I was always afraid that if anyone found out, my family wouldn’t believe me. I was so scared to say anything because unfortunately, with a heavy crime like sexual abuse, not everyone is quiet about their opinion—especially when they think you are lying. That alone was scary enough for a child like me to keep quiet.
When I finally went to court, I was asked “Why, after ten years, are you informing the police about your sexual abuse?” That question may have been the most heartless, and also the most useless, question I’ve ever heard. I was 6 or 7 years old when I started getting sexually abused. I was preyed on and abused at least once a week (if not way more) for nearly seven years. I went through things I could never imagine any child going through, or any person, period. I went through things I still can’t even wrap my head around.
By the time the abuse stopped, I knew how evil this world could really be. And unfortunately, once I finally confided in my mom, many of the fears that kept me quiet came true. I will never understand why I was abused, but I know one thing: my infant daughter made me overcome the quiet.
It took becoming a mother myself to find the courage to disclose. I found my voice through the inspiration of my little girl. Even when people told me I was lying, even when they testified in court that they “couldn’t imagine him being a sexual predator,” even when they accused me of being “out to get him,” my daughter gave me enough hope to be strong and face my fears and seek justice. Before I told my mom about the abuse I suffered, I wanted so bad to pretend like nothing ever happened. But realizing that my one-year old is just as vulnerable as I was as a child gave me the push I needed.
I told the authorities and ultimately my abuser went to prison. Throughout the process I thought to myself, “Even though I may not be able to keep her from all evil, I can at least get rid of one evil person.” Even though I can’t protect every child from going through what I went through, at least I can say that now there is one less predator out there. I will never be able to change what happened to me, but because I went to the police, I now have the peace of mind that my abuser will never be able to ruin another little girl’s life. Because of my daughter, I have the justice I’ve always deserved—the justice EVERY victim deserves.
As a child I was scared of someone my mom and dad trusted. I was scared of someone most of the community trusted. You hear about the boogie man, and ghosts, and even strangers as kids but you never really hear about your family members preying on you. I didn’t know what to do because he was supposed to be trustworthy. It took having a child of my own to realize that something could happen. I can protect my daughter. I can tell my story. I can get justice. I can have courage.