myReport: Kidney disease at eight and raped by dad ... Michelle McIntyre's story
At the age of eight, Michelle McIntyre was diagnosed with a kidney disease.
If that were not enough, a daily diet of medication made it worse.
But nothing could top being raped by her father for the next four years, even while battling kidney issues.
Now 35 years old, an author, designer and CEO of her own company, Virtuous Expressions, McIntyre has written her first book, Overcoming Abuse By God's Design, which details how she overcame sexual abuse.
This is Michelle McIntyre's story:
In the early stages of my life, I was diagnosed with a kidney disease. I was so sick that the doctors gave my mother days for me to live.
At the time of my illness, my father was not living with us; it was my mother and my four siblings so she had to do it all on her own.
The trips to and from the University Hospital were tough for her, but she endured. She sent several messages to my father who, at the time, was living with someone else in Kingston.
It took a while before he came to visit. By this time, I was sent home from the hospital with more medication than an eight-year-old should ever take.
I was very excited to see my father to the point where I cried when it was time for him to leave.
Time went by and my father came back to live with us, but this proved to be the worst thing that could ever happen.
All was well at first and he and I had a great father-daughter relationship. After a while, though, I started to become uncomfortable around him because his hugs, touches and kisses started to feel different. At this point, I didn't know what to do because this was my father whom I looked to for protection.
Left with disbelief, fear, anger
I would never believe that he could do anything to hurt me, but I was so wrong.
In the months that followed, I was sexually molested and raped by my father. I lived a life of fear because he became physically abusive as he no longer had a pure love for me, instead it was contaminated by his sexual desires.
My life became hell on earth. For years, I suffered his abuse while being in and out of the hospital and not knowing how to tell my mom because of fear that it would destroy her marriage. So I kept it all in.
But as time went by, I got angrier.
Why was this happening to me?
I grew up in a Christian family, my grandmother, aunts, cousins and mom were all Christians and I got baptised at the age of 6 years so we were all serving God, so when I realised that despite my faithfulness to God he was still allowing this to happen to me, I became angry and bitter. I prayed so long for things to change, but they only changed for the worse.
Read how Michelle overcame her situation at www.jamaica-gleaner.com/myReport