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"All of my Bible heroes are survivors. I guess all of the people I have met in my life and I consider to be my heroes are survivors...This book is the story of a survivor. It is the story of a remarkable young woman who did not allow herself to be a victim but became a survivor. She did not look for social issues or society to blame but turned her violation and hurt into something positive, not only for her but for all of the people in her life. This is a story of God's love and grace and a lesson of life...Little Girl Lost is her story's title but the story of her life should be called 'Little Girl Triumphant.'"
--From the Foreword by Nicky Cruz
The events of Leisha Joseph's life are sensational, but the deeper story lies in her relationship to God, and in what she can now teach others who suffer from the fear and hurt that result from violence and trauma.
As the treasured only daughter of an upper-middle-class family, Leisha, as well as her brothers, enjoyed a happy childhood. When she was eight years old, all this changed abruptly with the death of her father. The strain on her mother manifested itself in wild behavior. In between frequent stays in private mental hospitals, she brought home a string of boyfriends, some of whom preferred children and made their way to Leisha's bed. After trying to burn down the house and chasing Leisha with a kitchen knife, her mother was confined to the state mental hospital. While friends and family lent a hand, it was largely up to Leisha and her brothers to keep the family intact.
Sadly, Leisha experienced the pain of isolation because of her family situation. She found God as a teenager, but that comfort did not last long. Leisha became disillusioned with Christianity and began taking drugs until an overdose had her on her knees, promising to serve God all her life if He saved her. She was sober in an instant, and has kept her promise.
Just when she had managed to turn her life around and was a finalist in the Miss Teen USA pageant, recently graduated with honors from high school, and engaged to marry a godly young man, Leisha experienced an attack at the hands of a serial rapist. Yet God intervened once more, giving her the words that would save her life and would eventually cause her attacker to confess in court. Even when he escaped and came after her, as he had threatened to do, Leisha refused to let fear dominate her life. She rejected the advice of the Witness Protection Program, instead relying on God's saving hands.
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Leisha Joseph is former president of LJ & Co., a Christian ministry marketing and product development company. She has worked with such organizations as Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, and Christian Coalition. She is married and has a thirteen-year-old son.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Our wedding was one month to the day away as I found myself clinging desperately to Tom's strong arm in the backseat of an unmarked police car as we drove from parking lot to parking lot in search of my rapist's car.
I hadn't slept at all the night before. The sedative the doctor had given me hadn't worked and my mind kept thrusting me into the middle of the rape. Over and over again, I thanked God for saving my life. I marveled at God's sheer power and faithfulness to be with me always. When words failed me, I prayed in my spirit knowing that God would understand my heart. I basked in His presence and tried to rest.
Detective Brimmer's telephone call came early the next morning.
"Because you were so clear-minded in your descriptions and gave us his license number, we think we've located him," he said. "If you're up to it, we'd like you to come down to the station."
I had been stunned. I couldn't remember giving the police the license number.
Tom had driven me downtown to the old gray building and we were led to the basement where Detective Brimmer and his partner, Detective Foster, were waiting. Detective Brimmer had to clear the wooden chairs of newspapers and files before Tom and I could sit down. On his desk was a half-empty family-size bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Its empty twin was lying on top of crumpled papers that were stuffed in an overfilled wastebasket.
"We think we've found the guy," Detective Brimmer said. "We're going to drive you by some locations and all we want you to do is look around for his car. If you see it, just point it out to us, okay?"
"Okay," I answered.
We drove directly to the Bargain City parking lot that had been blistering bright the day before, but was gray and dull on this cloudy day. This didn't feel like the Fourth of July.
"No, I don't see anything like his car."
We drove across the street to the Greenwood Mall parking lot, passing the movie theater where I'd seen many films as a kid and the dime store where I'd parted with many a week's allowance.
"No, I don't see anything."
"Are you sure? Look again, be sure."
We drove several miles and pulled into the parking lot of a Hostess Day Old Bread store. My throat tightened as I recognized his car parked in front of the store. O my God, did that mean he was inside?
"That's it," I said, my voice sounding much stronger than I felt. "I'm sure. That is the car he drove away in."
"All right, that's all we needed," Detective Brimmer said as he slowly drove away. "You've done real well, Leisha."
My stomach churned as Tom drove me home. I was relieved that the police had found him so quickly, but I knew the days to come would bring a horror of their own. Tom looked grim as he leaned over and kissed me good-bye.
"Aren't you going to come in?" I asked.
"No, I have something I have to do."
I stood on the porch and watched him drive away without looking back.
Tom drove directly to his house and walked in without a word.
"Hello, Tommy, how did it go with the police?" Tom's mother asked. But he brushed past her and walked to his bedroom, coming out just moments later.
"Tommy . . ."
"Oh, fine, Mom. Fine. They found him."
"Found him! Wait, where are you going?"
"I have something to do," Tom said, hurrying out the front door.
Tom looked at the sharp blade on the sturdy army knife on the seat beside him as he pushed the gas pedal. It looked threatening and deadly, just like he felt. His heart burned with a need for vengeance. At the speed he was traveling, it didn't take Tom long to reach the Hostess store. He slammed on the brakes, grabbed the knife and burst through the door.
Inside, the bakery workers saw the knife and scattered.
"Who owns that car out there?" Tom shouted, pointing to the vehicle I'd just identified.
The workers, who were hiding behind counters and bread racks, were silent.
"I said I want to know who owns that car because I'm going to kill him," Tom shouted again.
From behind a bread rack a frightened voice said, "You're too late, buddy, the police just picked him up."
Tom shook with fury as he got in his car and drove home.
* * *
When he picked me up the next day to go to the police station again, Tom's face didn't show what he was really feeling and he didn't say a word about what he had nearly done. Detective Brimmer had called and asked us to come to the downtown jailhouse, where a line of prisoners waited for me to pick out the one who had raped me.
I wasn't prepared for what I saw as I walked through the door. The room was filled with somber women and children.
"Detective Brimmer, who are all these women?"
"In other cases?"
"No, Leisha, only one case. This one. Look, we've been onto this guy for a long time. We think he's the same guy who assaulted all these women, but we didn't have enough evidence to link him to anything until you came forward. No one else has been willing to press charges. He told all his victims the same thing: "I'll hunt you down the rest of your life, I'll kill you, I know where you live.' They're all afraid. Not one has agreed to press charges. We were lucky to get them here today."
I looked into the faces of his victims. Several of them were pretty, young girls, but many were middle-aged and a couple were elderly, including one who leaned heavily on a cane. I assumed the children were there with their mothers.
"Don't you have somewhere for the children to wait while their mothers identify him?" I asked.
"Leisha, those children are his victims, too."
My knees felt weak, and my stomach churned. One little girl couldn't have been more than ten, the other must have been twelve. Who was this monster?
Detective Brimmer stood in the middle of the room and announced: "We're going to lead you into a room one at a time. There will be a two-way glass wall. You'll be on one side and the prisoners will be on the other. They cannot see you, so you needn't be afraid. They have no idea who is identifying them. Take your time and look at each prisoner. If you see the one who assaulted you, identify him by the number above his head."
When my turn came, I was led into a darkened room that was lit by one overhanging bulb. The room on the other side of the glass was well lit. My palms were sweating as I sat down at the table in front of the glass. What if he's not there? What if he's still out there? The prisoners began to fill the room and I noticed that I was holding my breath. I exhaled loudly and began to look for my attacker.
O dear Lord, there he is, number five. I was certain. Something in his eyes triggered the memory of the smell of him, and my nostrils burned with the stench. He was looking straight ahead, not aware of the torrent that was whirling inside me. For one brief second, I wished he could see that I was the one pointing my finger at him. That I was the one with power at that moment, that I held his future in my hands. But I realized that was revenge and certainly not from God and I pushed it away.
"Number five," I said.
"Take your time, Leisha. We want a positive identification. Look at every man up there closely."
"I'm absolutely positive. That's him, number five."
"Okay, take them away," Detective Brimmer said.
"What happens now?" asked Tom.
"Well, we need to see if any of the others will press charges. So far, none of them have been willing."
"Not willing . . . I don't understand," I said.
"Look, Leisha, they're scared to death. Did you see the older woman with the cane? He ran over her with her own van and she will be crippled for the rest of her life. She feels lucky to be alive. This guy is brutal."
A chill ran up my back like icy fingers. Detective Brimmer led us back into the room where the others were waiting. Tom and I sat down and Detective Brimmer told us he'd be right back and left the room. The room was quiet, no one was talking. I looked at the women around me. I couldn't read their faces, their expressions were blank. Indignation was bubbling inside me and I could contain it no longer.
"How many of you are going to press charges?" I demanded, surprised at the authority in my voice.
My words were met with blank, hard stares. No one responded, and I stood up and faced them. "How can you let him go? How can you let him walk away from what he did to you? Let him go and he'll be free to rape your daughter tomorrow. We have a righteous responsibility here!"
A middle-aged woman looked away. I understood very well what she was feeling. I intimately ...
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Book Description Doubleday. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0385492391 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0385492391ZN
Book Description Doubleday, New York, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Stated First. NEW FIRST EDITION SIGNED BY AUTHOR. New retail at 19.95 when released. Received fron author at new release book signing. Foreword by Nicky Cruz. A dramatic story of abuse and survival. Seller Inventory # 002449
Book Description Doubleday, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0385492391
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Book Description Doubleday, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110385492391
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Book Description Doubleday, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0385492391n