Started at 3

by Grace

I’m 28 years old and am just now starting to deal with my past traumas. My counselor suggested that I try to share some of my story anonymously, I have never done this before, but I am willing to try, so here goes nothing.

I was three years old when my aunt’s husband at the time touched me. I don't remember the actual act itself, but I remember a time that I was led into his room where my two cousins were bawling their eyes out curled up in his bed and then it goes blank.

I also remember him changing my clothes another time. I remember telling my aunt. I remember going to the Dr to check things out, but nothing could be proven. He did end up in prison for the rape of my two cousins, so at least there is that. Unfortunately, I have family members who would not stop talking about it and were always asking me uncomfortable questions that I hated. They talked about my cousins in a way that my child-mind comprehended as there was something wrong with them now that this had happened. I never wanted to be seen in that light.

When I was six, my brother, almost 2 years older, came to me and wanted to see what I looked like "down there" and showed himself to me. It started as just a general curiosity kind of thing that I've been told is normal, but then it got twisted. I was laying on my bed and he was standing in front of me when he pulled his thing out and asked me to put it in my mouth. I said no that's gross, he said adults do it all the time. I told him I didn't want to and then he told me that if I didn't do it he would tell that I had showed myself to him and that I would get in so much trouble. At six I believed him.

As long as I live, I will never forget the feeling I got the moment it went into my mouth. Like part of me left my body. It literally felt like something died inside of me. It wasn't until therapy here recently that I realized what it was. It was my voice. That was the moment my voice died, and I knew I wasn't going to be able to get out of this and that he would always have that power over me. Plus, now telling would mean the whole family talking about it like before and I couldn't bear people knowing that there was now something wrong with me.

A year or so later, he had me play a game with him where we built a blanket fort and I had to lay on the floor on one side of the bed and he laid on the floor on the other side. He would say okay ready go and I was to jump up and crawl across the bed and look at whatever body part he was showing me (usually his penis). When I didn't want to, he again threatened to tell so I did. Then it was my turn to show him my "body parts". I tried to just show like a leg or my belly, but he got mad and wanted to see "there". Once again he threatened me, and I did it.

Around 9 or 10, we were left home alone. He asked if I knew what fingering meant. I said no, and he proceeded to tell me about it and asked if he could do it to me. I told him no, but he kept pushing about it and begging and we went back and forth until he said can I just rub "it" then? I was extremely uncomfortable and felt trapped and rubbing versus a finger actually going inside of me seemed like the lesser of two evils, so I said okay. He put his hands in my pants and rubbed me for what felt like forever.

When I was 10 or 11, he started showing me porn, he would tell me what all the different sex terms meant, like 69, going down on someone or what a blow job and hand job were. Then he wanted me to blow him, of course I did not want to but again I was overpowered, and it happened. He then went down on me. I LEFT MY BODY! I went completely somewhere else. I remember my body shaking badly and feeling so dirty. I wanted out of this so bad, but I felt like it was my fault and that I caused it and I would be in so much trouble if anyone knew.

There was another time when I was 11 or 12 that he got one of my (male) cousins involved. We had all stayed up one night to watch a movie. When my mom when to bed, he started joking about sex and told us that he could do tricks with his penis. He then pulled it out and showed us the tricks. I didn't really know what to say or do and was completely mortified that my cousin was there too. Then he started telling my cousin that I let him touch me and that I would show him (my cousin) myself and let him touch me. THE WHOLE THING WAS AWFUL. I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. He had me take my pants off and stand up in front of them with my back facing them and bend over so they could see me. After that they took turns touching me. I thought that maybe my cousin had just got caught up in something bad like I did and that he really didn't want to or know what to do about it which made me feel like I was his abuser. SO I told myself it wasn't his fault, it was mine.

A few years later at 14, I fell asleep on my aunt’s couch and woke up to the painful feeling of that same cousin fondling me. He also had a flashlight that he was shining down there so he could see. I was frozen and could not say anything. He was rough. I could feel the scratching of his fingernails inside of me. I pretended to be asleep at first, until he really hurt me and I sat up quickly letting him know. I can't really remember how that one ended. He was a complete jerk to me after that and all the next day like it was somehow my fault, like I wanted him to do that. A few months later he tried to do it again in a swimming pool under the water but this time I just got out. Again, he was a jerk to me afterwards. To this day long fingernails on men are a trigger for me.

Growing up, I always felt different and ashamed. I felt trapped and unable to fight for myself at all. I never told a single soul about the abuse because I really did feel like it was all my fault and that I was a sick person. I was a very quiet and shy child and never did anything to get in trouble, hell I never even got a spanking when I was a kid. The thought of this secret getting out scared me so bad.

When I was 12 I started staying away from home and family members as much as possible to protect myself. This has affected me in the way that I handle any regular relationships and all sexual relationships. I don’t like anyone in my personal space or touching me in anyway, even if it is just to fix the tag on the back of my shirt. It freaks me out. And hugging people is super awkward for me. I'd much rather give a fist bump.

I was not promiscuous at all in my teens or young adulthood, but there were other situations where I could not stand my ground. I was taken advantage of because I had no voice. I felt like I could not say no and I shut down as soon as the abuser showed any frustration with me. I just froze. I buried all the memories and feelings so deep that I thought I had forgotten them, until my husband and I went through a hard time that brought the memories to surface. Now everything was out, and this time I couldn't just stuff it back in. That didn't work anymore. So, I got myself a counselor and started working through it all.

It's been a hard road so far, but I have made a lot of progress. Some things are still hard to share, but I am hoping I get there someday. I'm also hoping to one day be able to tell my husband my story. What happened to my brother? As it turns out he was being abused also. No, that does not make it okay and no I am NOT taking up for him, nor am I trying to protect him. But, one thing I have leaned so far is that when a child suffers sexual abuse they often act on other children as a coping mechanism. He brought it up to me years later in an awkward apologetic way, but I know he meant it. While it may seem crazy to others, I have been able to forgive him.

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From Victim to Victory
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