When I was 5 years old I slept over my cousins house. She wanted to play doctor. I never played before. Her mom walked in and sent me and my sister home. We never saw her again until we were older. Her mom blamed us but it was her idea. Every time I would shower or use the bathroom I would see my brother sticking a cd upside down under the door so he could see in. He would wear loose fitting boxers to show himself me and my sister casually. I just started puberty and i was asleep in my bed. My mom was out with friends. I woke to what I thought was something touching my vagina but it was my brother standing at my bed side waking me to ask what time mom would be home. I brushed it off. Few weeks later and I’m asleep on my couch its late and my dad went down to the basement to drink. It was hot so upstairs was too hot. I woke to feel my brother stroking my vagina through my pants. I was too afraid to move or let him know I was awake. It felt good I was never touched before But i felt so violated my heart was racing so I pretended to move in my sleep and it scared him off. This became a weekly thing. He even would feel to make sure I wasn’t wearing a pad. Some nights he would pull my pants down and use his tongue or slide his penis across me and my legs. I don’t know if he knew I was awake and thought i didn’t mind or was really that stupid. a few years later I told my much older boyfriend what was happening to me. I never told anyone but was making hints to my mom forever hoping she would see my pain and wouldn’t make me say it. One day I got so fed up and angry i stormed off in the middle of his fun to run down the basement to call my boyfriend. My brother followed me so scared questioning if I was okay. My boyfriend came and picked me up. I was only 14. It was thanksgiving and I was at my aunts helping make dinner when my aunt and my older cousin was talking about my brother and I became hostel. My aunt questioned me if he’s ever touched me and when I told her it was out of defeat. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Next thing you know I’m sitting in front of a camera telling in detail what my brother did to me. I was never so humiliated in my life. I only had just told my aunt. He had to go to counseling and was on probation but his probation officer never made him follow anything he was supposed to. My sister and I were removed from my home and were forced to live with my aunt for a year. Which was no treat. There was a bed but we had to sleep on an air mattress on the floor that deflated every night. Fast forward to 17 and I met a guy who was joining the military. He made me feel safe and well I saw a future. I became pregnant and he shipped off to bootcamp. My mother called me a whore my brother called me a slut. I wasn’t allowed to eat my phone was taken away. My twin sister wasn’t allowed to talk to me. My parents tried to bribe me into an abortion because my mom was embarrassed people would find out. I fought because I knew my baby would love me as I would him/her. My boyfriends parents took me in once my Junior year was done. I got married at 17 my mom puking in the court house. Mind you my mom used to make us come with her to stock my dad to make sure he was alive and spray paint druggie on his car. I moved to CA with him when our son was 1 month old. He was an alcoholic who joked about pawning me to his friends. I had no sexual drive. So if he was drunk enough he would wait for me to be asleep or wait for me to drink too. I pretended I wanted it because he was my husband and i always say no. He was mentally abusive and was always cheating on me. I was raising a baby on my own I couldn’t have friends. I had to have the house clean and dinner made by the time he came home. It was his money not mine. I had 100 a month while he deployed to buy food and diapers or he locked our account. I left when our son was 10 months old. He texted me all day everyday I was a worthless person. I was a horrible wife. I deserved what my brother did. I should kill myself and save my son while I can. So i tried. Next thing I know I’m hooked up to monitors in the ICU. Eventually was transferred to the Psych ward for treatment. Which was a joke here are some pills eat your food. I missed my sons first steps. My mom yelled at me it was my fault and I’m a horrible person for sticking my responsibilities on other people because she took care of my son while I was there. I moved back to CA because i had no where else to go. It was the same stuff for 3 more years. He got out of the military and we moved back to PA. He tried to drink and drive and I wouldn’t let him. He kicked us out the next day. I was forced to move in with my parents and I fought depression hard. No car no money and I was nothing but afraid. Eventually i got a job at a local pizza shop. I worked there and moved into the projects for my own place. I got a better job making money but still couldn’t move into a better house. its been 2 years and I am still here but I make too much for more help but not enough to survive. I want to heal from the things I pushed away because I feel like I am afraid to love my son like he deserves and live my life like i deserve. I have never told anyone my story. not the real one anyways. I don’t care if no one reads this. I am just glad I had the courage to submit it.
— Survivor, age 23