This post is a departure from my regular posts. I have decided to use this platform to allow rape and domestic violence survivors to tell their stories. These posts are not censored or edited, but come straight from the survivor. Some survivors need to tell their story in a safe place, and many others need to know that they are not alone, nor are they to blame. It’s important to me to provide that connection. I chose #itsourstory to spread the word for two reasons: no matter how isolated you feel, you are never alone and this is part of our culture, our society, and it belongs to all of us. If you would like to contribute, you can find more information here.
I was ten years old. In the 4th grade. It had been the best year of my life up to that point.
I still don’t like to talk about it. Or write about it. Or think about it. Even though I’ve published a memoir detailing the incident and its aftermath, the fight or flight instinct still kicks in. And the silence.
The rapist was my so-called-brother. I’m glad we don’t share genetics. It was cruel fate that placed me in a family with this monster.
He molested me once before. A prelude, although I didn’t realize it then. I was nine. I didn’t say anything to my parents even though I was scared and upset. Doing sick things was so “everyday” for him that I thought it wasn’t worth it. It would only cause more yelling and crying, and I hated drama.
I was starting to develop physically and I also hated my body, because of his reaction to it. He tried to get glimpses of me naked. He leered and made snide remarks. It made me feel dirty. I had just started (reluctantly) wearing a bra. My breast buds were so tender that even pulling a shirt down while naked felt like I was being bruised. Mom bought me some soft, padded bras and that helped, although I didn’t want to “grow up.” I just wanted to be a normal child, but I never got the chance.
I weighed 75 pounds at the age of ten. I know this because our mother was good about recording such things in our “School Days” books. He was fourteen and more than twice my size and weight. When I think back to how small I was, my heart aches for my child-self.
It was a year after molesting me when he found another opportunity. Mom was out running errands when I got home from school. Dad would still at work for another half-hour. My protection was gone.
It was sudden and violent. He threw me to the living room floor, tore my pants off, and clawed deep into my vagina with his dirty fingernail. He wanted to hurt me, physically and psychologically. He wanted to hurt me so I would prefer he use his penis. He actually asked me during the attack, while I screamed, if I’d rather he use that, so it “won’t hurt.” Then later he could have said that I asked him to do it. He really was and is that twisted. I kept screaming “No!” I screamed so the whole universe would hear me. But the universe was silent in return. No angels were dispatched to save me.
At some point (probably because he was bored) he let me go, and I grabbed my pants and ran. And ran. And ran.
My childhood ended that day. I was broken and nothing could put me back together.
I was just a little girl. I weighed all of 75 pounds.
Elle Cuardaigh is the author of the memoir The Tangled Red Thread, in which she talks about how the physical and emotional effects of her rape as a child followed her through the remainder of her life.
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