The following is another post from a friend who wanted her story to be told but wasn’t comfortable sharing it publicly. If you have a story that you want to tell anonymously, contact me to publish it here.
Nine years old.
That’s when it started.
I still have nightmares.
I have difficulty getting to sleep.
I don’t like staying home alone anymore.
Many people don’t realize just how many of their friends or family members have actually been victims of rape or sexual abuse. My mother, grandmother, and aunt were all victims of sexual assault, abused by boyfriends or husbands. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop with them. My abuser – he never went to jail and I doubt he ever will. He wasn’t a boyfriend or a father. He wasn’t a family friend. He lived with us. He was my stepbrother – someone I trusted.
I was too young to realize anything was wrong at first. This was just what all brother/sister relationships must be like, right? It wasn’t until I started getting older that his behaviors began to feel “off”. How he wanted no one around to witness us “playing.” How he constantly stepped outside of the room to check for our parents. This began to feel wrong. All wrong. I began to get vocal with him. I was 10 or 11 when I first told him “No.” He didn’t take too well to that. His real mother let him do just about anything he wanted, so he wasn’t used to hearing no.
He would question me, “Why does it matter? Don’t you like it? Who cares if God wouldn’t approve?” I never wanted to come home after school anymore. Your home is supposed to be a place of comfort, especially for a middle schooler. Mine became a place of terror. I remember a few instances when I told him to leave me alone and he refused. Once, he chased me through the house until I was cornered and had nowhere to go. I laid down on the ground and I gave up. He was almost three years older than me, and bigger and stronger. I didn’t have a chance. There was another time when he was on top of me, and I screamed at him and threatened to call the cops if he didn’t get off of me. I was sure that he was going to rape me that day. I think I simply got lucky. Or whatever you call that choice between getting raped and “only” getting sexually abused against your will.
When I was 12, he left for a trip to visit his mother, and his mother didn’t want to send him back. I thought I was free. But when I heard my stepfather, who had legal custody, talking to my mother about getting a lawyer to bring him home, I finally grew the courage to tell them what he did. He couldn’t be allowed back. This was my chance to be safe again.
I went to my youth pastor and asked for help. He agreed and helped me tell my parents, but was also legally obligated to get the police involved. Guess how much good that did? (None.) I relived my pain over and over as I told investigator after investigator about my story. They wrote it all up in an official statement. Like that carried any weight. Then, they asked me to call him – my abuser! – to gather evidence. I did it. I didn’t want to, but what choice did I have? He wasn’t there, so putting me through that trauma was all for nothing. He was never arrested. I was depressed. Suicidal. Counseling helped, though. Really.
Not every story has a hero. I read about Brock Turner and his victim, and the two heroes who saved her from something possibly worse. Sometimes you have a hero. Sometimes you have to be your own hero. Sometimes there’s no hero and the villain goes free. My abuser will never see a prison cell for the crimes that he committed against me. I appreciate the growing awareness about the length of a prison sentence a rapist gets, but for me, it’s always about the victim. If you’re a victim, you’re not alone. You’re never alone. Talk to someone. Be your own hero, if you can.
I’m eighteen now.
I still have nightmares.
But they’re better.
Any comments that aren’t supportive or that don’t contribute to the conversation will be removed. Anyone who has a story of their own that they would like to share anonymously, please contact me to have it published.