The Struggle is Real


Travis Hairgrove, Editor

In observance of Recovery Month, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity presented a guest speaker with a truly horrific yet inspiring story to tell on Thursday, Sept. 22. The presenter was Laura Jackson, an author, entrepreneur and substitute teacher, and a survivor of intense and persistent sexual and physical abuse and drug addiction.

Attributing her recovery to her devout Christian faith, Jackson told her heartbreaking story to those in attendance. One of the first tragedies she described involved being molested by the husband of a friend of her mother’s.

“He would take his daughter and I into a garage, where he worked on cars as a mechanic,” Jackson said. “He took us there to molest us, weekly. On the way, he’d touch us between our legs. He’d put his large fingers down between our legs, and into our panties and move his fingers around. It would stimulate me enough to make me want to go to the bathroom and pee.

In that very moment, something in that little girl died,” Jackson explained. “Her whole life changed, and a struggle became real. Even though she was too young to understand fully what was going on, God had a plan for her life. Not knowing what was in store, she allowed things to happen to her because she didn’t realize she was doing anything wrong. I say ‘her,’ because after he touched her, that sweet, innocent, precious little girl no longer existed. My very soul was stolen on that day, and my life was snatched right out from underneath me. For no reason other than [his] self-gratification.”

I must’ve thought it was ok, because he did it to his own daughter, and she didn’t tell him to stop, so I had no reason to tell him to stop either,” Jackson recalled. “So, I let him touch me, time and time again. That was my first experience of being sexually abused, that I can remember. He’d take us out to eat, and buy us a milkshake from McDonald’s or White Castle. They were our favorites. We had to eat everything before we got home, so that the other children [three families lived inside the same house] wouldn’t ask for any – no evidence, no explanation.”

This started my life of becoming a sex slave,” Jackson said gravely.

Another, even more disturbing story she told was the stuff of nightmares, as it told how she was betrayed and used by her own brothers.

“One day, I was cornered in the basement of our home,” Jackson said “I was maneuvered into having oral sex with one of my brothers. He gave me a piece of my favorite candy. As I unwrapped the candy, he unzipped his pants and pulled them down. He sat on a chair, and told me to get on my knees, then he guided my head down to his penis. I was instructed to suck on his penis like I was sucking on candy.

After it was over, I was told to go upstairs and wash face and brush my teeth, and not tell anyone…especially mom, and I did exactly what I was told,” Jackson said solemnly. “This would happen several times per week, between two of my brothers until I was 13.”

Eventually, I finally told my mother about my brothers making me have oral sex, hoping I could hear her say she loved me, hug me, and tell me it was going to be alright,” Jackson said. “Her one and only question was what would I have done if I had gotten pregnant. The only thing I could think of was why would she ask me that stupid question, rather than tell me she was sorry, and that she would take care of them when they came home.

It was never talked about, never again,” Jackson continued. “I felt resentment toward my mother after that.”

As Jackson grew up, she moved from one abusive relationship to another, over and over again, unable to break the cycle for a long while, eventually driving her to heavy drug use, including LSD, speed and crack cocaine. When she later met her future husband, though, order very slowly began to replace the chaos that was her life.

“He was a much older man, but he was heaven sent,” Jackson said with a soft smile. “I called him my stalker, because he always seemed to be around. He didn’t call it stalking, though. He called it ‘being available.’ He would come around and play with the children [her children from previous relationships and encounters].

He’d play with the children for hours, while I was in the house, getting high,” Jackson admitted. “After a while of him being around, I didn’t want to use. I respected him enough not to let him see me like that I cared about him, and he cared about me. I believed god had sent me an angel.”

Even later, one of Jackson’s sons became heavily involved in the church, and encouraged his mother to do the same.

“He begged me to get saved, because he had given his life to Christ a week before,” Jackson said cheerfully. “Finally, I went to church. And, on Easter Sunday, 1992, I gave my life to Jesus Christ, and was delivered instantly from using crack cocaine. It was a miracle.”

Ms. Jackson’s powerful story was the second in this year’s series of guest speakers. The next speaker will be Cornel West, scheduled to present Wed., Sept. 28 at 11 a.m. in Ferguson Auditorium, where he’ll discuss the African-American freedom-fighting tradition and police accountability.