When I was in elementary school my mom began to date after finally leaving an off and on relationship with my father. My mother and father had 4 children in total. I’m the oldest. My mom started acting strangely at some point and I knew it was because she had been seeing someone but she didn’t want to bring him around yet.

After a few months of them dating she eventually brought him around. I was around 8 or 9 at the time. So I didn’t really care about what my mom was doing. A few months pass by and everything was fine. One day my mom had left to do something and he came out of her room. I had been watching a movie called “Happy Feet.” He sat me in his lap. I thought nothing of it because my nana would sit me on her lap sometimes. Then he started rubbing my back. I started to feel nervous because I wasn’t use to a man touching me.

My father had never as so much cuddled me growing up. He started to rub my nipples and I froze. He did it for what seemed like forever. Then he stopped, took me off his lap, and went back to my mother’s room. I couldn’t process what had just happened because I was never taught about sexual abuse. So I didn’t know right from wrong when it came to people touching me. Weeks goes by and it gets progressively worse. He eventually started to touch my vagina. Soon enough he had started to rape me.

I could never say anything because I was always in shock and never knew what to do or who to go to or what to say. Eventually I’d start crying because I knew what was happening was wrong but my thoughts where always in a whirl wind. It continued like that for 3 years before I found the courage to tell a friend. My friend told her mother and her mother told my soccer coach. My soccer coach informed my mother and she had pulled me out of school to take me to a police station to give a statement and have him arrested. I survived 3 years of sexual abuse and rape. It still leaves me baffled as to how I survived that long without saying anything.

I went through years of therapy. I went through a total of 3-5 over the years and eventually stopped going. Now I pay close attention to children that I care for or the friends of my siblings just in case I see signs of sexual abuse or rape. You can never be too careful and I never want another child to go through what I went through.

G. Perez