In my childhood, I had a cousin babysit me. i was only 6 at the time when he took me into my brother’s room. He told me it was “nap time” even though I knew clearly it wasn’t. I remember feeling uncomfortable being in the same room as he was, knowing that there was no one else home. He kept insisting that I close the door and I knew I didn’t want to because I remember being afraid of what might happen next. I stalled every time he would try to close the door. To my surprise, he was very patient and never got short with me when I resisted closing that door. Eventually he just left it open. Then proceeded to force me under the blanket with him by my side. He kept saying it was nap time. I remember laying there staring into the dark, thinking about how uncomfortable I felt. Next thing I know, he had his hand down my pants. I quickly said I didn’t like that and got up right away. He kept saying that it was okay in a very calm voice. I ignored it and walked out of the bedroom and went and played outside where I knew he couldn’t touch me.
The second time, my older brother and sister were supposed to babysit me but that same cousin came over and convinced them that he could watch me if my siblings really needed to make a run to the store. I was petrified but I didn’t know how to say to my siblings that I needed them to stay. I was only 6! And I didn’t know how to tell them that I hated our cousin even though he was good to them. Well my siblings left unknowingly what he would do to me. Once again, he shut the door this time, pulled me under the sheets and proceeded to stick his hand down my pants. Again. While doing that, he would whisper dirty things and I remember how gross I felt. I felt incredibly disgusted and powerless. It got so uncomfortable that I once again got up, ignored him and left my house to go play outside. I kept telling myself that i would be safer outside. He would tell me to come back inside but I refused. I waited outside until my siblings came home.
I never told them what happened until recent years. I didn’t know why, I think I was too young to really comprehend what was happening but I knew that it was wrong at the time?
Well years later, in my teens, that same cousin was charged with sexual assault on his neighbor’s daughters. To this day, I hold so much resentment towards him because it made me wonder why he chose me, a child, to do that to.
Years on, I’m in my early 20’s, moved to a different city. Pursued my freelance modeling career. That came crashing down when a photographer raped me. I was modeling paint splattered on me but with a bra on and underwear. He had never touched me before or said anything sexual to me before so I thought I was safe. He offered his bathroom where I could wash off. I put my clothes on and sat in a lounge sofa chair while putting on my socks. Suddenly, he was in my face to the point where t scared me so I distanced myself and was leaning back into the chair now. He was bent over me and just kept saying that I should stay for the night. I kept saying no. The more I said no, the more frustrated he got. He went into the other room, opened a small metal box and he came back out with two $100 bills. He flashed it in my face trying to entice me to stay. In other words if I spent the night with him, I’d get $200. In that moment I felt so disgusted by this old man, (in his 60’s) that I started to stand up from my chair and wanted to leave.
He pushed me back down and told me he wasn’t done with me yet. He unbuttoned my jeans and pulled them down. I was in disbelief, it happened so fast! my fingers were prying at his hands trying to protect myself. I remember thinking about how much I didn’t want this to happen AGAIN! Eventually I was overwhelmed by how much force he was pushing on me and gave up. I was crying and kept saying no when he penetrated me. Once he finished, he stood up, took a hand to wipe sweat over his forehead and combed his hair back. He looked at me, smiled and walked into the other room like nothing happened. I was trembling, I was still trying to process what had just happened. My hands were shaking because I was so angry. My underwear and pants were still around my ankles, with shaking hands, I pulled them up and dressed myself. As I was putting on my shoes, he came back and stuffed his $200 in my purse which was left by the door. I just wanted to leave and never see him again so I quickly grabbed my belongings and drove away.
Once I got home, I just felt so ashamed that I put myself in that situation. That I built this trust I had with someone only for them to betray it. I took a long hot shower, scrubbing away, using as much body wash as I wanted to as if I could wash him off of me. I was so disgusted by the scenario and disgusted with myself. I kept thinking that no matter how many times I said no, why did he still do it? Did I REALLY imply that I wanted sex? They were just photos that helped me with my confidence and that was wiped away in minutes. What did I do wrong? For the longest time, I kept questioning myself.
Eventually, after a long time of self care and sharing my stories, I realized that it was never my fault and that I don’t need to blame myself. i did what I could and there was no turning back time (although I wish that was a thing) and that sharing my story will hopefully help others heal well.
— Survivor, age 27