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Why did you stay silent?


Why did you stay silent?

“Why did you stay silent for so many years?” is my favourite question among all the others I often receive.

For a long time I claimed it was my fear of him, my family, or what people would say about me, but the truth is that I was only eight years old when it all started.

I was a confused young girl that understood nothing about the world. I had never been told about the “special parts” in my body. I had never been told what to do if anybody ever dared touch me in a sexual way. I was just eight years old.

I was only seven when my brother had just arrived to this world. My mom and I moved into her boyfriend’s house, my step father.

At first I liked the guy. He bought me gifts, watched tv with me and played with me whenever I wanted. He seemed more than okay.

I still have flashbacks of the several times he touched me. I remember every single time he would come into my room at night while I was asleep to touch my breast and whisper he loved me. I remember his hands on my thighs. I remember him putting me onto his lap and the slow movement of his hands on my waist, then pushing me away from him as soon as he heard the keys outside the door. Such a moment of relief that was for me.

Three years did I live like that with only one question in my head. “What is happening?” I had no idea why I was so afraid of staying alone with him, I had no idea what to do or what to say or who to tell.

At age nine I became depressed and began hurting myself. I thought what was happening at home was normal so I let other kids in my school to touch me.

One day in science class in grade 6 a group of my classmates shared to us a few things about sexuality. It was then that I knew that what was happening to me was not normal and not okay.

First I told my dad who was very upset with me because he had found out that I was hurting myself. The very next day my paternal grandmother informed my mom of the situation and took everything that belonged to me. I never returned to that house but no legal action was taken either.

I blamed myself for a long time until I realized that it was NOT my fault. He was a thirty-four year old sick bastard that took advantage of an eight year old.

I was the victim for so long. Now I am a survivor and to whoever that is silent I beg you to speak up, it is hard, it will be for a while but eventually you will get the peace you deserve. I promise that you are not alone.

Read next: The State
Jatsue Sanvicente
See all posts by Jatsue Sanvicente