But, would you love him if you knew his secret, even if he said he was really, really sorry?
Charles Rayne* is a convicted child molester. He was sentenced to 10 years of mandatory probation for molesting his 15-year-old step daughter. He is not allowed to have any contact with his four children, his wife has divorced him, he lost his job and he has had to move 300 miles away from his family. His name will be registered on the sex offenders list for the rest of his life, convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation, a felony that has halted his ability to find work.
He is well aware that this particular crime is socially unforgivable and automatically carries with it a lifetime of being labeled as a monster.
But truthfully, it is highly unlikely that you would call him a monster if you met him. Before the life-altering day of his conviction, Rayne was living his dream life. After growing up watching his parents express a stable, focused love he wished for the same for himself. As luck would have it at 19, he met a bright young woman at work who caught his attention and his eyes never wandered.
He soon married the only woman he had ever loved, adopting her two young daughters as his own. They made a family together, adding his first son the year they were married and then another son a few years after that.
As Rayne lived out his childhood dream he says absolutely nothing was missing. He does admit that he may have taken for granted that his dream of having a beautiful wife and family came true so quickly. He didn’t realize that everything would fall apart so abruptly over an incident that he says- he still doesn’t understand.
She Had Chills
It happened one night while Rayne’s wife worked the overnight shift at her part-time job. Their two sons were fast asleep in their parents bed while the older girls were asleep in their bedroom. Rayne had made dinner for the family and gotten them ready for bed quickly, enjoying the quiet of the house as they all slept.
Earlier in the evening his oldest stepdaughter had complained of a fever and chills so he stepped into her room to check up on her. As he watched the 15-year-old sleeping he says he does not know what came over him. He approached her bed silently in the dark and stood over her, watching as her chest heaved up and down, her eye lids fluttering slightly.
“All I remember is fear going through my whole body,” Rayne says. “I was shaking. I wasn’t myself.”
As though his body’s movements were on auto-pilot he stood trembling in fear as he watched his hand reach into her underwear to touch her vagina. He penetrated her with his fingers, still shaking, still unable to comprehend his actions.
“As I was in the process of this, I thought to myself- What am I doing?” Rayne admits. After the moment had passed he slipped out of the door and back into the living room, sitting on the couch in fear, praying that she had slept through his assault.
“I was in shock,” he remembers. “I was scared to death. It felt like I had just killed a member of my family. It was that type of fear, like I just ended someone’s life.”
A month later, his wife pulled him aside with a pained expression on her face. She told him she had intercepted a note between her teenage daughters and could not believe what she had read. She asked him if it was true.
“I denied it at first,” Rayne admits. “I denied it out of shame and fear of how she would react. I didn’t want to hurt her when she had gone through so much with the birth of our second son.”
Rayne later admitted his guilt to his wife. He describes watching her face transform from his beautiful blushing bride into what can only be described as the perfect embodiment of heart break and sorrow.
“What led up to that? I ask myself almost every day what would lead you to do something like that,” Rayne says. “I didn’t think it out. I don’t know what got into me. I wish I could answer that. But in the process of doing it, all I felt was fear. I literally remember asking myself, ‘What are you doing right now?’ There was no enjoyment, there was no pleasure. It was complete and utter fear going through my body. That’s not what a man is supposed to do to a child. A man is not supposed to do that to a woman unless she allows him to do that.”
Asking For Forgiveness
“Every day I ask myself why I did it,” he says. “I don’t know if you’ve ever asked yourself a question over and over and can’t get an answer to it. There’s nothing in my history or my upbringing as a child. No daddy or mommy issues; nothing to lead up to anything like that.”
After raising his step daughter from the age of 5, Rayne says he had never once been sexually attracted to her. He understood, even though he was a young father, that he was supposed to protect his daughters from the same behavior that he had offered.
What he did next made all the difference in his family’s future well-being. Rayne sat each family member down individually and apologized for his behavior. He asked for forgiveness from them all one by one.
When he spoke with the step daughter he violated he told her, “This was not your fault. There is nothing that you did to make this happen. I’m sorry for the physical acts that I committed. I’m sorry for the mental or the emotional acts. I’m sorry for hurting you. I’m sorry for not protecting you. I’m sorry for taking away your trust. I hope one day you will find it in your heart to forgive me.”
“It is indeed rare to find an abuser who willing steps up and takes full responsibility for his abuse and the pain and suffering and the trauma that ensues to his victims,” says Nneka MacGregor, the Executive Director of Woman Center for Social Justice located in Canada. “What abusive men often fail to realize is that there is so much more to be gained by owning up to the choices they made. It’s an act of cowardice not to do so. But for an abuser to stand up and be truly and sincerely contrite, to acknowledge to those who he has gravely wronged, I honestly believe that takes courage, and such men have a lot to teach others.”
They Don’t Hate Me
Despite the devastation of the family unit, Rayne says that his wife and children do not hate him. He maintains that his wife (now ex-wife) still informs him about the children’s progress, sends him pictures of the children and offers him well-wishes on his new journey.
His ex-wife credits her faith in God for her ability to move forward. She believes that holding on to the anger would only keep it present in her family’s life. Her daughter is doing well, graduated at the top of her class, earning a scholarship to college and was even voted Miss Senior by her peers. Rayne’s ex-wife says that she didn’t have to encourage her daughter to forgive him because that is the type of person she is.
“This past November was my birthday,” Rayne offers. “They sent a gift box for me with cologne and scratch-off tickets. She sent a gift card and a nice birthday card signed by both our boys and both of our girls. The card was also signed by her mother and her sister.”
Throughout the whole process, Rayne says his wife and her family have been more compassionate than his own family. “If they did hate me I couldn’t fault them but they don’t hate me,” he says.
A Message For the Abused From An Abuser
Rayne wishes he could turn back and undo what has happened but he knows that he can’t. He prays that one day God will restore his family and in the meantime he asks God to be with his wife and children to help them to heal and to protect them like he should have.
Rayne also has a few words for other young victims of abuse that he says will help them to understand what happened and to move on from the mental anguish.
“Don’t blame yourself,” Rayne says to abuse victims. “There is no reason- whatsoever- that you should be put in that position. The men in your life should protect you, honor you and respect you.”
“He doesn’t hate you. If he hurt you on purpose then he hates himself,” Rayne continues. “He probably hates himself so much that he wants to inflict as much pain as possible onto anyone close to him. It’s not you. You didn’t do anything to drive him to that point. Some people just do horrible things. It’s not your fault. I don’t know what that guy was going through but it’s not your fault.”
“You didn’t do anything to deserve that,” Rayne explains. “You have to believe it from the depths of your heart.
*The name Charles Rayne and a few minor identifying details were changed to protect the identity of the subjects, however, the quotes and story are factual.Follow OneLessSecret