t’s been a long time since I’ve thought about it and I still struggle with wondering if it was rape, I didn’t know at the time what sex even was I did know it was something done between a husband and a wife and I was told to wait and I’d have the talk when I was older. The first time something happened to me I was maybe 2 or 3, I was molested by a women, I’m sure it was a relative although I cannot remember her name she was a bigger girl back then and was always the one to offer to babysit my sister and i. She would take care of us like she was supposed to but at night she would take my hand and push it down her pants telling me to rub her like this or like that, eventually she become bolder making me give her head, I remember thinking this stinks, she smelled awful and I would always get sick after. She would also give us baths and whenever we were in the bath she would make me get out and wipe her. When I got older It made me sick to think about it so I simply stopped. I didn’t tell anyone what happened to me until I was 20 years old. The second time something happened I was around the age of 9 or 10, my memories are constantly foggy about my childhood because I don’t remember a time when I was happy so I blocked everything out. When it does come up and I do think about it I feel so disgusted with myself,the first boy to rape me was also a relative, I don’t remember much about it, but what I do remember is waking up in the middle of the night with someone on top of me, I kept telling him to get off, he didn’t listen, when he finished I kept asking ‘why did you pee in me?’. The third time i was raped was also around the same time, it was my brothers best friend he was 14-16 at the time and he would always wink at me and blow me a kiss. I was smitten to be honest I thought he was gonna be my first boyfriend, I was 10 and a lot of the girls I hung out with were older and always talked about their boyfriend’s so I thought wow its finally my turn. Whenever we were in the pool he would always touch me or suggest we play lifeguard which is where you pretend to drown and you have to save everyone in the pool in a short amount of time. He always touched me on my butt or other inappropriate areas. Whenever we were alone he would always kiss my cheek or hold my hand, one night when my brother’s and him decided to make a fort in my parents room, they chose to sleep on the pull out couch, I wanted to join them they would always tell me no but he told them why not its not like I’d get in the way, I saw stars in my eyes when it came to him no one defended me to my brothers big or small problems they always got away with being mean. That same night when everyone was asleep he took me into my brothers room he told me to lay still so I did after he was done doing his business I felt weird I had told him I didn’t want to do That anymore but he alway s said that its what girlfriends and boyfriends do and said one day he would marry me. I was so caught up in him saying he was my boyfriend I didn’t want to lose that, so whenever he wanted to use me I let him. He taught me how to do the things he liked and I thought there was nothing wrong with it even though it made me feel wrong. When we were older and I had moved away I remember thinking how stupid I was and how easy it was to manipulate me, but I had never once said no, I had never been taught that you were aloud to say no because I was to young to know about sex. When I turned 18 some on had made a rude comment about not being a virgin meant you were a whore, I hid in the bathroom for a long time so when my brother’s mother in law came in She knew exactly why I was upset, the only thing she asked was ‘when did it happen?’ I broke down and told her everything. I t old her not to tell anyone but she wound up telling my mom, When my mom found out she asked me why I hadn’t said anything but I the truth is I didn’t know why, I felt ashamed and disgusted and it just felt normal to be that way . It wasn’t until after my son was born that I told my mother everything from the first time I remembered until now. I’m now 21 years old with a 1 year old son and it still hurts me to this day knowing how gullible and manipulated I was. I still haven’t found peace with myself, I still feel like I can’t forgive myself.
— Natalie, age 21