Sunday, October 17, 2010
Eventually it doesn't hurt to remember
I was 12 years old and spending the evening at my aunt and uncle's house, as I had done many many nights before. This particular evening was a very special evening as it was my aunt's 30th birthday. My cousin's were 8 and 6 years old and I spent a lot of my time with them. This evening was going to be a load of fun, there was a house party and I was sleeping over and would get to mingle amongst the adults and hang out with my cousins. all was going well, my cousins and I were having fun in the room while the adults partied up a storm in the lounge. As the night drew on guest after guest started leaving and by the end of the evening my cousins and I were safely tucked in bed fast asleep when my aunt (whose birthday it was) passed out in her bedroom. Pretty much in the way drunk people tend to do when they have had too much of a good time.
I was woken up that night by my uncle (the man who had come to represent one of the many father figures in my life). I was sharing a bed with his daughter, when he came into the room and removed her from the bed and placed her in her brothers room, then returned to me. I opened my eyes to find him hovering over me like an overbearing oaf. (he was a rather large man). I remember very clearly his words as he spoke; "Come I'll show the real meaning of that Madonna song, like a virgin". That night he raped me. He was so big and heavy and I remember trying in vain to push him off me, trying desperately to close my legs but my struggle was in vain. With all the strength in me I could not muster up enough to stop him from bearing down on me like an elephant. He was so much stronger than I could ever imagine. I remember telling him; "You're hurting me, stop" only to have him cup his hands over my mouth and say; "shh you're going to be just fine".
The next morning is kind of a blur. I showered and washed my body till it was quite raw, trying to remove all remnants of the night before's activity. I went about my daily life as if nothing happened too embarrassed to tell anyone. He had returned his daughter to her bed before retiring for the night and so the only evidence of any unusual activity was when my cousin asked me the next day if I had found her a little bit gone in the night. (was how she put it) apparently she had woken up to find herself in her brother's bed, but was still in a dreamlike sleep state only to wake up the next morning back in her own bed. I ignored her question and she just took it as a dream.
something changed inside me that next day. I looked at men with distrustful eyes. I felt guilty, ashamed and dirty. I felt as if somehow I had brought this on myself. I didn't have the heart to tell my aunt what her husband had done, for fear of upsetting her. In fact I didn't want to tell anyone, so I kept this dark dirty secret to myself for years.
When I was pregnant with my first child one evening I called my grandmother up and told her to come see me I had something important to tell her. sensing the urgency in my tone of voice, she came over right away. I told her the whole story, she was in tears and held me for what seemed like hours. It was very therapeutic, like a weight had literally been lifted from my shoulders. She went back home and relayed the story to the family and my aunt then divorced him. (It later came out that he had attempted the same thing wit another female member of the family)
The thing that I have learnt through time and life experience is that any event no matter how traumatic may never be entirely forgotten, but eventually there will come a time when it doesn't hurt to remember.