I was molested by my grandfather and cousin during all of my early childhood up until I was 9. It all started when I was around 1 or 2 years old. Although I don’t recall these memories from such a young age I know this because my mom said I had an incident at that age. My parents took me to the hospital because they thought I had fallen and hit my private area on the rail of my crib when I was playing. It was so painful that I couldn’t walk or pee. I was even bleeding. When the doctor tried to look at the injury I was hysterical. My mother said it was weird how I reacted because I was usually a very calm baby. My doctor told my parents that the injury didn’t look like it was caused by getting hit and that it looked more like an injury from sexual abuse. My parents had no idea who could’ve done this and wouldn’t find out until years later. When I was a little older, both of my parents worked full time jobs so I had to be looked after by my grandmother all day every weekday. My grandfather and I would be alone together on many occasions due to my grandmother always busying herself with chores. He would touch, kiss, and grope me everywhere. I never really fought back because I was too young to understand what was happening to me. My cousin and his family lived with my grandparents at the time. He was only about 5 years older than me. He would do the same to me when his parents were away at work. When I was 9 I realized that what was happening to me was not normal. Not long after this realization my grandfather had to babysit me at my house. As soon as he tried to touch me I told him ‘no’. He didn’t listen to me and tried to touch me by force. I was able to get away when I kicked him and I ran to my parents’ room and locked the door. He knocked and asked if he could touch me one more time and I said ‘no’. I told my cousin to stop around the same time as my grandfather and he sort of complied. He would randomly grope me and such for a while after but the groping eventually stopped too. The last time I was touched was when I was 11 and slept over my grandparents’ house. I woke up early and decided to watch tv in the living room. My grandfather woke up soon after and he molested me. He tried again later that day but I said ‘no’ and he stopped. Although I knew it was wrong I never thought of it as abuse until I was 14. That’s when I told my parents. So much weight lifted off of my shoulders when I did so. I also told my parents that I didn’t want to bring this to court because I didn’t want to go through anymore stressful situations. They agreed and made sure I would never see my abusers again. My parents also told all of our family members about this so those men wouldn’t be around any children. Although I’m still getting over my feelings of guilt and shame, I am at a much better place than before because ai spoke out.
— Klarisa, age 18