This is something I have never talked about. Trigger warning: Sexual Abuse.
The first thing I remember was being in my bed at around 6 and feeling somebody on top of me. I remember going to sleep and waking up abruptly. I remember my underwear being off and feeling something against my vagina. I remember not knowing what was happening, so utterly confused trying to figure out what was going on. I remember the blanket covering my face, and it was so hard to breathe. I knew that there was somebody there, but for some reason, I didn’t want them to know I was awake. I remember finally deciding that I needed a breath of air that wasn’t under my thick blanket and lifting the blanket in a way that a young child would think is discreet. I remember seeing a penis. I was young enough to not understand what it was, to not even know that women and men had different parts. Still confused, I remember trying to see their face. When I finally moved the blanket from my eyes, I remember seeing my father.
While I was confused, I didn’t think much of it. As a kid whose top priorities were having fun, I quickly forgot about it. That was the first time I remember it happening.
The next time I remember it happening was probably around the age of 7. I shared a bunk bed with my sister who was 2 years younger, and I was on the top bunk of course. I remember, again, waking up suddenly to him on top of me. I was confused yet again, but this time I knew it was my father. I didn’t know what it was, but it didn’t feel good. I assumed that he as my father would know what’s best for me, so I continued my life with the assumption that everything was fine. This happened every other night for a long, long time.
My mother had work on the weekends. I remember playing on the computer one Saturday afternoon in the 3rd grade and my father said that he had a surprise in his room. Excitedly, I ran to his room and he gave me his iPhone 5 to play on. This was a huge thing as his phone was new and smartphones were so cool to me. Next thing I remember he told me to lie down on the bed and he took off my pants. I don’t want to go into too much detail as to what happened next, I’m sure it’s implied. I didn’t think of it too much because I got to play on the phone! He asked me if I liked it, if it felt good. I shook my head, unable to speak because despite not understanding my situation it felt weird to talk. I think he took that as a “yes” because he said, “that’s why some people have sex every day”. Then he said to me something along the lines of “you can’t tell anybody. not your friends or mom” and it was at this time that I realized what he was doing wasn’t right. I didn’t know in what way but it just wasn’t right. Soon after, it was over and he put my bottoms back on and the day carried on. That was the first time I could remember he did it knowing for sure I was awake.
The next time I could remember it happened was not much after the last time I could remember. It was a winter evening, so it was already dark outside. I remember hanging out with my brother who is 6 years younger than me. We were playing on my mother’s brand new iPod touch 4, probably Angry Birds, whilst I bounced and played around on our grey yoga ball. I remember being on the yoga ball on my stomach watching my brother play. My father came behind me and again I don’t wish to go into too much detail, I hope what happened next is implied. I think this is one of the harder times to write about. As I type this now, I think “How could he? In front of his son too.”
It happened so many times that each time blended into the other. The nights and the weekends, they all melted into each other and it was hard to remember every single time. I remember thinking maybe my mom did know, countering that thought with the time he told me not to tell her. Then I thought maybe it was normal, that maybe my friends’ fathers would do this to them too. I cycled through thoughts and theories all of the like every single day. The next time I could remember it happening, it would seem that God was looking upon me that night.
As the oldest of 3 and an immigrant to a new country, I understood responsibility very well. I knew I had to grow up and always be the rock for my family, despite anything. Through the internet, I soon properly understood what was happening to me. I wanted to tell my mom so bad. But having read countless articles on other young girls going through the exact same things I was, I knew it would not be an easy road. I didn’t want to subject my siblings and mother to the public eye like that. I didn’t want my mother to feel like the person she married was this monster. I didn’t want my siblings to grow up without a father. I didn’t want to be known as “that girl”. That last one was especially influenced by Amanda Todd’s video. Her video was the subject of every news outlet at the time. I remember watching it at 8/9 years old. It was so sad, I didn’t know how people could not believe her. That was the point I began to think “What if nobody believes me?”
This night I remember so clearly. I was asleep, suddenly awakened by him. It continued like every other night, until my mom woke up. She had fallen asleep beside my sister in the bottom bunk. He always left the blanket over my top half, I assume because he was too cowardly to face the reality of what he was doing. I heard my mom asking him “what are you doing?” He scrambled off my body. She was furious and so heartbroken, I heard the sorrow in her voice. They argued and he continued to apologize, making stupid excuses about how sorry and stupid he was. That night I felt like I could finally take a breath. I pretended to be asleep until I eventually was.
For months after my mom was cautious around him, and never left me alone around him. One day we went to the doctor for a checkup. After, I remember she asked the doctor if she could ask a private question. The doctor jokingly asked me “You have any idea what she’s going to ask?”, I was a shy kid so I just shook my head. But I did know. They had me wait outside the room while she asked. I came back in and the doctor asked vague questions, but I remembered one. She asked if I had felt any “tingling down there” that night. I was so close, all I had to do was tell the truth. But I was so scared about how everyone would view me and my mom and siblings that I denied it all. My mom never said anything about it after that. I have so much respect for her. She stayed with him despite that and I think because I was “asleep” that night she figured I would be okay. What she didn’t know was that wasn’t the first or the last time it would happen.
Years passed, we moved and I finally got my own room. I was so excited but that excitement was shortlived. The first night I slept in my room, it happened again. It happened again. I remember feeling utterly shocked. How could he do this again? The only good part of it was that the weekends no longer happened. I had gotten pretty good at compartmentalization at that point so it was easy to shut it off when I was at school. With more space in our new home, my siblings and I begged our parents to get a pet. We got a black cat, whom we dearly love and have to this day. He helped me feel safe at night because he always slept at the foot of my bed. For a couple months my father stopped. I had begun to have trouble falling asleep for fear of what could happen. One night he came inside while I was still awake, but I pretended to be asleep. He took my cat off the bed and shooed him outside and my heart just dropped. That was the most fear I had ever felt about it happening. I was absolutely terrified. Being bullied at school didn’t help either. Despite my compartmentalization, there was never a place during this point in my life where I felt safe. The bullying was nothing too harsh, but it was enough to make a 5th grader feel self-conscious. I never knew if my “friends” truly liked me. One lied to me and when I believed it, told everyone I was stupid and gullible. One called me mentally disabled. We eventually moved back to our original place, I cried about how much I missed it every single day masking my wishes to get away from my bullies with a fake hatred for our new home. Thankfully, we would move back.
I returned to my old school and I just felt at home again. Things were great, life was great and as a 6th grader, I was a senior amongst the kids at my elementary school. Through it all, my father continued.
Middle school was the worst years of my life.
In the 7th grade was when the psychological effects of it all began to set in. I began to lie impulsively, because I went to a school in a richer area, in order to seem “equal” to other kids. Things were really not good, I was nervous all the time and hints of depression began to show. I could still deal with it well, but with the increasing loads of homework and needing actual energy in school, what was happening at night was a major inconvenience. This may sound weird to those who’ve never experienced sexual abuse in such a way, but at this point in my life I’d accepted it as part of my life and saw it as an annoying almost chore. Suddenly, my period arrived and for the first time in my life, I had to worry about being pregnant.
In 8th grade was where it all plummeted. I was sad all the time. I was annoying and rude and as a lower middle class kid, had an “I’ve been through more than you” complex from being around rich, entitled kids. I presume it was also from my father, but that was something I didn’t talk about. I was inconsiderate and had no empathy, I was just overall a horrible person and to this day I consider it the worst year of my life. I cried all the time and began to cut. Finally, I made it out of my horrible middle school experience and over the summer I began to learn how to be happy.
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