WARNING: The following content includes graphic descriptions of abuse. If this is a trigger subject for you, you may want to sit this one out.
I’m sitting in the bath, hunched over with my knees pulled up to my chest. I am gripping them tightly; it feels secure and safe.
I’m 9, I think I’m normal. I have friends, a mum and dad and brothers. I’m just normal, which is what makes this all so confusing. I don’t feel dirty or tainted. Just confused.
I have a friend, Sam who lives at the end of the street. She is a year older than me but she is really fun to play with. Her Dad is nice. Her Mum died when she was little and it’s just her and her Dad. I have stayed there a few times for sleepovers and it’s always heaps of fun. We camp in the lounge room and watch scary movies and eat junk food.
Today something strange happened though. I don’t even know what it was.
I know it was wrong but I don’t know what to do about it.
Sam’s dad was showing us this new game on his computer. He was showing me how to use it and told me to sit on his knee so he could help me. I did it; it didn’t seem odd.
The game was fun until I felt myself shift on his lap. My eyes, his eyes, my friends eyes – still fixed to the screen as I played the game. Then I felt something under my skirt. Is that a hand? It slipped into my underwear.
What do I do? I looked at Sam, she was laughing because my little man just fell off the hill and I had to go back to the start of the game. I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, he was laughing too. His hand still in my underwear… inside me. But his face was normal.
I didn’t know what to do.
My turn was up and it was now Sam’s turn. She sat on her dad’s lap and I watched his hands. I couldn’t stop staring at them. But they sat on his hip, he didn’t move them. He didn’t do the same thing to Sam. He just watched her play.
Sam asked if I wanted to stay for dinner but I told her I had to go.
I think I have been in the bath too long because I can hear my mum walking up the hallway.
I think it’s time to get out.
I am now 29-years-old. The memory of that day is so clear. I remember laying in bed wondering if I had imagined it. I was nine. Who does that to a nine-year-old?
I came from a very normal home. I hadn’t known anything except love by my family. We had a really happy home. I couldn’t tell my parents. It would devastate them. I also didn’t want them to look at me differently. I didn’t want them to know that it had happened, that a man had done that to me. Somehow if it was a secret it didn’t feel so tainted, so vile, so dirty.
Somehow verbalising it to those I loved would make me feel dirty. I could imagine my mother’s face of disgust, I know it wouldn’t be at me but somehow her disgust about the incident would make me feel disgusted in myself.