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I Want to Be Brave


I have just finished watching your film and am simultaneously in a state of awe & inspiration as well as complete and utter hurt & pain. I ache for the pain of your story, the stories of those you helped speak out, and my own story. I was molested by my oldest brother for six years. He raped, sodomized, and threatened me from the age of 6 years old to the age of 13. Why it stopped, I do not know and may never know. It was a secret that I help inside, eating at me from the inside out until just recently.

I have spent my lifetime on a journey trying to accept what happened and who I have become, knowing that it is not the person I would have become if this had not happened to me. I want to reclaim my personhood, but at times feel that he has taken so much from that there is nothing worth while left. I waiver between trudging forward through therapy and finding my own successes in life and a paralyzing despair over what happened to me.

I am just now approaching my 26th birthday and it took me until my 24th year of life to reach out for therapy, my 25th year of life to tell my family and a few close friends, and am still trying to build the courage to confront my rapist. There are kinds of support that my family offer me in their attempts to understand and yet I feel so completely alone with this most of the time. Telling people and letting them know provides a certain kind of empathy that is beginning to help me heal, but it is understanding and camaraderie that I feel I seek.

In my time speaking out, I have received so many different types of support and love from those who care about me, acknowledge what I went through and share my same desire to move forward. In the midst of their love, often times the means to that end get confused. They believe I should move on and learn to co-exist with the person who has taken more from me than I ever wanted to give. I often can’t tell if this is what they want for me or themselves, as my rapist is a member of my family and many shared circles of friends. Nor can I tell whether my desire to speak out louder about what he did and attempt to obtain some sort of retribution is wicked and vengeful or a necessary step in my healing.

I feel as though I am constantly pushing against a brick wall to get people to understand what he has done and how it has changed me. It’s as if I constantly need to remind people what he has done to me for them to understand why I would not want to move forward with him in my life. I feel like I am always on the defense, constantly having to validate what happened to me for other people get it. Why isn’t the knowledge that he raped me as a young child and stole my youth from me enough?

I’ve already taken so much. Am I harming myself twice over by seeking justice and trying to scream out against what he did? I want to break my silence, but sometimes it seems easier to sit in silence in the corner. I think they want it that way

I want him to feel or pay for at least an iota the the pain he inflicted on me. I don’t know what kind of person this makes me yet, but hearing your story has already begun to provide the level of singularity I need to feel less alone in what happened. Thank you for this.

— Maureen Mason

1 comment

  • Alissa Ackerman


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