I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but today I’ve found myself feeling strong enough to have to courage to post this. I’ll try to keep things as short and simple as possible.
Eleven years ago, I was your typical bubbly 12 year old girl. I had lots of friends, got good grades, and was generally a good kid. I was starting my final year of elementary school (back then it was K-6) when the events that would change my world forever occurred.
My abuser is the stepchild of my mother’s cousin. The summer before starting 6th grade, my family all made plans to get together for a reunion. My great grandmother had been diagnosed with lung cancer years prior and was on her last leg at that point so the elders of the family wanted to have one last big get together for her. It was a beautiful idea for a beautiful soul who adored her family more than anything. She passed just six weeks after the reunion. Despite the fact that the gathering was the start of hell on earth for me, I am glad that she could see all of her beloved family members one last time. I know it made her heart melt.
I have a rather large extended family, over 70 people were at the reunion. Most of us stayed at a large hotel a few miles away from my great grandmothers home. I had never met my abused up until this point. He was 26 years old at the time but had two younger siblings just a few years older than me. One night, the adults wanted to go to the house without the kids to discuss plans about the future of my great grandmothers assets after she passed. It made sense to not have any young ones there as none of us were aware that she had just weeks to live.
While our parents were all gone, the kids were left with some of the older teens and young adults. I want to say that there were probably 15 kids and 4 ‘chaperones’ left at the hotel that evening. The others had made plans to go down to the pool for a few hours to let us wear ourselves out so that we would go to bed sooner. My abuser had said that he, his two siblings, my other female cousin, and I would join them shortly. I had fully trusted this man and never had any inclination that he was a predator just waiting to prowl.
After sitting around for a while, he told everyone one by one to go get dressed into their swimming trucks & bathing suits. He sat outside the door and patiently waited while everyone switched clothes. His two siblings went first and then he told them to head down to the pool and that he would meet them down there when the rest of us were finished. My other cousin went next and he told her to do the same thing. Now, it was just me and this 26 year old man alone in a hotel room. He closed the door as my cousin walked out the door but didn’t tell me to get dressed like he did to the others. Instead, he asked if I would sit on the bed with him for a minute.
I won’t go into full detail here because quite frankly, I don’t think you want to know everything. He began complimenting me and eventually asked me to take my shirt and pants off so that I could change. I was confused and a little embarrassed because I had never undressed in front of anybody like this before. I did as he told me but he pulled me in before I could walk over to retrieve my bathing suit. He began sweet talking me again and then it happened. I didn’t scream or cry in terror. I simply remember feeling just numb the entire time. I didn’t really understand what was happening but I knew it wasn’t normal and that something was severely off. There were moments of physical pain but I was too nervous to react vocally.
As I’m sure you’d expect, I never told anybody about what happened. We went down to the pool after he was finished and I tried to play everything off as cool even though I felt sick to my stomach. A few months went on and I was still super confused and scared that he was going to come find me and do something again. I remember trying to research what he had done to me but I was simply just too young and naive to fully grip the concept of sex.
One day, I started throwing up uncontrollably. This continued for the next two days and my parents decided to take me to the ER. Initially, they tried to just diagnose me with a stomach virus but my parents knew it was something more and they pushed for some tests and a second opinion. We came back the next morning and the doctor said everything appeared just fine. Moments later, I threw up once again out of absolutely nowhere and that was the moment I think the doctor realized what was happening. He talked to my parents for another few hours and even though they were convinced that there was no way I could be pregnant, he convinced them to authorize a test.
My parents were able to get me to confess to what had happened and I finally had found an understanding of what had happened that night. That was the good news. My abuser was quickly arrested and it later came to light that he had abused several other girls around my age. I was the only one he happened to impregnate. He was eventually sentenced to life without parole for his horrific acts. That was the good news. The bad news was that I was going to now have to deal with the consequences of his actions. My parents never really told me what abortion was or considered it as an option. They were super supportive and encouraging throughout everything, but nothing could prevent this from being the horrific experience it was.
Beside the physical pain, the hardest part for me was having to quit school and feeling judgement from some of my ‘friends’ and their families. My parents faced a lot of flack from others because of their decision to have me carry the baby. There was always tension and I experienced the worst pain both physically and emotionally during those nine months.
Just three and a half months after my 12th birthday, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was delivered through c section and I honestly don’t remember much about that day with all of the anesthetics they had me on. I recently turned 23 and she will soon be 11, the same age I was when she was conceived.
My relation to her is obviously something that’s a really difficult concept. She has felt more like a baby sister to me more than anything. My parents and I waited until last year to tell her the truth about everything. She seemed to handle it very well but she still asks a lot of questions. She still refers to me as her sibling I’ve pretty much convinced myself that she is my little sister. That being said, she will always be my daughter. I feel a special connection to her that only a mother would have.
After years of anger, depression, grief, and counseling I’ve finally decided to let go of my negative feelings. I’ve decided to let go of my hatred on my abuser. I’m not to the point of forgiveness yet but I’ve opted to see the positives instead of focusing on all the hurt and anger that I previously held inside for years. As crazy as it may sound, I would never change the past. I know that girl is here for a reason and I will do everything in my power to give her the best life possible.
It took a really long time for me to see things this way without letting my other emotions get the best of me. It feels like the biggest burden off of my back now that I have decided to finally accept everything as it is. I will forever be emotionally and physically scarred, but I can only focus on the present. I hope to prevent what happened to me from ever happening to other young girls.