America's Got Talent Jessica Willis shares horrific childhood stories about being sexually abused by her father
Jessica Willis from America's Got Talent revealed some pretty horrific details about the abuse that she suffered at the hands of a child molester who turned out to be her father, Toby Willis, since she was a small child.
In a brave and courageous essay, she wrote, "As far back as I can remember, I was sexually abused by my father. I figure I was around three years old in some of the earliest memories. Initially, I had no way to know that anything was wrong. When I did eventually come to realize the fact, I had no way to accurately express what was happening to me. There followed immense shame, distrust and hurt throughout my childhood –- even in the happy times."
The performer also remembered how some amount of suspicion regarding the abuse arose when she was around 9-years-old. Her mother also confronted Toby about the abuse. "I didn’t realize there was zero evidence of anything specific and all I did was nod uncertainly when a few general questions were asked by my mother. I heard my mother raise her voice to my father for the first time in my life and I thought the adults would figure it out. I didn’t understand that my father simply denied any wrongdoing and became more secretive and dangerous from then on."
From then on, the abuse continued for many years until one day at the age of 23-years-old, she decided it was enough. “Halfway through the morning, my brother Jair and I had a disagreement and he went to our father. Dad came down and confronted me. When I didn’t apologize, he took off his belt and beat me like when I was younger. He said it was his God-given responsibility to punish me. It was in that moment I knew. The threats and violence stopped working. No matter how it happened, I would leave by tonight."
She managed to escape with the help of her then boyfriend and now husband Sean through an emergency phone that he got her. She kept her father's secret hidden until a family friend tipped the authorities off. Jessica gave a full account of his actions which led to his arrest. Toby pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.