When I was 7, my favorite cousins were visiting from a few states away, and I was so excited. It was the second day they were here, and my older cousin James (Changed his name) had gotten in trouble for stealing porn from my 2nd cousin who was in his 30’s. James was 14. He was confined to his room except for dinner, and the bathroom. When it was getting close to eat, I was sent to his room to let him know. He stopped me before I left the room asking if I could help him. He was my favorite, so I said, “Of course!”
“It’s for a school project. I need you to take off your clothes, and lay on the bed.” I had no idea what it was, my parents never talked about sex. I had no idea what it even was until years later. I hesitated, and that’s when he grabbed my arm and forced me onto the bed, locking the door. Everyone was downstairs, and he told me to stay quiet, because it was a quiet project. I didn’t move as he raped me, and all I can remember is him lifting my body up so that the blood didn’t get on the bed.
As a 7 year old, I had no idea what was happening (I wouldn’t know I was raped until I got into middle school when a friend of mine was raped, and they were going to court.) Everything went on as normal for the rest of the trip, and I could tell something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.
A year later we were visiting family in another state, and he was there. I still didn’t know what it was, This time we were in the garage getting stuff from the meat fridge out there, and he did it all again, and I didn’t fight back. He knew that I loved Harry Potter, and gave me a card set that had different characters on it. He told me not to tell anyone about it happening, and then it was over again.
When I finally learned what it was, I broke down and was depressed for years. My family never knew about it, it was a secret. I knew that it would tear my family apart if I told anyone, because there was no proof, and I was always told to be a great “maker uper” growing up. I finally told my adopted cousin. She was the only one who believed me.
I knew that I would never tell, but once when I went to camp, we were told to write testimonials that would never be read, and I spilled my guts. My mom would later find the testimonial, and read it. She confronted me, and said I needed to, “stop lying” I was never going to tell.
The year the statute of limitations was hit, I was destroyed, and I wanted to tell the world. It will never happen. Ever. I am stronger now for it, but as the years go on, and I have to see him, my heart races, and I know that it’ll never be the same in our family dynamic.
— Brittany, age 19