Song & Video by Amy Grant: Innocence Lost
It was almost the Summer of 1969, and I was a 17-year-old girl who was raised to treat other people as I wanted to be treated. I also wanted to be ‘liked,’ so when the local Disabled Vietnam Veteran came sniffing around me at the root beer stand after school, I felt somehow honored, but at the same time, I didn’t want to accept his invites to get to know each other better. The war had taken his legs, blown off just above the knees, but he was still ruggedly handsome. I was torn on how to say ‘no’ to someone I did not want to offend.
He had a souped-up, yellow Camaro that had been outfitted to serve his legless needs. He was wounded in 1966 and had rehabbed very well. His upper body strength was highly developed, and he could hop into and out of his chariot with nimble ease. I made the decision to accept his invitation to ride around in his car based on the fact that my family and I would be moving from the Midwest to California in less than two months. What would it cost me to be ‘nice’ to this young man?
Intuition is a God-given gift and most times when I have not paid attention to it I have paid dearly. There were several clues about this fellow’s strained relationship with reality, but I felt sorry for him. This was not the best reason to continue to avoid my inner alarm system. After several afternoons riding around our small hometown, he asked me to come to his apartment with him. Bad move!
We were making out on the floor of his living area, and although he was a great kisser, I was not interested in taking this relationship to a higher level. He had other plans. He put his hand up my blouse and began trying to remove my bra; I grabbed his wrist to pull it away. With a lustful look in his eyes, he said, “Don’t try to resist me, I have the strength of 10 men.” I did not want to hurt his feelings and continued to struggle and plead with him to stop.
I finally realized this was not a matter of hurting his feelings; it was a matter of my personal safety. I forcefully pulled my knee up into his groin, and as he recoiled in obvious physical pain, I jumped up and ran to the front door. Turning back to face him, while he was still writhing on the floor, I said: “You may have the strength of ten men, but I can run faster than you!”
This physical assault was the beginning of my ‘innocence lost.’