June 20th 2004
It was Fathers Day. I was only ten years old. I was spending time with family to celebrate the holiday. Towards the end of the afternoon I was alone with one of my relatives in my room, sitting on my bed. He started talking to me, saying weird things. Then he was touching me, and kissing me. When I reacted, in shock, in dismay, his response was to accuse me of not loving him, of being mean and hurting his feelings. He knew what to say, to guilt me into feeling horrible. I was so confused, and upset but most of all, I felt ashamed. That somehow it was my fault. That I had done or said something to make him think that was okay, that I wanted that too. But it was, and never will be my fault. I was merely a child.
That was over thirteen years ago, and it still hurts. I'm twenty-three now. I've only recently realized that what happened to me is considered child molestation. I vow to no longer refer to it as something that happened when I was younger. I'll call it what it is. It was my relative molesting me. It wasn't my fault. I did not provoke it. I was just ten. It's taken a very long time for me to come to terms with it all. For a longtime I was angry. I was angry at him, and at my family. I was angry with myself, for not being able to react fast enough to avoid it from happening. I've kept this secret from other family members, friends, even boyfriends. It is something that has impacted me to my core. It is horrible, but it's part of who I am and I'm not hiding it anymore. I refuse to be embarrassed of my past, or scared of what others will think of me. Some may look at me differently for openly writing this article. But this is my story, and I am choosing to use my voice to share this after keeping quiet for far too long.
To those with similar experiences, whether it be a relative, a family friend, or a stranger: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It may very much feel like you are, but that is not the case. Unfortunately there are many others out there who have gone through what you have. There will be good days, and bad days. There are days where there is nothing else on my mind, and then there are days where its not even a thought in the back of my head. I've found the more I am honest with myself, and allow myself to genuinely feel my emotions, the better I am.
I was sexually assaulted like so many others who have shared their stories over the past couple weeks. Because of them, I am no longer ashamed to share mine. Remember these stories the next time someone tries to argue that consent and sexual assault or rape is not an issue anymore. My story is the reason I say Me Too, and if I help just one person going through a similar situation, it will be worth putting myself out there and sharing my expereince.