Unwanted memories unpack in my mind every time I hear people speak about sexual abuse. There has been an ongoing conversation on social media about rape, sparked by allegations from rape victims. I was following a particular thread whereby some lady found out that her eight year old sister was being sexually abused by their uncle. I could read the pain harbored in her words and the anger that lay between her sentences.
You see, the thing with being raped, or just generally being abused at such a young age, is that you find it hard to open up to people about it. I would know because for me, it started when I was about four years old. I really don't remember much about that time of my life but I can never forget what she did to me. Yes, "she". She was our househelp and she would sometimes get naked and undress me as well. She would then proceed to dry hump me and touch me inappropriately. You can imagine being that young and having an adult's weight on you, not knowing exactly why she was doing what she was doing. It was very confusing to me because I knew what she was doing was wrong but I did not know "how wrong" it was. I don't know if that makes sense.
It happened again when I was seven years old. This time it was our school bus conductor. It was a small van and you know how back then everyone had their specific sitting positions? Well mine was right next to his seat. This was long before traffic rules had been implemented so we would always exceed the required amount of passengers meaning we were squeezed together inside that vehicle. He would reach out his hand and start touching my privates and anytime I would try to adjust my position he would use his force. I did not know how to say "No" and again I knew what he was doing was wrong but not "how wrong". After several incidents of him doing this, I asked my friend to exchange positions with me, lying to her that I always get too hot and needed to sit next to the window.
I didn't think much of all this as a child but these scenes started popping up in my mind in my late teens. I once read somewhere that your mind has a way of suppressing traumatic childhood memories and it made sense. It all hit me at once and I realized that I had been taken advantage of. I felt so bitter for a while because it was too late and there was nothing I could do to them.
Two more incidents happened when I was older with different people but I decided to focus on these two because of my age when they occurred. My main reason for writing this isn't to seek sympathy from anyone but to start a conversation about checking up on our young girls. It could be happening to your five year old sister, your six year old daughter, your seven year old niece or your eight year old cousin. According to a research done by the UNDP in 2017, one in three women experience sexual assault in their lifetime, let that sink in.\
Let's teach our young girls how to say no, how to open up and report about such cases. Let us all help in changing the statistics.
I'm a storyteller. I write poems, fictional stories and articles based on my life experiences and what I see around me. I try to make my readers see life through my eyes.