By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
(ANS) -- She grew up poor, in one of the decaying mill towns of Massachusetts. After she ran away from home, she was groomed and finally drawn into the dark world of sex trafficking, a virtual prisoner in one of the most free and prosperous countries in the world.
“I was conceived in a violent rape, so I always felt like I was worth less than other people,” says Darlene Pawlik, author of “Testimony: the dark side of Christianity.” The rape was so brutal her mother didn’t talk about it for two years. She actually married the perpetrator, who continued to brutalize her mother.
Sexual violence seemed to follow Darlene. “From toddlerhood I was physically and sexually abused by my biological father,” she recounts. “He used drugs and he used repressive techniques, teaching us to lie about what was going on.”
Her mother’s second husband took them to church occasionally, but it was more for a social connection. “At six or seven I accepted the Lord, but there was no discipleship going on. I didn’t know how to follow Him.”
Darlene ran away from home after her mother’s second divorce. “I quit school at the end of the 6th grade,” she says. “I lived as a transient in the streets, stayed in basements, or slept in cars. I slept in the store ‘24’ for a number of months.” A world almanac was her only pillow at times.
She says her mother looked for her, but didn’t get much help from the local police in Haverhill, Massachusetts. “Some of the police were using my runaway friends,” she alleges.
When Darlene was 13, a “handsome” man calling himself ‘Ace’ showed up in town, driving a black Cadillac with a crimson interior. He struck up conversations with Darlene and her runaway friends, slowly building their trust. “When the weather got cold we would get in his car and we would talk and joke around,” she recalls.