i paint i write

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Uncle Carl was not my uncle.

(WARNING- Adult content)

I slept on the outside edge of my brothers bed and I waited for  the man we called Uncle Carl to come and wake me.  I wore my two piece pyjamas.  My brother slept  against the wall. Uncle Carl touched my shoulder as I lay sleeping with my brother. The irritation of his touch woke me. I wanted to look at the book he had shown me that afternoon. I wanted to see  the drawings of women wearing black bras and panties with no bottoms. I was curious. I had never seen a black bra before. The bras in the Sears catalog were white.  I didn’t wear a bra. I was eight. I didn’t even have a training bra.

I followed the man I called Uncle Carl from my brothers bedroom to my room across the hall. My room was at the end of the hallway. My window faced the backyard. My pink ruffled curtains were pulled shut, the pink covers on my twin bed were pulled back.

My brother was asleep. My mother was asleep. My father was asleep in Ontario. The neighbors were asleep. My cat was asleep.

He did not turn the lights on in my room. I couldn’t understand how we could look at the drawings of the women in black bras without the lights on.

“Where is the book?” I said.

He said, “I will show it to you in a minute. First lay in bed with me.”

He was a man we called Uncle Carl.  He was sleeping in my bedroom.  He was sleeping in my bed.

I have lain in bed with my parents  in the dark when thunder and lightning raced across the Saskatchewan prairie sky. I had slept beside my mother and father when I was afraid. This man was in my bed. It was my bed. I didn’t know it was wrong to lay in bed with him.

It was my bed.

I lay down in my twin bed beside him.  I faced the door with my back to him. He pulled my pink Bedspread over us. He brought his knees under my legs. He put his hand into the waistband of my pajama bottoms and put his hand between my legs. He touched me where I pee. I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t think he was going to show me the book. I got out of my twin bed and walked out of my bedroom and walked across the hallway and went back to sleep in my brother’s room.

I never saw him again.

He wasn’t in the kitchen  in the morning drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.  His brown suitcase was no longer on top of my desk.

My mom washed the sheets and put them back on my bed.

I didn’t tell my mother the secret. Not yet.


As I write this story, the song “Jesus Loves Me” plays in my head, on a continuous loop.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes Jesus love me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.


You can read the next part in the story here: “Mommy, I have a secret.”


These writings refer to Carl Shaack, a Canadian man who died in the early 1990’s. Any resemblance to the name or likeness of any other person using the name Carl, Carl Shaack, or Uncle Carl, is purely coincidental.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • Michelle

    Strong and brave. And NONE of it was your fault. He was the adult. He knew. He understood. I’m so happy you got up and left. The confusion, the uncertainty, the not knowing. Hard to even imagine and I’m so sorry it happened to you, but you are strong and brave. Strong and brave.

  • Sorry just seems to inadequate. You proved “Uncle” Carl right — why was he gone in the morning? He knew you were strong and that you would not keep his secret. From what you’ve shared, this has left it’s mark on you … of course it has!…but he was right, you are strong and brave.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Amy. I think he left the next day. It may have been a few days later. I won’t let my past control my life today any longer.
      I never thought of myself as strong or brave. I like the idea, thank you.

  • No, Uncle Carl was NOT an uncle to you.

    Yes, yes, yes, Jesus loves you.

    Your words make us care about you, too.

    Thank you.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Diane.

  • I can’t imagine how hard this was to put on paper and yes it was very hard to ever read; however, I am so glad you put this out for all of us to think about and remember when we are working with children. The demon of child abuse has occurred many times in many homes and until we talk about it and confront the demon, it will be part of the quiet shame of many lives. I often wonder when kids say or do certain things if there is more than meets the eye in that child’s life. Yet, if they do not talk or bury the even in their minds, we never know. KUDOS to a strong 8 year old girl who knew to walk away and to an even stronger women who is opening the door to discussing such a hidden topic for so many.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Anita. I have wanted to write the story of my abuse for years. It was hard to write. I pray my honesty helps someone who was also abused heal.

  • Oh, Pam!

    I remember this from the early lessons!

    I am proud of you exposing the daemon in your life. The fresh air and sun will annihilate this memory! Out of your thoughts, out of your heart! I like the ending! God bless you!

  • I too am proud of Pamela for sharing this story – it is not an easy thing to share – but I have other emotions that run in the opposite direction. These are the feelings I have towards “Uncle” Carl – I don’t understand people like that – look at the picture at the top. That is a picture of a sweet little girl – not a woman – a little girl – when I read or hear stories like this whether from a stranger or a friend it is heartbreaking – and part of me feels the need to go and hug this little girl – the other part of me wants to have a “chat” with Carl – who is coming with me and who wants to bring the baseball bat?

    • pamelahodges

      Michelle, thank you for the hug. Thank you for wanting to defend me.

  • That’s a piece that’s hard to read, hard to respond to but it must have been so hard to write and share with us. Bravo to you for taking action.

  • This is a very painful story.
    Thank you for getting this subject out of the file and getting us to face it. lmc

  • Rebekah

    The power that childhood sexual abuse holds is in the “making sense” of the incident as the child. Children are not able to process and “make sense” of the abuse on their own. And because they usually don’t tell what happened, they ARE left to interpret it on their own. Think of how we, as parents, teach our children things. We are always interpreting the world for them.

    Our brains are like filing cabinets. All information about the incident (good or bad) is filed away in the brain along with the emotions and physical sensations. ie: a smell of fresh apple pie brings back memories of Grandma’s kitchen. When you see a coiled branch on the ground, your first thought is that it is a snake, but as you get closer, you realize it isn’t. If you turned and ran before you discovered the truth that it wasn’t a snake, you would carry the terror emotion of seeing the snake with you forever even though it wasn’t actually a snake!

    The problem with sexual abuse memories is that there is always a lie attached to the memory – like “I should have known better”, “I should have fought harder”, “I deserved it.” The self blame is filed with the memory and life is lived based on the lie that the child believes and the emotions and physical sensations that went along with the incident(s).

    Truth can set us free. Not just hearing the truth, but truly believing it is when the memories lose their power. Christ is truth. He can redeem each memory and infuse those memories with truth that negates the lie the child believed. The memory doesn’t go away, it is part of your “story.” But the emotions attached to those memories can be gone. If you are struggling with traumatic memories, you can be free of them. Invite Christ into your memories. Identify the lie you believed about the abuse and ask Him to reveal the truth to you.

    Tell someone. Speaking it out loud is powerful. We were not meant to keep secrets.

    • pamelahodges

      Well said Rebekah. Well said. Yes, we were not made to keep secrets.

  • I want to cheer for 8-yr-old Pamela for getting out of the bed and leaving the bedroom!

    • pamelahodges

      Hmmm, I never realized I was strong that day by getting out of the bed. I have always felt embarrassed that I got into the bed.
      Thank you Jessica for the cheer.

  • Robin Patrick

    It has taken me a couple of days to respond because my heart and mind are there with you. I’ve never totally understood why sexual abuse has such a grip on survivors. And why do the memories evoke all the senses? And why is it hard to remove from our souls?
    I am proud of you. Very proud of you. It is so hard. I remember telling my counselor that I just couldn’t say the words. Wasn’t even sure of the words to use. I still have a hard time.
    You said the words. That’s a big hairy deal!!!
    May God continue to heal you and use you are you help others to heal.
    And keep on hearing “Jesus Loves Me” in your head.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Robin for your support, and for your prayers. I don’t know the answer to your questions. I only know that I am taking one day at a time, trusting God, and healing the wounds by exposing them to the light.
      I pray for you Robin. Dear Jesus, please heal my friend.