Thirty years ago I was sexually abused by a teenage family member. My family covered up the incident. They sent the family member away and never spoke of it again. I was supposed to keep quiet too. I did for the most part, until now.
I was 5 years old and in kindergarten. I lived with my aunt, my uncle (my aunt’s second husband), and my cousin because my mother was a partier and fun was more important than me.
My cousin and I would get out of school at the same time and he’d watch me until my aunt or uncle would get home. One day things got weird. He made me perform oral sex on him after he’d do so on me. He told me not to tell because I’d be the one who got in trouble, and I believed him for several weeks.
Then one day at school we had a lesson on bad touches and what to do if someone made you do anything that made you uncomfortable. So that night I told my aunt and uncle. At first they didn’t believe me, kept asking if I was lying or if I was sure about what happened. Eventually they believed me that night and sent me to my grandmas house for the weekend.
When I got back I found that my cousin had been sent to live with his father. I remember being told not to tell anyone about what my cousin did to me. And I buried the memory for the next three or four years.
When I was eight or nine I was once again spending the weekend with my grandma when my cousin dropped by somewhat late. He was drunk. He had my grandma get me out of bed so he could talk to me. And talk he did. He apologized repeatedly for what he had done. He said he was sorry so many times I couldn’t keep count.
By the time he left I had accepted his drunken, yet sincere apology. I don’t remember why, but I decided to forgive him. It wasn’t until many years and hours of counseling later, but I allowed my feelings to resurface. I wasn’t upset at my cousin, surprisingly enough, but I was enraged at my aunt and uncle.
They never got me any counseling, and they just stuck their heads in the sand if I ever mentioned the abuse. The whole incident was just swept under the rug like nothing ever happened.
So a couple years ago I decided to bring up the topic, in a rather rash and angry way. And against all hope, my aunt buried her head in the sand yet again and we cut ourselves out of each others lives.
I just wish things had been different. I wish I’d have been taken to counseling, I wish it hadn’t been swept under the rug.
But regardless of that situation I ended up ok. Not great, but okay. I still have negative feelings about it all, but I don’t let it lord over me. I just go on with my life.