“Sexual assault is any sexual act, which is unwelcome or unwanted. It is sometimes committed through use of manipulation, coercion, intimidation, threats, force, or a controlled substance. It can range from sexual battery, to threat of sexual assault, to rape,” according to Hung Tran, Psy.D.

I was raped when I was only 12 years old by a male friend.  I was afraid to tell anyone because I knew they will blame me that it happened.  And it did not stop there. It happened again and again.  Am I really to blame? 

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My parents were traders in the marketplace in the other town, so the whole day I was just left alone in our house.   Rather than me going out, they were always asking our neighbor’s children to play with me inside our home since they are out all day.  That has been our practice, and my playmates enjoyed staying in our place since we had no one watching over us.  Puberty age came, and we were still doing the same. Eventually, I got close to one of them, Rico.  He became my best friend.  It never occurred to me that he would do something to dishonor me since I looked up to him as a big brother.   

I read from the words of John M. Grohol, Psy.D. “It is about the power differential between the abuser and the victim. Most of these crimes are committed by men toward women, and most people know their abuser.”

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One afternoon, after school, we decided to watch a movie in my place, and that’s where it all happened.   Rico threatened me not to tell anyone for he will deny it. He would let everyone think that we were in a relationship, and the blame will surely be put on me since it all happened right in our house.  I was afraid, and so I never dared tell anyone, not even my parents.   

 

I tried to avoid Rico and also some of our friends.  I made sure that I had excuses to say just not to let them inside our home.  But Rico was very insistent and would always show up to molest me.   He kept on confessing to me that he really liked me and will marry me when we are of the right age.  I don’t feel anything for him, and I hate it every time he abuses me.   

 

After almost a year, I observed some changes in my body.   My parents noticed it too that I was starting to gain weight.  I had no inkling about what was happening to me back then, and neither were my parents.  Months passed, my tummy got bigger, and I tested positive.  I was pregnant.   My parents were so mad, and they asked me how it happened.   I told them everything, but they did not believe me at first.  They asked me if Rico was my boyfriend and I said no.  I told them how he just forced me to do it and how angry I was at him and myself.   

 

The village that we live in doesn’t believe that girls get raped.   I became the talk of the town and even blamed me for what happened.   They spread gossip about me, and I saw how my parents were hurt by all that.   We tried to bring it to court, but we lost.  The judge said that I allowed it to happen and the fact that I did not tell anyone the first time it happened means that I consented to it.   

 

I know I was a victim, but no one believed me because of the tradition and culture where people look at girls to be inferior.  I was abused, I was in fear, and I didn’t like what happened to me. But I had no choice because that was the law in the village where I grew up.  They see girls as having no right and no voice.  They kept on saying it to my face that it happened to me because it was my choice.   

 

The tragedy that happened to me was so painful, but there’s nothing that can equate to the pain that I felt when all fingers were pointed at me, blaming me that it would not have happened if I didn’t like it.  My parents did all they can and decided to bring me to the United States to start a new life and forget what happened.   

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Here, with the help of my psychiatrist, I was able to let go of all the pain from my past, and with the new life given to me, I was able to raise my child with confidence and dignity.  My psychiatrist was the first person who believed in me that my rape was not consensual, and that meant a lot to me.     

 

I was just a girl who was in fear of being judged.  I tried to hide it because of shame.  But would things be different if I came out in the open right after the incident happened?  

 

I just hope that one day, the point of view of people in the village where I came from would change.  It is a small town where many girls are still being blamed for being sexually abused.  Many people around the world learn to listen to the cries of girls that are molested and raped without prejudice.   

 

I read this from the website of Dr. Taji Huang PhD as he said “Talking about your traumatic event or continual abuses is the most difficult yet essential steps a survivor of abuse can make. Finding the right counselor is imperative to taking back your life and reclaiming your independence. Don’t let the trauma and anxiety rule your life.”

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