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Girls and Scrap Metal

TaraWhen a little girl has been used as a sexual toy instead of protected and treasured, it changes the way she perceives herself. When she gathers the courage to tell someone about it and they disregard her, the damage is greater still.

It’s why so many women feel like scrap metal. Rusted out, left in the rain, worthless, scrap metal. We may not know exactly what to call it, but we know the feeling all too well.

We can feel deep anger when we hear of a little girl on the news having been raped by a man who is now out on bail. We feel rage when a friend tells us he, too, was molested by someone he trusted when he was young. But, we cannot feel that for ourselves.

Our own stories numb us out; they are too familiar, too close, too vivid.

We were bad little girls. We learned that early.

It’s what he said when he slithered into our pink flannel sheets in the dark. It’s what he said when he climbed off of us, and it’s what he said to keep us quiet the next day, the next month, the next decade.

Maybe he’s not saying it anymore. Maybe he’s even dead, but the damage is done. Our little girl minds and hearts are seared with the message: You are scrap metal. Your body and soul are to be used and discarded.

We have to believe we are scrap metal. Anything else is too much. Too much pain, too much reality, too much loss…

If we are scrap metal, nothing hurts us, nothing penetrates us, we are not vulnerable or woundable. We are nothing. We have no emotional responses to being treated less than human. Sadly, we also don’t learn how to protect ourselves. Scrap metal doesn’t need to. It doesn’t care either way.

We learned not to think of ourselves as precious. Or if we do, we have to look at the fact that we were betrayed in the most intimate of ways. We can’t see ourselves as worth protecting, or we have to look at the pain and loss of what was taken. So…scrap metal it is.

The residual damage can show up for years in many different ways:

It’s ok if he hits me, I caused it.

It’s ok if I get paid less, it just doesn’t matter.

It’s ok if I have to keep quiet, he didn’t mean to.

It’s ok he was with someone else, I know he loves me.

It’s ok if he doesn’t meet my needs, I don’t have any.

It’s ok if he doesn’t seem to care about me until he wants sex, he’s a guy.

It’s ok if he uses the bible to get his way, at least he’s not cheating.

It’s ok if he treats my kids harshly, they aren’t his anyway.

Often because of the early sexual abuse, we were taught we didn’t deserve to be protected, so we learned not to protect ourselves. We were taught it was our fault, so we learned not to tell the truth. We were taught we were sexy, so we learned to deny our sexuality or use it as leverage. We were taught our bodies were the problem, so made it the enemy. We were taught men are in control, so we stopped desiring to be cherished. We were taught pain is the price we must pay for being wanted, so we became invisible.

Here is what I want every woman who ever suffered at the hands of a man with a less than nurturing heart to know: It doesn’t have to be that way!

We are built to change, to grow, to heal, to thrive.

You are deserving of love. Nothing anyone ever did to your little girl self can take that away. That little girl in you who was used and neglected deserves freedom from her scrap metal identity. She was not at fault. She is not the problem. She was a little girl who should have been treasured at all cost. She did not cause it, and she could not have stopped it.

The metamorphosis from a heart of scrap metal to the heart of a women is a powerful journey.

The girl in the photo is me. I didn’t always get what I needed and often experienced what no little girl should. But I am learning to take care of my little girl self who believed very early she was nothing. When we begin to believe we are something other than scrap metal, that cold, rigid, indifferent, self-protective place in the middle of our chests starts beating anew.

Scrap metal be gone!


  1. Tara,
    I ‘stumbled’ upon your site ‘by accident’ not that I believe in accidents. A friend of mine posted an -in Dutch translated- article on Facebook “What little girls wish daddies knew”

    I read your blogpost here.
    How comforting are your words, how deep it resonates with me.. your words validate.
    I am walking the journey to wholeness, with all the shame and all the mis-understanding around me. All those silly questions: why did you not say anything? was it really *that bad?
    To read your words about the little girl.. I have felt *so silly calling her that, I have had *so many questions/remarks.. ‘you’re not a split personality’ and that may be true, but my soul split when it happened, and it stopped growing up right there.
    Thank you for your vulnerability. For sharing. For making me feel that someone knows, someone understands. It was the gift of this day. Bless you.

    And thank you Eric Matlock, for re-stating as a man, that is was not my fault. You are the second man who says that, and even though I don’t know you, it means a lot to hear it coming from a guy


  2. I would just like to say wow. I’m the dad of a four year old girl and I can’t imagine finding out that she was sexually abused or abused in general. I don’t even know how I would react which is scary to me. I’m a Paramedic and I know it upsets me to run these types of calls. So, like I was saying it scares me to think about my reaction to the person who abused my daughter. I’m the guy that is and has to be calm, cool, and collected in order to make the best decisions both on duty and off for the patients and my family. I would endeavor to be calm, but I feel as if my emotions would drive me if my daughter were ever sexually abused.

    I guess I’m going to have to teach her jiu jitsu. Her protecting herself in that situation is one thing, me getting a hold of the guy or girl is another. Which, would not end well for the abuser. Once again, the lord knows I’d try to keep calm, cool, and collected but I fear my response to said situation would be harsh. J.C.

  3. This commentary was very touching and I related to it very well. Thank you Tara for touching on topics that are raw, real and true to what is happening to mankind. You are courageous and that is way this FB Page is so attractive and uplifting to me personally. I pray that everything that your hands touch for the year 2014 is blessed beyond measure and that you God continues to use you and speak to you as you write, counsel and help others. I also, pray that you remember to take time for self and that you are able to reflect, heal, recovery and enjoy this GIFT called LIFE!



  4. Tara, you have my deepest sympathy and respect. My wife was a victim of every bad thing a little girl should never go through. I made it worse by becoming an abusive husband. I spent 20 years thinking I was her hero, just because I wasn’t as bad as the other men in her life. Then, I was.
    I believe that the single biggest failure in the church is allowing women to be neglected, dominated and abused. The New Testament compares salvation to marriage. Bride and bridegroom. We are told to love our wives like Christ loved the church. We are to focus our passions, as husbands, on becoming Christlike. That means we commit ourselves to doing whatever we have to do for our bride. She becomes our mission.
    When we get men to understand the full value of their wives and children, we will have changed the world permanently. When men take that perspective, those little girls get healed. They understand their value. Just like Christ, we have to do what’s best for our bride, no matter the cost to us.
    I will say it over and over, to any of those “little girls” who will listen. It’s not your fault. You are precious. You deserve better.
    Tara, you keep on encouraging those little girls to get healed and I will keep on coaching these men to treat them better.

  5. God bless you abundantly in your ministry sweet sister!! xo

  6. Maybe it’s because of this worthlessness that I cry my eyes out when I listen to lyrics of songs of men professing their never ending love to a woman. It’s such a deep desire of mine to know that kind of tender selfless love. If I were honest I would admit that I have experienced this love – In Christ. Marriage is supposed to imitate that love but we are human and we are ever learning and falling and relearning. I have fought so hard to know that love, and there lies my downfall. It’s not that I deserve it/don’t deserve it, it’s just that I mustn’t demand it. The intense desire of it comes from the pain from the lack of it and the accusation that I am not worth the effort of it. I’ve learned that that kind of love and acceptance flows to those who loosen their grip on the expectation of what it must look like. I am a work in progress, refusing to believe I am scrap metal and at the same time battling to believe I am lovable at the same time accepting love with an open hand. Often it seems like an uphill battle but the times when I have experienced God come through and sweep me off my feet through unexpected ways makes it worthwhile. I realize there’s a greater purpose – I have 4 children and the generations to follow to spur me on to fight the GOOD fight.

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