I was 9 years old.  My father’s father had come to live with us, and soon I was often left in his care.  I don’t know how it is that i sometimes ended up in the double bed he slept in.  He started touching my buttocks.  He would read sexually explicit material to me, and explain all the terms in detail.  Then he started showing me his penis, and one day made me give him a hand job.  I don’t know why I never told my parents, maybe because he created this conspiracy between us & kept reminding me of how much trouble I would be in if my parents found out.  But I don’t remember clearly.  For so many, many years, I felt ashamed because I let him do it and I never said no and I never tried to stop him.  This made me just as bad as him.  My parents asked him to leave soon after the hand-job incident, I think my mother suspected something was wrong.  The next time I saw him, I was 15 years old & couldn’t bear to be in the same room as him.  He died soon after that.  I never told anyone about it until I was 35 years old, and some other traumatic stuff was happening in my life.  My grandfather was a very religious person, extremely well respected because of his religious knowledge and practices.  My parents still don’t know about this – how can I tell them?  I know my father respects his own father so very much, and I don’t have the heart to shatter the image he has in his mind of someone who meant the world to him.

I married a person I didn’t love.  It was arranged, and I felt emotionally trapped and unable to say know.  I spent the first few months of my marriage letting him use my body and hating it.  In the dark, I’d turn my face the other way as he was pumping into me, and I’d be crying silently and he wouldn’t even know, not even after he had finished, that I’d been crying.  It took me so many years to get out of that marriage, and I was under extreme pressure from the men in his family and one of the men in my family to stay. Every kind of emotional manipulation, including my own children (how their lives would be destroyed if I left) was used against me.  I remember one time, in the days when I was trying so hard to leave, that he used my body knowing that I couldn’t complain because of the circumstances.  When he got up from the bed, there was a look of triumph on his face and I felt so sick inside, knowing that he was taking pleasure from my powerlessness.   It was only a couple of years ago that I named this incident as rape, because that’s what it was.  I never let him touch me again after that, and it was this incident that finally gave me the courage to stand up to everyone, and ensure the marriage ended.  He wouldn’t leave the house until he had arranged his next wife though.  And now I know she is as miserable as I used to be, because she called me one night asking me for help on how to leave.  I haven’t told hardly anyone about all of this either, because I have children & it would be too hard for them to hear these things about their father.

This is how victims are silenced.  We are too busy protecting the ones we love from the ugliness we carry inside us.  I wish it could be different, but causing pain to the people I love by telling these stories, it is just unbearable to me.  It’s hard enough to bear my own pain, I can’t take on theirs as well.