Darwin Hobbs Breaks “Gag Order” on Childhood Molestation: Singer confesses about his personal encounter with sexual abuse
To tell or not to tell? For victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), that question is as complex as their entangled emotions connected to the violation that usually robs them of their voices. The puzzlement is compounded when the violator is someone deemed safe and trustworthy from their inner circle — such as a clergy member, a family friend, a coach or even closer, a relative — and especially if the victim is male.
Unfortunately, says gospel artist Darwin Hobbs, sometimes those abused within the Body of Christ remain quiet because “there is a lack of integrity and people think you’re going to tell their business,” ergo many people suffer in silence. Hobbs has been there and understands the implicit “gag order” in the church on sexual taboos.
With the release of “Free” his latest 12-track CD offering on his own Liaison Records in partnership with Tyscot, the soloist dubbed the “Luther Vandross of Gospel” is talking openly about his recent breakthrough from CSA.
Hobbs is indeed free in our interview as he reveals that being molested at an early age was the underlying cause of his obesity and bad attitude. The perpetrator was his stepfather who fondled him on numerous occasions. If he said anything about it his mother would die of a heart attack he was told. The manipulative lie planted in his head as a boy nuzzled him until at 39, the death of the pedophile not only freed the Ohio native to write the title cut on his new project, but also to finally confess the haunting secret he’d kept from his mother most of his life.
The incident bulwarked his maturity in every way, keeping the artist a psychological child well into adulthood.
Hobbs said of the appropriately titled project, “I’ve never recorded an album as a free person. I’ve always been somehow bound . . . before this time and season in my life.”
By God’s intervention Hobbs escaped the bounds of being a gay Christian. He denies dabbling in a homosexual lifestyle but says he wrestled with identity crises because of the incest-like misconduct inflicted upon him.
His supportive wife and life-long confidant Traci had known about his internal conflicts all along, but after telling his mom his life began to change drastically, “I’ve been apologizing to people more than ever—I just wasn’t a good person to be around.”
“Even as those inward layers of pain are peeled away I’m able to deal with some other outward manifestations of pain like me dealing with obesity and now the weight is starting to come off,” Darwin shares and that’s both literally and figuratively.
A swimming regimen has left Hobbs 42 pounds lighter physically. He’s getting rid of the psychological, spiritual and emotional weight with routine visits to a professional counselor.
Like Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin, two prominent gospel artists who made their private struggles public (homosexuality and porn addiction respectively), through his naked testimony this vocal impresario has tapped into his personal power to emerge as a more effective minister of the gospel.
“.... What better way [to minister] than to say I’ve got issues and I’ve been in some of the same places you’ve been in?” inquires the crooner rhetorically.
Since he began promoting the album (on which he wrote 3 songs) he simultaneously advocates for Christian counseling. Set out to dispel the “only-crazy-people-go-to-counselors” myth that abounds in the African-American community, his dual goal is to break the bonds of shame associated with sexual abuse to begin the healing process.
At last the singer has unearthed his bold inward voice. (And now that he’s shaken off the shackles, he tells me of his plans to record his first love-themed “made for Christians” R&B album.) Darwin Hobb’s inspiring story is a prime example that it’s never too late to be set free and a testament to scripture: who the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36).