved in drugs and alcohol. Anything that would mask the hurt that lingered from my past, or at least numb the pain for a little while, was desperately desired. Even in all the years of attending church, I didn’t know who God was or that He could heal and restore me. For all I knew, He had it out for me and couldn’t care less about all that I’d gone through. I had it all wrong. It wasn’t until I discovered my identity in Christ that my life began to gain momentum.
Do you find that you have issues interacting with men on a personal level? Please explain.
Definitely not now because I am a healed woman! If you would have asked me that question ten years ago, I probably would have referred to numerous counseling sessions that I spent with a psychologist discussing that topic alone. I had to mature enough to understand that what I experienced should not force me to make generalizations about all men. Now I attribute their actions to spiritual warfare. I believe that God called me before birth for a divine purpose and the enemy attempted to do all he could early on to break my spirit and destroy me. From my premature birth to everything I’ve experienced over the years—even those activities that I purposely engaged in—I wasn’t supposed to make it.
On Physical Abuse…
OK. So you had overcome the tragedy of your younger years and found new love. Tell us about your ex and how that relationship came to be.
I was attempting to live righteously—God was working on me. I met my ex at my brother’s wedding and we hit it off very quickly. He was respectful and understood my posture as a born-again believer. He even joined my church and was baptized. After a while, I gave in to what my flesh desired and we took it all the way sexually. We had determined that we would get married, so we started making plans. We were both eager to have children, so even without the formal commitment, we made attempts to conceive, and we did. By this time, I was so caught up in being pleasing to him I had little to no regard for God.
When did he become physically abusive? Tell us about that transition.
He dealt with a lot of insecurities, which was evident in the fact that he simply could not just be with one woman—or two or three for that matter. I can’t count the number of women I discovered along the way. When I was five months pregnant and no longer with my ex, a colleague expressed an interest in dating me. Although I wasn’t interested, when it was discovered, it took my ex over the edge. He downed a bottle of alcohol and cried aloud for nearly a half hour as he forced me to sit there and watch him. I made an attempt to leave and he grabbed me by my throat. To some degree, I excused this episode because I felt responsible for his emotional state. The second time, I was at home and had done nothing to warrant the behavior—unless you count ignoring his phone calls after discovering yet another woman. He simply lunged at me while I was sitting on the sofa and squeezed my neck so tightly that I could not breath; He hit my head against the wall several times. I gasped for air when he released me, which was difficult as I attempted to cry at the same time. He told me to shut up—that it didn’t hurt. He threatened to kill me, which would also kill our unborn daughter, and then kill himself. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced.
Now, before the abuse started, would you say there were any signs that would have caused you to believe that being a victim was possible? If so, what were they?
I ignored it. He actually told on himself, but he made it seem as though it were not true. He told me about how his girlfriend before me had called the police and wrongfully accused him of abusing her before she left him completely. Considering how well he treated me initially, it would have been difficult to guess that he would ever be abusive or even that he wasn’t truthful about what took place between him and his ex-girlfriend.
What was the occurrence/situation/thought that caused you to say, “This is ENOUGH!”?
Honestly it wasn’t the physical abuse that forced me to the place where I’d finally had enough. It was the emotional weariness. I was sick and depressed and expecting a baby. Although the physical abuse caused me to have an emergency visit to check on her well-being, it was knowing that it would be nearly impossible to be the spiritually, physically, and the emotionally healthy mother she deserved that caused me to walk away. I couldn’t balance his insecurities, abuse, infidelities, my own personal responsibilities, and a new baby at the same time, so I had to be rid of something. One day I found myself in deep thought—pondering what I considered to be God’s best. I determined that he wasn’t—he couldn’t be. If this man was God’s best for me, then God must have truly despised me. And I knew that to be untrue about such a loving God.
Of each of these heart-wrenching situations, would you mind sharing with us your most memorable occurrence of abuse? What was the scenario?
I have to say that it was the abuse at the hands of my stepfather. I was almost 6 and we traveled from Florida to Texas to visit family for the holidays. I had become accustomed to the sexual acts that took place between us, but a part of me expected to have a break if we weren’t on his “turf.” I was wrong. In my aunt’s home, and while three adults were sleeping, he had his way with me on the living room floor. He was bold and confident. I will never forget that day.
Were people around you aware that this was going on? If so, what were some ways they attempted to help? If they did not offer help, how did that cause you to feel?
There was no one when it came to sexual abuse at the hands of my stepfather, but once my mother became aware of the situation between my biological father and I, she called the authorities immediately. As far as domestic violence, no one could come to my rescue because when it was revealed (and created an abundance of chaos in my family), I soon denied that he’d ever done any of it. I wanted to keep the peace between my family and the man that I would have to maintain a relationship with for the sake of our child. Legal action came into play a little while later when he made threats to kill me to another person.
Christine, what has been your focus through the years? What guides you on your path?
What is it within you that causes you to repeatedly say, “I WILL SURVIVE!!!”
The fact that I would awake to fight another day. The fact that drugs and alcohol didn’t take me out long ago. The fact that breath in my body indicates that there is yet a purpose for me here on earth. The fact that there is a little girl who depends on me. The fact that I owe God more than I have to give, so I purpose to live every day in a way that honors and glorifies Him.
If you could share a word of advice or tip with other victims or survivors, what would you share?
Know who you are! Abuse has a way of making us second-guess who we are as individuals as well as who we are in the body of Christ. We are children of an amazing God who is eager to step in and heal us of all hurt and pain. We just have to trust and believe that He will not only make it better, but will restore everything that has been broken—even the time that has been lost.
Finally, knowing where you are now and all you have experienced up until this point, what words of advice would you share with your younger self?
Wow. That’s a really good question. I would have to say simply, “Don’t be moved.” There are challenges that will come to paralyze and even ruin us, but we can’t be moved. No matter how young or old, we have to stay grounded, steadfast, and focused. My problem was that I wavered easily so I took a few undesirable paths as a result. I would tell my younger self to simply, “Be still.”
What do you have in store for your future?
I can’t even begin to imagine ALL the things God has in store for me, but I know it’s great. I rest on the promise of better days ahead, and for me that is enough. Personally, I’m excited to move forward with my publishing company, Airris, and I’m continuing to write my heart out. God has given me so much that I’m overflowing with creativity for personal projects as well as projects that I will assist others in creating. Apart from pursuing purpose, I am consistently finding ways to be a good mother to my daughter who is more amazing than I could have ever imagined her to be. The cherry on top is my upcoming marriage to an amazing man of God next winter. He is beyond anything that I have ever desired or prayed for. I tell you, I have been phenomenally blessed.
Lastly, what would you like to say to the offenders? What would you want them to know?
Nothing. They have all been long forgiven. I believe that it is possible for those who abuse others to undergo a transformation, so I’m standing in faith that they have or will. My ex-stepfather passed a few years ago, and I pray that he was able to leave this earth with a pure heart. My biological father and I have a pretty decent relationship these days—whenever he is available for one. These men can simply observe a woman who leads a Christ-centered life and who wasn’t ruined by their actions.
Visit Author Christine Fairbanks at www.AirrisPublishing.com TODAY!
Know who you are!
Abuse has a way of making us second-guess who we are as individuals as well as who we are in the body of Christ.
We are children of an amazing God who is eager to step in and heal us of all hurt and pain.
– Christine Fairbanks