i’d like to thank timeless wheel for her courage and inspiring words. listen to her story:
i was in boarding school. i remember a boy sliding his hands up my skirt under the lunch table. i think we might have been the same age. i cannot fathom how someone so young would know to do such a thing. my memory is weak, as i was very young when this began – three years old and stayed at that school until i was six. i can count the memories of those days on one hand – that’s how less i remember in terms of pictures or events. i remember the feelings and emotions almost clearly though. i remember feeling uncomfortable and knowing something was wrong, when that happened. i remember i had a hard time during that period. i felt like an orphan. like i didn’t belong. i felt uncared for and was exploited. the school was uni-gender with the wards separated for boys and girls. that was probably the reason i’d hardly interacted with my brother until i left the school. it was as if i had none. he was as good as a stranger to me. we had no sibling bond. i was six and finally my parents took me back ‘home’, which was in another country.
i don’t remember the exact day (or night) that it began, or ‘continued’. it’s all a muddle now. i remember wearing a thick satin nightgown and sharing a bedroom with my sister. he would push open the door at night and sit at the edge of my bed. he would slide his hands underneath and slowly lift the nightgown. i would slide his hands away and push my nightgown down. he’d push it back up and start examining and touching me. he would eventually say things like “think of me as a doctor”, “just one more time”, “just for one minute and i’ll go”, “shhh”, “don’t move”. i tried to divert his attention from down there to up there. ‘up there’ seemed somehow ‘safer’ than ‘down there’. i didn’t know that at age six, there’s obviously no fascination for that since it looks practically the same as a boy’s would. at that age, saying such things was really very clever. it did not fool me, though. i knew he was no doctor and had no business ‘examining’ me or touching me. i hated him. there is no other word for it. despised him. i used to feel utterly disgusted and hated him for what he did at night after we all retired to our rooms.
but, despite everything, i couldn’t get myself to stop him. i was extremely afraid. of what? i’m not sure now. i just remember the huge amount of fear, helplessness and suffocated i felt.
every time he’d sit next to me in a car or any other place, i would (and still, after all these years) feel heady and get all hot in the face. i spent most of my childhood blanked out. i hated myself. i hated my body. i hated everything. i think i numbed myself so i don’t have to think or feel. or maybe i just didn’t have active brain chatter. i guess i was good at acting like everything was okay, because my parents did not even suspect it, not even a little. people thought i was naughty, cute (looking), bubbly, outgoing, that i might become an actor, dancer, etc. it was like i had a dual life – one where everything was okay and i had a great, loving, ‘normal’ family; another where i was sexually molested on a regular basis, parents arguing and getting spanked quite hard – which i thought was normal until later in life. one day, my parents found an empty chocolate box. i loved chocolates but i hadn’t eaten them. my brother finished them and returned the box empty to its place. my parents didn’t believe me and chose to trust him. i linked that and thought – why would they believe me if i told them that he touched me? he used such occasions to prove to me that my parents would never believe me and that he would always be believed and supported. i tried my best to avoid being touched by him. i tried to sleep with my parents in their room; i tried not to sit next to him in the car. but there was no way of avoiding him.
finally, the day came where he had to go away to college and in his absence, i gained my power. he returned for a short while during the holidays and thought he could continue his dirty disgusting ways. i was lying down and almost sleeping, when he opened my door slowly. the room was dark. my body cringed. i forgot to lock the door. by then, i knew what life was like without sexual abuse. without thinking, i shouted. i screamed loudly and repeatedly called for my father. it isn’t like i wasn’t afraid of consequences. i was so afraid that i was shaking all over. i was scared for my life. i was scared that this time it would be much more. he was now a grown man. i had a feeling that if i didn’t stop it then, i would die. he would rape me.
my father came into the room and asked what happened. he told him that he had come to get some extra pillows from my cupboard. my father turned to me and screamed, telling me i was retarded for shouting and waking him up. his innocent expressions left and he smiled smugly as my father turned his back. as soon as the door closed, i went and locked it. one thing was clear, if he ever tried something like that again, i wouldn’t keep quiet. i wasn’t just scared, i was angry now. i still didn’t have it in me to inform my parents, and maybe he knew it. once i almost warned him in front of my parents at the dining table during an ugly verbal fight that i would “tell them everything about him”. my parents asked us what i would tell them. he narrowed his eyes and said “really? what will you tell them? go on, tell them.” his expressions verbalized what his words didn’t. he was warning me not to tell them – or else he would do something terrible to me. we were both adults by then.
i was sick. and still am, to a level. mentally, it has affected me tremendously and still does to a point. it is sexual/physical abuse but it’s the mind that gets affected in a big way.
i also felt guilty, because physically when someone fondles you, your body reacts. besides the cringing and the tensing up, it also felt nice although wrong at the same time. i blamed myself for it. the self blaming didn’t stop there.
of course, he was manipulative. he was “charming”, outgoing, a very good actor and liar.
years later, i told my (then) boyfriend about it. he was the first to know. four years later, i told my parents. it wasn’t planned. they were shocked. but they were also very concerned and horrified about the fact that someone outside our immediate family knew about it.
they decided that the best solution to ‘get him under control’ was marriage. my thought when they uttered this was that he should not be marrying anyone, at least not unless he was ready to tell them what he knowingly did in the past. in my eyes, he is a dangerous and sick person. they asked me why i never told them. i feel like i tried to tell my parents. but my parents never expected or imagined something like that possible, so they just weren’t aware, and so didn’t understand. they got frustrated. i got frustrated. it was a mess.
it didn’t help that my family was already a little messy – spankings, shouting, arguments, doors banging, verbal public fights, drama, domestic violence. these are big words. my parents will never use them and will never agree to all this happening. they don’t like to use such terms. for them it was sort of normal and happens in most families. i don’t agree with that. i grew up tremendously afraid of a father who could get verbally or physically violent with me any time, shall i say something he didn’t like or agree with. when parents frighten you, you cannot confide in them.
my parents wanted to talk to him. i refused. i didn’t want them to talk to him and i didn’t want to talk to him myself. i thought telling my parents meant that i would not have to pretend to be his sister any longer, nor be expected to talk to him. but that’s not how it turned out to be.
he lived in a different country. they told him and when he was in town, he came in to my room with my mother to apologize to me. it was the worst place we could have had that conversation. in my room when I was sitting on my bed. i froze when he entered. he said he was sorry and that he didn’t know what he was doing and that he was glad i told my parents. he said i shouldn’t sabotage my life because of what happened.
he convinced my parents that he was repenting and ashamed for his deeds and that he has reformed and is a different person now.
i didn’t believe one word of what he said. he knew exactly what he was doing – even if not when we were kids, but definitely as he grew up and especially when he was in college and entered my room at night that particular day.
my parents told me not to tell any person about this. according to my mother, i shouldn’t have told my boyfriend. she ‘forbid’ me to tell anyone. she also told me to ‘move on’ with my life and put this in the past. that he has repented for his deeds and struggled with what he did and is now a different person. he got married and my parents expected me to attend his wedding, look happy, befriend his new wife and maintain a good relationship with them, or at least her. i obliged. i liked her but i hated him.
a dichotomy formed in my life.
it repulsed to call him my brother. i can’t stand sitting or standing next to him. it pains me to be around him and act normal around the extended family and general public. i like his wife and otherwise would have a great relationship with her – if only she was the wife of a real brother. if i was her, i would want to know something like this. for what he did, i feel like he should be in prison or a hospital. i don’t trust him around my sister’s kids, even though they are boys. i cannot bear seeing him around kids. it scares the hell out of me. i cringe when he touches a child. i’m afraid he could do it again, to another child.
no child should have to go through what i did. i hope they speak out and avoid years of abuse – the emotional and mental torture, the self-torture.
after a while, i talked to people about it – a mentor, friends, cousin and a hypnotherapist.
my parents did not reprimand him – at least none that i’m aware of. they did not seek help for me or him. he convinced my parents that he changed and regrets what he did unintentionally. moreover, he keeps in regular contact with them and talks with them for hours together and buys them ridiculously expensive gifts. i, on the other hand, have minimal conversations with them, hardly share anything and have a very modest income so my gifts mirror that. we might think presents and things don’t speak so much but they sort of do, that’s what i’ve seen – it matters.
my parents do not encourage talking about it.
they think it’s all a bit of an exaggeration – that it happened so many years ago, and it’s in the past and shouldn’t affect me now.
my parents now behave as if everything is ‘normal’. but it isn’t. and will never be. we will never be a complete/healthy family. no matter how many smiling family photos they hang on the walls. on paper we look like a happy, healthy family. we know what lies underneath. it’s important to stop acting. to recognize that. to talk about it. to find a solution and not ignore it. my parents don’t think that they’re ignoring it though. they truly feel like he’s changed and forgave him and “moved on”. but it’s not that easy for me. ideally, i wouldn’t ever see him again. nor hear about him. but that’s not going to happen. unless i break ties with my entire family – which i’m not willing to do, although sometimes i do think that it might even be worth it.
i have thought about not ever having kids. there are a lot of reasons for it. one of them is that i cannot bear my child being in contact with my brother. i cannot bear not knowing if anything like that has happened to my child. there are other reasons but these are some of them.
there is no question of how all this has affected me or influenced me. it has completely defined my behavior and life.
slowly, i’m trying to redefine and work on myself and change the way i think and behave.
i have hurt myself several times, i’ve felt unworthy of love, unworthy to live, unworthy, period. due to several reasons that i’m grateful for, i have finally come out of the self-harm. i’m trying to recognize that we are all worthy of love.
i have struggled with really bad temper, anger, hate, frustration, violence. a lot of it. sometimes, it’s unmanageable. i am constantly working on it.
on the other hand, i can’t help but wonder where he learnt such things from.
maybe he didn’t understand the meaning of being a brother. recently i have started wondering where he picked it up from. i wouldn’t be surprised if a teacher made him touch him/her. maybe he was molested as well. i don’t know. perhaps i never will. i know i will never talk about that with him. in fact, i don’t want to talk to him at all. about anything, actually. every time i see his face, i see flashes of what happened. there is no second where i can think of him as a brother. he has never been one and it can never be so.
i see him as a monster, a conniving, disgusting liar. but i understand “his soul” isn’t one. i want to forgive him and i constantly work on that, but within close proximity, the hate and resentment surfaces and it’s difficult to repress it (and i don’t think i should). i constantly want to get out the room he’s present in. sometimes, i feel sorry for him. i wonder if he truly repents it, if he’s truly changed. despite everything, i’m aware of the fact that if this hadn’t happened, we might have gotten along really well. i do not like the fact that we can sometimes think alike or have the same opinions or understand what the other is saying naturally. it’s frustrating and exhausting to bounce between trying to forgive him and resenting him. it would have been great to have a real brother and not have something like this destroy a relationship that is meant to be beautiful and joyful with security and playfulness. i wished it never happened and didn’t have to bear this scar. but i now know it’s futile.
despite everything, i can’t really know if he has changed. if he is really sorry for what happened. that he will never do it again. i don’t trust him. i’d like to, but i can’t bring myself to, it’s too scary.
i remind myself not to think about him too much. that’s his journey, his repentance. not something i want to get involved in any longer.
despite everything you’ve read above, it’s also true that i do not think about this every day. in fact, it rarely crosses my mind unless something triggers it. i do not let it define my life or let it be an excuse for my behavior, habits or thought patterns. i have taken the power out of his hands and placed it in mine. If i do have a family some day, my decisions and behavior will be affected by what happened but that will be a conscious decision and not out of a pattern.
today, i have a lot of other things on my mind that have nothing to do with the past – a career, travelling to places i’ve never been before, new experiences… i have a list of things i want things i want to do and i’m on it.
Since I intended this to be an anonymous blog, initially, i felt it was a risk to write about experiences such as this. it somehow felt like i was exposing myself, even though i can’t be seen. i felt like someone might eventually realize that it’s me by stringing posts together.
i finally decided that i’m going to write about everything that bothers me and matters to me, nevertheless.
if what i write makes the slightest difference to even one person, the words would have served their purpose.
i think the main and most important thing is to educate our children – as soon as they start understanding language. it might not be deemed appropriate to introduce the words rape, molestation, abuse, sex, etc at an early age, but we must do it – in a mild way yet, very clearly.
we need to talk about it. openly. with friends, family, relatives. put it out there in the open. if we call ourselves a family, everyone should know. if it gets hidden, the perpetrator feels like they gotten away with it. he/she needs to be exposed.
repair… that’s the hardest. people can do their best to support and understand the situation, but nothing will help unless we decide to help ourselves. this will vary – everyone has their own ways to cope. i recommend therapy. whatever kind that feels comfortable. i have tried hypnotherapy and reiki.
don’t wait for someone else to help you. help yourself. if a parent doesn’t take you to a therapist or a counselor, take that step and visit one yourself. know that you have to do what’s best for you. even if it means going past the rigid belief systems and fears that are instilled in us.
there is no such thing as the best outcome… it is how it is… i cannot imagine any other way because that’s completely futile and a waste of our energy, wishing, hoping or even thinking of another possibility.
however, if you do wish for it to have never happened, don’t beat yourself up for it either. acknowledge that and try to move beyond it. because we all know intrinsically that thinking about the past doesn’t do us any good.
the fact is, there’s always someone going through, who went through or will go through something worse. we can find our strength in their strength. there are so many people who have gone through so much and come out so much stronger – we can learn from every single person around us.
eventually, i want to move away from this story and all the others manifested over time and focus on what really matters. dealing with all these stories and talking/writing about them clears some space for more important things in life. things bigger than my story, my pain or my ego. the truth is that there is joy, peace and love within us, and has been there always. no matter what we go through (and i know it’s so much easier to write about it), we can and will find it only if we try, if we keep placing one foot in front of the other, steadily, even if slowly. it doesn’t matter how fast we walk as long as we take a step in the right direction… we’ll reach there when we can. we just need to try our best. not try. do. do our best.
//read brianna’s story and support her as well <3
what this story made you feel? what are you going to do about it? act now. share it, so we can stop this. thank you.