My uncle raped me when I was 12 and it took me 10 years to tell anyone. It happened when I was spending the evening at my aunt and uncle's house after a party.
As the night drew on, guest after guest started leaving. By the end of the evening my cousins and I were safely tucked in bed fast asleep.
My uncle woke me up. I was sharing a bed with his daughter. He lifted her from the bed, and carried her to her brother’s room.
I remember very clearly the words he spoke: “I am going to show you the real meaning of that Madonna song Like a Virgin." He was heavy. I tried to push him off but could not. I tried to keep my legs closed but he was too strong.
The next morning is a blur. I showered and washed my body until it was raw. I carried on as if nothing had happened. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. I felt ashamed and dirty. I felt guilty, like it was my fault.
I definitely didn't want to upset my best aunt by telling her. I didn't want to tell anyone. So I kept my dark secret.
Ten years had passed when I told my grandmother. She cried and held me. A weight lifted from my shoulders. When she told the family, it came out that my uncle had tried the same thing with another girl.
Time has taught me that a traumatic event may never be entirely forgotten. But eventually there comes a time when it doesn't hurt to remember.
It is hard to talk about rape or abuse – even more so when it’s someone you know. But keeping it secret is not always the right choice. Rape is a crime, no matter who does it. You can lay a charge and let the law handle it.
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