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At the age of 5 I stood in front of the person who took every ounce of innocence I had and look her straight in the eyes, tell her goodbye and that I will see her tomorrow.

She was suppose to be trusted, she was supposed help shape me into a young women.  I can say at the least, that’s exactly what she did. She was a teenage babysitter, one of those that are suppose to sit around the house on her phone. Instead she sexually abused me for years. She would tell me it’s what the cool kids are doing and if I don’t get the hang of it before High School no one will speak to me. I remember she invited her friends over and ask me to do things that 5 year olds shouldn’t have knowledge of. She told me she’d show me on Barbie’s first so I wouldn’t be scared.

Naturally wanting to fit in I said “okay.”

The sexual abuse went on for a couple years, as we grew older it seemed to be  more weird, no one else was talking to me about these things other than her. When I no longer needed her as my babysitter I stopped seeing her and stopped seeing the memories of her as well.

Time went by without any recollection of what had gone on and I was enrolling into high school and it made me feel safe. Sexual abuse victims have a a more likely chance to be re-victimized, unnoticed until too late I fell into this trap. My boyfriend sophomore year made me feel wanted and beautiful something every 16 year old wanted to hear. Taking advantage of the shared knowledge and my gullibility, I was tricked into thinking “love” was a good enough excuse on why “NO” wasn’t heard.

I don’t hate them for what they did to me. It doesn’t matter why they did it either or why it took till my freshman year in college to speak about it. I believe that all that matters is the conversation. I know there are many people who don’t feel comfortable speaking about it, it can be hard and scary.

But by remaining silent, we are allowing those who did this to us win. We are accepting their punishment.

For the longest time I wanted nothing to do with my past. Running away from it seemed a lot easier than facing it. I refused to let be me, so I ran for over 10 years. The memories haunted me and I developed unhealthy relationships, I tried to be perfect, and found unconventional ways to settle with myself when I noticed I couldn’t reach perfection.

Now in a 2 years loving relationship I find myself flinching when my boyfriend touches me, not being about to receive affection from my loved ones, and lacking knowledge of what love should be.

Maybe I need to heal, but just like other victims in order to heal, we need to be able to talk about what happened to us. By talking about sexual abuse, we send a message to everyone to pay attention to us, that this isn’t a light subject and it is far more common than you think. I don’t just have the worst luck, According to National Center for Victims of Crime, one in five girls and one in twenty boys are victims of sexual abuse.

Even if it isn’t you, we need to talk about it. One in five girls, that could be your friend, your sister, your mom. Sexual abuse surrounds us and we need to realize speaking and actions are so important.

There are people who are sexual abused and do not want to talk about it because of the stigma it carries. It makes people uncomfortable and may even make the victim feel worthless. That’s where a lot of crimes go unnoticed, people are confused about what to do. They freeze and don’t take action. We have to take action.

For anyone that has gone through this, don’t wait 10+ years. I waited and I watch my relationships fall apart, my trust for anything flush down a toilet and my reflection burn in a mirror. Report it, take action. Don’t hold onto the thoughts. Don’t allow yourself to say you it was your fault, that you deserved it because you didn’t. You deserve more. Just like I did, and do. It gets hard and I’m not going to lie sometimes it doesn’t go away but it’s important to stay strong.  I hope you’ll speak the truth of your or someone else’s story, your pain and your resilience in a way that feels right to you and best allows you to heal and regain the peace that was taken from you. And as a society I hope we can help raise victims and help them grow. That we will applaud those who come forward to break silence, and realize their strength.


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