Shared Stories

“He was my cousin.”

By M.

He was my cousin. I was 5, and he was 16 or 17. We were in his house, with our parents on the floor below. He pulled me into his lap, with his arms around me so I couldn’t move or get away. I didn’t understand what was going on but I knew it was wrong. I told him “I don’t like it,” and he said “We did this all the time when you were little. You used to love it.” But I had no remembrance of that. All I knew was that my mother told me not to let anyone touch me below my hips or on my chest. I told him to stop but he kept touching me and I was terrified. When his brother walked in, I was relieved. I thought he would help. But he didn’t. He just told my cousin to let me go, and walked out. I don’t remember what happened after but I remember he eventually let me go. I remember scrambling out of his arms and running down the stairs to my mom. I didn’t cry or scream or shout. I just said “____ was touching me here,” while pointing to my body. “I told him to stop but he wouldn’t let me go.” And that’s when the memory ended. I blocked it out of my mind for so long but a few years ago, I remembered. I woke up from the nightmare and it all came rushing back. It explained everything. Why my chest tightened and my heart sped up whenever I was alone with an older man. Why I wondered if my friends’ dads were waiting to get me alone to hurt me. I knew my fears were probably just me being paranoid but I found out why. I am so angry and furious but I am also thankful, not to him, never to him. But to myself, for getting past it, and involving myself in movements to prevent sexual violence.

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