Around age 6, I began trying to please my stepbrother. He was a year older than me and he and my cousin were always treated like angels despite being terribly mean to me. All I wanted was their respect and friendship. It began as innocent, games in the room we shared of him looking at my body or touching my body, curiosity mostly. I supposed when it began I didn’t mind. But I couldn’t find a way out. I was stuck trying to make everyone happy and do what I thought I had to. But alas, 4 years later I was still being touched and prodded at, forced to touch his penis and let him rub his dick on me. At 9 a more traumatic innocent occurred that screwed my whole life. While the abuse was terrible before then, it never seemed scary. It became an obligation and I hated it, it made me sick but I was not incredibly threatened. But in this situation I was. My cousin and brother were fighting over a pocket knife. My cousin said he would only give it back to my step-brother if he was allowed to finger me. I was scared out of my mind of that knife. I felt threatened. I was 10 years old. It became mostly a bargain between the two and I was forced into it. I don’t remember why my cousin knew what was happening. My memories are very very blurry from this time so I don’t remember if he was ever involved before but it would not surprise me. After telling my family no one reacted. It was brushed off and I continue to have to deal with seeing them at family gatherings. I think I have begun to forgive my step-brother as I don’t ever feel like his intentions were to hurt me. It’s still fucked up. But I remember him asking me that last time if it was okay. And he never was cruel. It still messed with my head, but I know he was only 7 and mostly curious rather than praying on me. But my other cousin was hitting puberty at 12 and clearly in it for the conquest. Additionally, on separate occasion I’ve had two of my cousins force me to make out with them at ages 2 and 7. It’s all one big mess and it makes me so confused and sick. It’s hard because I can’t get a straight story in my head and sometimes I don’t even remember if it’s real. But I was. And I’m hurting.
— Survivor, age 20