Creflo Dollar - Trust In The Wind
Studies show that reported sex offenses by adults in positions of power are on the rise, now up to 82% from three years ago. The media has provided increasing coverage of these cases and has empowered those who have been attacked to finally share their stories. Sexual predators masquerading as teachers or politicians or movie producers or on the police force, in foster homes, or even hospital caregivers. Now, our guests today share a very close bond as mother and daughter, but, unfortunately, they also share this in common. Like so many others, they have both been brutally raped at the hands of people in authority who they should have been able to trust. When we come back, you will meet these two women, hear their stories, and we'll help them move forward. We're going to be talking about a very tough subject today, but it's one you may identify with, so you'll want to listen closely. I'm Creflo Dollar, and this is "Your World".
Creflo: I want to introduce you to a mother and daughter who have been living through a cycle of vicious abuse and sexual violence by those in position of authority. They no longer believe that trusting others is remotely possible. Please welcome Renetta and Hope Chester to our show today. Renetta, let's start with you. Take us into your world, and, as we go through this story today, I'm gonna identify different areas and tag some things on it that I believe will help our audience as we go on.
Renetta Chester: So, basically, I had a great childhood at first. My mom and dad were very loving parents. I grew up in a house with music and dancing all the time, and most of the people that know me know me from going to dances and winning all types of awards, big statues for dancing 'cause that's all that was in our house, but, when I turned five, my mom and dad got divorced, so my house became the party house. There was alcohol. There was weed. There was drugs, and there were people in and out all the time, in and out, in and out, in and out. I would say from the age of 6 to 16 was, like, some of my rough times in childhood. I'm sorry. But, from the age of 6 to 16, I was molested and raped by the men and the women that would come into the house, and it was easy for me to be raped and molested because my mom was very, she was very brutal. She was very, and it was just towards me. It wasn't towards my brother and sister, and my dad knew, but at the time, during this timeframe, my dad, when they got divorced, my dad went through a deep depression. He served in Vietnam, so he was kind of jacked up at the time, so he was just drinking a lot, and he was high on drugs all the time, so it was, like, nothing he could do, but all of this was going on in the house, and family knew, and nobody would do anything, and it was so easy for me to become prey to everyone because my mom would just talk down to me in front of everyone. She would slap me in the face. She would punch me in the face. She would just wake up first thing in the morning, and I didn't understand why she was so mean to me.
Creflo: That's hard to hear because it's stripping away any value, and it's so devaluing to suffer that kind of abuse and not feel like you are significant, not feel like you're valued. These are basic human needs.
Renetta: It's basic.
Creflo: You know, this is not, you know, something that may take place at a house. This is something that every human needs to know. They need to know that they have a purpose, that they are valued, that they have significance, and that search for significance either can last for the rest of your life, or it can be shortened if you can get what you need: Security at home, and to hear that you were so devalued, I know what that does. That puts you in a place, now, where you are now searching for value, and you keep bumping into things that devalue you.
Renetta: Exactly. And so, being that we were forced to go to church, I was like, "Well, maybe I can talk to the pastor about what's going on," and little did I know that that particular pastor was also a pedophile. I had no clue. We went to this church, and I was just like, "This is going on in my home," and he came out, and he told the person that brought me to church, he said, "She has a demon in her, and I need to cast it out," and he took me into the back office, and I was screaming, and I was like, "Get me out of here," and nobody came to help me, and he raped me in the church.
Creflo: I almost need to take a break. I got, like, all kinds of emotions because you're going, you're going to the, of all the places you can go to to try to get help. Somebody robs you of your free moral agency. What did this do to your self-esteem? What did it do for your vision, hope, you know, a thing that children should have in them, you know, looking forward to the future, looking forward to being hopeful for what you're doing and what you're going to be in life? Could you help me to describe this?
Renetta: Basically, I just went numb.
Renetta: I was like, "Okay. So, I can't talk to the people who come to the house because they rape and molest me. I can't talk to my mom about it because I don't mean anything to her". My aunties knew about what was going in the house, but they was coming to the house to party too, so it was like. So, basically, I just started rebelling and just started hanging out. I just started hanging out in the neighborhood with all the Caucasian kids because I said, "They don't know me. I don't think they're gonna rape me. I don't think they're gonna molest me," and so my best friends ended up being Caucasian people.
Creflo: So, you had fear that you were going to be raped or molested? You lived a life fearing?
Renetta: Yeah. I feared that, if I hung around black people, at some point, I was going to be touched by either the father or the mother.
Creflo: That's so jacked up. Excuse me for using that word, but that's, to have this fright and this fear, no kid should have to, have to deal with that. There's somebody watching this show right now who may get the courage from you and to be inspired by you to do some of the right things and, in your story, find some things that they need to do to get out of this situation. Come on. Take us a little farther into your world.
Renetta: Okay. So, I just started hanging out with my Caucasian friends in the neighborhood, and I had the greatest relationships. I still keep up with them. I still keep up with them on Facebook and everything, and I go home and visit, but I rarely go home and visit.
Creflo: Did you ever have an opportunity to find out whether or not your mother had gone through some similar things?
Renetta: Well, she never came clean with me, but I would talk to my older auntie, and I asked. I said, "What happened in y'all childhood that made my mom so evil"? She was like, when they were kids, my grandfather, it was during the bootlegging stage. My grandfather was a bootlegger, and he used to make moonshine in the bathtub, and he used to sell it. Well, at that time, my grandfather was very abusive to my grandmother and would beat her to the point that she couldn't function. Then he would turn on his daughters and rape his children, so it kind of gave me a little bit of reprieve. It was like, "Well, maybe she's just angry because most of her life, she was laying underneath her father and was never given a chance to give her body away". I'm like, "But still," I think about that, and I'm like, "But still". Although that happened to me, I've raised my daughter totally different. When I found out I was pregnant, I panicked. I panicked because I was like, "Oh, my God. I do not want to be my mother. I do not want to be my mother". So, I went through every training class the military had. I went to everything, was having. I went to everything every church in the neighborhood was having. I said, "I do not want to be my mother. I don't want to be mean. I don't want to be hateful". I said, "I will tear that tail up if I need to, but I don't want to be abusive, just hitting with broomsticks and hot irons," and I still got bruises and cuts on my back and stuff from where she would take glass and cut me with it, like, break it, or she would take a knife to my throat and say, "I hate you. I wish you was dead," and.
Creflo: My goodness.
Creflo: My goodness. That is abuse in the highest degree, and, might I add, God brought you out of all that.
Renetta: Yes, he did.
Creflo: And here you sit to tell your story. Bring us now into, into the issue with Hope.
Renetta: Basically, I just kept a close eye on her. Because of the childhood I went through, I didn't trust too many people.
Creflo: So, she's not going and spending the night here. She ain't going there.
Renetta: Oh, no. She's not going. They can come to my house, and everybody knew me as a strict mom, so everybody would just release their children to my house. I always tried to make sure the house was safe, and somebody was having a Sweet 16. They had a birthday party. I wasn't gonna let her spend the night, but all the mamas was like, "Oh, Renetta. It's gonna be so safe. We got the police driving through here. We got security guards and the off-duty police. We got security guards, and they putting gates up in the gate so people can't get in, and oh, it's so safe. You won't have to worry about nothing," and I said, "I don't know. I'm real funny about my baby. I'm real funny," but I said, "Y'all, y'all know me. They gonna know me too. If something pop off, you happen what's gonna happen". They already know me. They like, "Ms. Chester, where's your guns"?
Creflo: That was your, "Peace be still," huh?
Renetta: Yes. They've already had a few run-ins with me where I've already taken people down and called them. "Ms. Chester, you are not a police officer. You cannot be doing this. I know you have PTSD from the military, but you just can't be taking people down". I said, "I understand, Mr. Hill. I understand, but they ran through my neighborhood, and that was a problem," so. And so, they said, "Oh, she gonna be safe," and it was, like, all these parents, "Six parents are gonna be watching all the kids, and we gonna make sure everybody is safe," and I drove up there, and I drove off. An hour back, I came back, and I was like, "Is everything okay"? She was like, "Mom, everything is gonna be okay". I'm like, "Okay". So, the weekend went by. Didn't even know anything happened on that Saturday. I went to church, and I got a phone call from another parent. It wasn't even a parent that was at that house, and I'm just like, "So, what"? 'Cause they wouldn't tell me. They was like, "You need to get to your daughter". I'm like, "What's wrong with her"? And I said, "Look. You'd better quit playing with me. Tell me what's wrong with my child". I thought maybe she got in a car accident. I can handle a car accident. Maybe she got hit. I can handle hit, but, when she said, "Your daughter just been raped," I was just like, "Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait". And I walked two steps and collapsed on the ground. I was like, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not my baby. Not my baby. Not my baby. Not my baby". And I knew, and everything that happened to me started flooding back, and I was like, "No. I don't want to deal with this again". So, leaving the church, I called 911, and I told them. I said, "This is Renetta Chester. Someone just raped my daughter. You better get there before me," and I hung up the phone. When I got to the scene, two police officers was already there, and they was like, "Ms. Chester, where's your guns at"? So, I gave them the gun, and I walked in, and I was so angry, and then I turned and saw my daughter, and she was like, "Mommy, I'm sorry. I was outside. I was with the rest of the kids, and it happened. Mama, I'm sorry," and I broke. I broke. He raped her at gunpoint.
Creflo: At gunpoint.
Renetta: In front of her boyfriend. He raped, the boyfriend was sitting there, and he told him, "Don't move, and don't you say nothing," and he raped her at gunpoint and held a gun at the boyfriend too, and they were both the same age, 14, so what are you supposed to do?
Creflo: So. Let's take a break. We're gonna hear from Hope when we come back, and I wanted you to hear this story. I wanted you to hear it raw 'cause this is what's going on, folks, and we need Jesus. We've got to drive out this demonic force that's trying to ruin people's lives. I'll be right back.
Creflo: You know, Renetta, to hear about what happened to Hope at gunpoint, what was the conclusion with this guy who did that? That was just wrong.
Renetta: The conclusion was the DA of Clayton County wanted to give him life in prison. The judge wanted to give him life in prison, but he opted for the plea deal: 20 years in prison, so the DNA proved 99.99% it was him.
Creflo: How'd you find out it was this security guy?
Renetta: At the time, we didn't know if he was an off-duty cop working in security or if he was just security. We didn't know, and everybody was just switching the blame, and then we found out it was the security guard, and then we found out the security company wasn't even bonded, and, in the state of Georgia, you're supposed to be bonded. He denied the whole situation. He denied everything, so I went ahead and got a new lawyer, and I told him my story. I said, "Look. I never got any vindication for what happened to me when I was a kid, for what happened to me at 21 in the military, being raped by a captain in the military. I never got vindication". I said, "I want to stick it to him". I said, "I want to stick it to everybody who had anything to do with my daughter's rape," so he ended up with 20 years in prison. Then my lawyer went after everybody. He just started laying everybody down.
Creflo: Tell us from your perspective whatever you want to tell us, but then I want you to kind of help young women your age, maybe some warnings and things that you can kind of give them to put them in a position where they don't have to go through the same thing.
Hope Chester: I guess a little background about myself, like my mom said, it's always just been the two of us, so it took a lot for her to let me do most of the things I did because I am her child. When it got down to when, after the incident happened, and I was apologizing, I think that's really where it came from. It was a place of, you know, it's always been me and you. You know, you felt it. Something told you, you know? And I, I still pushed it. I still was like, "Hey, you know, let me go. Let me," and I think that's where the guilt and the condemnation came in.
Creflo: So, you felt like, you know, obviously, the Spirit of God was dealing with your mom, "Don't do this," and you felt like you're being persistent, and you were saying, "I apologize. I should have paid attention to what you were saying". Okay. That makes a lot of sense.
Hope: And so, the school was right up the street, and it was during the school season, so, after the whole incident, the story was out before I even touched foot on the campus of the school, so I got to school, and the first thing I do in my first class is someone come up to me, and they're just like, "Hey. So, you got raped? What was that like"? It was being fabricated and changed into a story of, "Oh, yeah. She was up there with a grown man, trying to be fast, and now, she trying to holler rape. I've heard that story plenty of times, and it was your fault. You shouldn't have been outside no ways," and so, you know, I had to deal with losing friends.
Creflo: Kids can be cruel, can't they?
Hope: Very. I had a little bit of depression. The second Sunday after the situation, we went to church, and this was when Minister Michael Owens was over the teen ministry at the time. During the end of his sermon, he said, "If there's anybody out here in the audience with any hardened heart, any hate, any condemnation, any pain, deep-rooted pain, I need you to step foot up here. I need you to be bold". I went up there, and I wasn't the only one. It was a long line of just teenagers just up there in tears. He hasn't touched anybody. He hasn't said anything to anybody, and we're just up there in the line, just bawling. He walked up to me. He singled me out. He said, "Let go of this pain. Do not let this anger destroy you". And so, after he did it, I just hit the ground, and I was in tears, and I was crying for all of five minutes. It just all poured out of me. I got up, and I said, "Mom, I'm free".
Creflo: Come on now, girl. I feel that.
Hope: Like, "I'm happy," and so.
Creflo: Oh, my God.
Hope: From that point on, I forgave the situation. I was still, you know, working on myself, doing the counseling still, and so my biggest thing was that it needed to be told, my story and my mother's story, like, saying, you know, "Look. This is wrong, and the people that are doing it need to be disciplined. Like, they need to be put away," because, if you don't stop it, it'll keep happening. I'm done with being quiet. I'm done with, you know.
Creflo: Oh, praise God. Hallelujah.
Hope: I'm done with not speaking.
Creflo: Yeah. Yeah. Two things. Congratulations. You have raised a champion. You've raised, I'm gonna tell you, I'm gonna tell you what this energy is. It's the anointing all on you. Secondly, when I hear a story like this, and I think about the unmerited favor of God and how people could get down, and they could give up, and they could quit, and they could kill themselves, and they could end the whole process, but you didn't do it, and then I see the grace of God expressing his love to you. That's God saying, "I got you. I got you". And I don't know what those of you who are watching this program today, I don't know your story.
I know there are lots of people who have stories like this. You saw that when everybody came to the altar that day, and you could only imagine the stories that were represented at that altar that day, but here's one thing I do know. If you don't give up, if you don't cave in, and, if you don't quit, the day of recompense will come to your house. The day of recompense will come to your house. When you do what's right because it's right and you do it right, nobody's gonna get, the devil's not gonna get away with trying to violate you and rob you of the freedom to choose. When people are raped, somebody took the choice away, and that's, you can't do that. You can't take somebody's choice to decide away, and today, I mean, I've tried to hold my emotions a couple of times.
I want to shout and tear something up. I want to cry and use all the handkerchiefs. I want to get mad and start fussing, but, at the end of the day, what it was was an anointing, and you had an opportunity to tell your story on "Your World," and this is the vision of this program, this show, and now, in Africa and I can't even tell you the millions of people that are gonna hear your story. Now, God doesn't put anointing on folk for no reason at all, so I'll be watching you to see what's going on. Don't you appreciate our guests today? What a story. What a story.
You know, a violation of any kind on another human being is never all right. The men and women who violated Renetta and Hope's trust as well as their bodies should be held accountable, and they will be held accountable by the only one who has any real permanent judgment, but, in the meantime, in order to move on with their lives, free of anger and hurt, Renetta and Hope need comfort and healing, and God tells us that he will never leave or forsake us. Now, we claim that today, for Renetta and Hope and for all of you who watch this broadcast. That's all the time we have for today. I want to encourage you, and, all of you, I want you to speak up. Speak up. Speak out if you ever feel like you've been violated in any way. We're in a different climate now, politically and in the media, and there's no more room for victim shaming or turning a blind eye to what's happening all around us, and God wants us to feel safe and secure in his love, and there's nothing our Father wouldn't do for us to ensure that security.