I was 5 years old when I knew what sex was. I don’t know how exactly, I just knew. By the time I was 6 I was exposed to pornography from my dad. He either had nude magazines laying around, or would watch porn around us- he even told us to look at it from time to time and would laugh when he saw our faces viewing the most crude adult content. Sex was not explained to us kids. We only knew what we saw- random people having sex with each other. Sex was love and it was “good”. We didn’t know that you were supposed to be older, and be in love with whomever you’re having sex with. We also didn’t know there were consequences with meaningless sex such as the feeling of disgust, filth and regret.
I was 7 when I had sex with my brother and he was only 8. We were young and had no idea what we were doing- or how it would damage us in the long run. Any type of sexual contact we had happened about a dozen times between age 7 a nd 11. Being naive by brothers friend Dustin, who was 6 years older than me, told me he loved me and molested me that same night. I remember being in my bunk bed laying on my back with tears in my eyes, shocked, unable to move and in an effort calm myself I was reassuring myself that I was okay, I just kept saying to myself “this is not bad, this is love, and I deserve love. This is not bad, this is love, and I deserve love.” I only had that one encounter with Him because he wasn’t allowed at our house after that- none of our friends were- not because I said anything, or because he was caught- but because my dads friend Jason and his family were moving in and we had a house full. I was excited because Jason’s daughter was my best friend and now we lived together.
One Saturday in June, both my parents were at work, his family and my siblings had gone to the nature park just a few miles from our house. I was home sick. It was just Jason and I at home. He asked me how I was doing and if I was feeling better and if in needed anything. I said no thanks finished my cereal from breakfast and went to bed. I woke to movement of my bed from Jason getting in my bed. I was scared and didn’t know what was happening, speechless and unable to move.
I remember his deep breaths and seeing a shadow of him touching himself on the wall I was facing. My heart started to drop, and I was sinking in the bed when he started touching me. I laid there for what felt like hours focusing on anything but him. I could hear the wall clock ticking slowly and I just kept telling myself “this is not bad, this is love, and I deserve love. This is not bad, this is love, and I deserve love.” By the time he was in me I felt dead. I felt helpless. He held me down by my throat and my braided hair talking to me like guys talked to girls in a porno. The pain was unbearable. I just laid there staring off into space- it made me feel like I wasn’t there, like this wasn’t happening to me. And when he finished, I still laid there, unmoved. This was the first of many times I was raped by Jason over the course of several months.
They eventually moved out into their own home where he was arrested shortly after for molesting his own daughter. He was charged with multiple counts of sodomy and sex abuse. I never spoke a word to my parents, or my friends. I knew what had happened to me. I knew it was rape. I also knew that at that age, it wouldn’t be up to me how I wanted to deal with it. I knew I had to make it to 18 without saying a word.
I say this now coming from a place that needed and has gotten a lot of healing through the years – I am not afraid of him. I am not at fault. I was a child. I forgive my brother. He was a child. That was rape, not love. I forgive him and most importantly I have forgiven myself for blaming myself for so many years.
I told my adopted mom when I was 16, and started counseling when I was 17. I since then have opened up about my story to many people and have closely mentored young teens who have also been abused. I am 23 years old and I now know what real love is, and married my best friend last fall and we are building our family together.
I never pursued legal action but that doesn’t make me any less brave. It takes a great deal of courage strength and bravery to even speak out and let my story be heard. And THATS the most important to me, being heard, and being known. I am brave.