I was molested and raped by my sisters fiancee. He lived in the house with us and I had known him for years. He got as close to me as he could by trying to be a “big brother” and a friend. I loved this person like a brother and was so happy for my sister who had finally found happiness after a long struggle with depression. From the time I was 11 until I was 14 he took advantage of the bond he had faked with our entire family. He emotionally abused me to the point of being unable to go one day without having panic attacks as I was sure everyone could somehow tell I was different and disgusting. He made me believe it was consensual and that nobody who actually knew me could love me. He made every move and said every word he needed to in order to control me and left me paralyzed, first with fear and pain, then anger, then with complacency and finally a lack of any feeling whatsoever. The repression of trauma is something I deal with to this day. One day my sister caught him abusing me and I’ll never forget the look of disgust and pain on her face. The last thing he said to me was “Don’t say anything. There’s no need to ruin another life.” She tried to help me pursue legal action but I felt that I couldn’t admit to my mother or the police what had happened at that time. I didn’t speak to anyone or feel anything for weeks. I stopped eating, showering, going to school, and truly hated myself and my existence in general. I slowly worked my way back into life by pretending it never happened. I forgot everything I could and never talked about it. Everyone went along with it because they were so relieved to see me gain weight and smile again. I didn’t take the time to totally heal but was fairly successful anyways. Fast forward 14 years and I’m in the middle of a divorce from my ex-husband who also sexually assaulted me. The hardest part of this has been reconnecting with my emotions and myself. I’m hoping I’ll eventually be able to break my walls down again. Talking about it is a step in the right direction.
— Survivor, age 25