When I was a toddler a neighbor and friend of the family hurt me. I was left with the family next door along with my newborn baby brother on the day my mother’s father died. When my mother changed my diaper, she found blood and there were scratches on me. I was able to tell her “_____ hurt me down there.” They called the police and reported it but the man denied anything happened. He was never charged and I grew up living next door having to see him on a regular basis. He also exposed himself to my younger brother on at least 2 occasions that I can recall. If he were outside, I’d call my siblings inside to try to keep them safe. Over the years, I questioned whether something had happened or not because everyone acted like nothing had and no one ever talked about it. I tested my parents asking to go over to his house because I was friends with his daughter. I would always ask why. They still talked to him though and he could come over and borrow tools from my father. I just never understood it and I’ve never forgiven the man as hard as I have tried.
Then when I was 19, a virgin, and finally dating my first boyfriend, he forced himself on me. Fortunately, he was not able to succeed because I got so tense and started to cry. He stopped and said sorry. I was naive and young so I stayed with him. He would say, “You know it’s going to happen anyway.” so I finally gave in. I regret not staying away from him after the first incident. I look back and see a scared, weak, insecure little girl but I’m happy that’s not who I am now. I don’t even hate him anymore. I forgave him a long time ago and I pray that he has changed. Now I see that it made me stronger and smarter but that doesn’t make it okay that it happened. I only told my best friend and a sister for a long time about it. My parents cried when they found out. I was messed up for a few years afterwards and had I not met my husband soon after, I probably would have become much more destructive.
I ended up telling both my sisters about both of the things that happened to me eventually hoping it would help them. It kills me so much but my baby sister (8 years younger than me) ended up in an abusive relationship and also lost her virginity to rape. To hear her talk about it hurt so much more than dealing with what happened to me. 2 out of 3 sisters in our family raped. And I’ve had countless friends who have been raped or sexually abused at some point in their lives. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story here and for fighting for this cause! I just watched the movie today on Netflix and was so inspired! We all have to overcome it and somehow let it make us stronger, better people.