I was 10 years old, my father had recently flown across the country for a job and i had been spending a lot of time with my cousins so i wouldnt miss my dad too much, it was september. I had just started my 5th year… I was walking through a trail in the woods to get to a clubhouse I had built with some friends, when it was just me and my cousin left in the trail he pushed me down into the leaves.. i was so mad that he pushed me, i was worried that my mom would get mad at me for getting mud on my school clothes. After he pushed me down he held me down, first grabbing my arms and putting them above my head, i was on my stomach, then he sat on my leg and took my pants off, he found some sticks that were laying on the ground next to me and used them. I can still feel the damp cold sticks against my skin. The whole time he was doing it he was laughing and i was crying. I couldnt understand what was so funny. My brother found me later on and put me in the tub and grabbed my mom, she told me that i “better not let it happen again” and it left me feeling so bad about myself that i thought it was my fault. It led to years of depression, suicidal thoughts and self harm. To this day, he still eats holiday dinners at our table, my mom still asks me to include him in events and parties.
— Survivor, age 21