When I was 4 years old, I was watching TV at my grandmother’s house with my sister and cousins. My grandma had to leave for groceries so she asked who wanted to join her, I didn’t want to so my male cousin offered to watch me when the rest was out. (He was 15) I distinctly remember my older sister trying to get me to go with them. Once the car was out of sight, my cousin began to touch me everywhere and forced me to perform some sexual acts on him, like blowjobs and handjobs. I was so scared and didn’t understand what was going on. Before he could do worse things to me my grandma pulled up and he quickly said to me : ´if you tell anybody, I will do it again and this time it will be worse!’ I was 4, I had no idea what just happened but I knew it was bad, bad enough for me to stop talking at all. My dad who raised me and my sister after my mom left tought I didn’t talk because of the pain of being away from my mother. I also stopped growing for 2 years. Sadly it didn’t stop after the first incident. We were on vacation all together once and my dad asked my cousin to bathe me while he made supper. I had to endure all this stuff in silence while my family was in the next room. When he dried me off he attempted to make me blow him again and I bit him. I got punished of course, but that was the last assault. I kept quiet for 19 years, never telling a soul, not even my older sister. My teenage years were torture, I didn’t have any boyfriends at the time let alone friends. It was at age 13 that I realised what exactly had happened. At 23 I just stopped trying to survive and landed in a deep depression. My father and mother sat me down and forced me to tell what was going on in my head. So I told them. My mother cried, my dad said: “ it is incredible that you chose to talk now because your sister told us two weeks ago that she was also abused by him and she too never told anybody.” My dad is a really sober man, he didn’t cry. My cousin by then worked at my father’s optical store so my father tought it best to talk to him. Here’s the part that hurts me deeper than anything: my cousin sobbed and said he didn’t remember anything and that at the time he was really insecure especially with girls. My dad left it at that and still employs him. He even started to sell him his store. My mother was so broken. She keeps saying that leaving us was the worst she could have done and tought she failed as a mother. When she was little she and her brother often spent time with their uncles, who were a married same-sex couple, since their dad worked a lot. They went to the woods often and told my mom who was a child back then to count and sing songs until they came back, then they disappeared with her brother and raped him. To this day my sister never talks about her assaults to me or explain what she had to do. Sometimes I’m so angry at myself for not telling my dad… for not speaking up sooner. Angry that my cousin doesn’t get the punishment he deserves and even worse, gets rewarded with his own store. His wife even accused us of lying and said it was our fault. What could I have done as a 4-year old child? He had the blessed life, I had a life of pain, anger, sadness, suicide attempts and loneliness. Now I’m 25 and I can confidently say I am doing better. I gave it a place by sharing my story and listening to anybody who wants to. We’re not alone so let’s walk together arm in arm to speak up and demand change! We are the strong ones for surviving all this and we will get our revenge someday. The best revenge is showing you’re still there, grown and confident, to remind them how horrible they are. Their judgment will come in this life or another. It is time to reclaim our lives and to finally stop surviving and start LIVING.
— Camie, age 25