Yes, you read that correctly. I have alluded to this before on this blog, but I haven’t really given the full story about it, or how it started. This is the tell-all some have been waiting for. I have enough material to write a book about this, and I am but today, it’s just going to be an article, detailing what happened at the very beginning, and why it’s so important to pay attention to young girls around you, to ensure it doesn’t continue to happen to others.
⚠️🛑✋🏼 TRIGGER WARNING
This is going to be triggering so if you are dealing with something similar, please proceed with caution, or turn around and exit. No judgements in “nope-ing out”. Just know that I’m okay now, and if you’re not okay right now, you will be.
It completely breaks my heart every single time I see yet another girl sexually abused, because I cannot understand why people just don’t intervene… It makes me so angry inside, because that’s all some of them need: an adult to recognise the situation and remove them from that situation. I know, some cases are more complex than others, but safety for a young human should be at the top of all of our lists.
In my case, it started when I was 13 and went on until I was 21. My mother knew. My entire family knew. My school knew. My neighbours knew. Everyone who had ears knew. Nothing was done. But what most people don’t understand is how this impacts someone in the long term. I will never be “fixed” or “over it” as this isn’t something you “get over.” I’m 30 now, and I’m still processing and fixing all the bad mental connections I developed. It’s a never ending cycle, and it’s exhausting sometimes.
How it all happened…
It was a typical school break for Easter and my mother was not at home. My stepdad had a very open style of relationship and treated me like an adult, so I felt respected and in return, I gave him my respect. But at 13, you don’t really know all the ins and outs of the world, especially where and how I grew up. I was so sheltered that I called an ambulance when I first got my period; I panicked and thought I was bleeding out, and would die. I knew about reproduction, but I had no idea about periods. I somehow completely missed that point learning about animal reproduction as a young girl (I was very interested in veterinary medicine until I was 14).
So my stepdad enquired about the subject matter I was learning at school. Normal conversation, since I was reading my text books. It was about 3 in the afternoon, and it was a particularly hot day, so my stepdad was just in a pair of boxer shorts, which was acceptable apparently by my mother. I must admit, they were loose fitting and when worn with a teeshirt, they just looked like regular shorts, so I can see why it was okay especially for a hot climate. Most people were in shorts and the thinnest teeshirts one could find, if that at all. Back to school syllabus… part of what we were learning in science class was the human body, with reproduction on the list of topics that would be covered in future. I always read ahead for subjects that I liked, so that when it came to the classes, I didn’t feel unprepared and the “advantage” gave me a badly-needed confidence boost.
“Reproduction” shouldn’t have been my answer if I had known better, but I always told the truth, which in hindsight was the worst thing I’ve ever done. I’m not blaming myself, just looking at ways that I could have managed things better, which is ridiculous for a 13 year old, but not for a 30 year old. So then he asks me if I wanted to see what a circumcised penis looks like. I clearly remember saying no, that my mum would be mad and that I didn’t want to. And then there it was, on my thigh. “Touch it” were his words. I remember not breathing and hearing my heartbeat in my ear drums. Little did I know that this moment defined the next eight years of my life, and underlined my entire future.
We need to teach young girls everywhere the meaning behind fight, flight and freeze and how to navigate this. If I had access to this information, then I would have been much more prepared to fight, and not freeze for eight years. If I had only known… And yes, he shouldn’t have done this in the first place, but honestly, we live in a dangerous world and we tell our children to watch both sides of the street when we cross, and not to walk down dark streets by yourself, so why not educate young girls about the dangers that “uncles” can pose. If I knew how to handle this situation, he probably wouldn’t have had a penis left to show anyone.
I told my mother what happened, and I got a stinging slap across my face for lying. She dragged me in front of him and asked me again, and then asked him to explain himself. “How could you say something like that? Do you know how dangerous telling a lie like that is?” he bellowed at me. Those words I will never forget. I locked them away in a safe place for nearly 15 years and I only started to remember once I started working on my book. Looking back, I cannot believe that my mother actually did that… Why would you drag a victim in front of the perpetrator? But then, she automatically assumed that I was wrong anyway, because the slap came before the lambs went to slaughter.
The beginning of what felt like the end
It didn’t stop there. Now that it was established that he could get away with it, it just went on and on. Every morning when he came to wake me up for school, he would fondle my breasts or stick his disgusting fingers in me. The moisture inside was “proof” that I liked it. Oh man, I wish I knew more back then. I told my mother, and it was just the same repeated cycle. I got punished, and he got away with it. There were a couple of incidents when she saw what happened; once he stuck my hand into his pants and held me there, she saw, and hit me over the head with a remote control until it cracked (the remote, not my head). I had bruise marks on my arm from where he held me, but alas, I was that manipulative, lying, rebellious teenager, so of course no one believed me.
My entire family stood by, knowing full well what happened, and yet did nothing to help me. I was stuck in a world where I knew what was happening was wrong, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I didn’t want to die but I didn’t want to live, so after a few failed suicide attempts, I resorted to self mutilation, eating disorders, and obsession with work. I couldn’t run away, because I had my little sister to protect, so I thought I could “smart” my way out, by getting good grades, getting a good job and having enough money to take myself and my sister out of that situation as soon as possible. This is the true reason why I started a business so young. I was desperate for something to work, but of course, what sixteen year old knows about science and technology and also have business smarts to punch with the “big boys” of the industry. They never panned out how I wanted it to, but I did make an effort, and I never stopped pushing or putting as much space as I could between myself and that entire dark spot of my life.
Well, there you have it. The story of how it started, and why I endured years of it. I will share more about this part of my life here on Désiré Writes so remember to subscribe to the mailing list if you want to get the next part of the story.