HAVANA TIMES – Childhood is a beautiful time in a person’s life, a time of discovery and surprise, but also a vulnerable time, because we learn to see the world through adults’ eyes.
Very few people understand that a child needs to discover their body and learn how to live with their own emotions or concerns, with the least amount of intervention from “people with experience” as possible.
Adults frequently interfere in different ways, thereby creating complexes, guilt and anxieties in innocent children. Most of the time, the child’s own family is to blame.
Sexual abuse is a lot more common than we think it is. You don’t have to come from a poor, rural, marginal or dysfunctional family for it to happen. Thinking that you do is a mistake, although this theory is quite firmly rooted in people’s minds. An aggressor can be hiding in any household, a person who touches a child and then asks for their silence.
I really don’t remember how old I was at the time; maybe 8 years old. I had been sent off to my aunt and uncle’s for the day. My cousin had gone out to play with his friends. I was alone with my uncle in their apartment in Alamar.
My aunt and uncle still hadn’t separated back then. My uncle was still alive back then.
I remember that I was playing with one of those devices we used to call “Atari” or “Nintendo” and I asked him for help, because I didn’t know how to play properly.
He was nervous that day, anxious. He would constantly look out of the window on the fifth floor, as if he were waiting or looking for something.
He held me tight against him at times, he was wearing boxers, or at least that’s what I think I remember. He kissed me on the cheek, he hugged me. I didn’t feel like he was doing anything wrong, although he had never been so affectionate with me before then.
As night fell, he asked me to go watch TV in the bedroom with him, on top of the bed. I don’t remember what was on. The only image I have is of that room, only lit up with the light from the black and white TV screen.
I think he was caressing me and then he slowly started to take off my knickers, telling me in a whisper, that we couldn’t tell anyone about this. He kissed my clitoris. I didn’t feel any pleasure and luckily there wasn’t any kind of penetration. He just caressed and kissed me. I was confused, uneasy. I didn’t know what to do. I don’t remember how the night ended. All I know is that I didn’t tell anyone what had happened.
Sometime later, there was another incident. We were at a family celebration. He had a car. In the middle of that commotion, he told me to go to the store with him and buy something. We weren’t in the city, but in a rural town. I don’t know what went through my mind in that moment. I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t know something would happen. I just wanted to go for a spin. His children, my parents and more than eight cousins, stayed at home. I still don’t know how I was so sure of myself, how he knew I wouldn’t say anything after coming back from the “spin”.
We didn’t go too far. We went to a place in the middle of the highway. He stopped the car and asked me if I wanted to see his penis. I told him I didn’t and looked outside. I didn’t cry, I didn’t get upset. I was ashamed. I was shy at that age. My parents weren’t puritanical, but they didn’t talk to me about sex, abuse or violence.
He took out his penis. We were in the middle of nowhere. He began to masturbate, and I didn’t look. He took my hand so I could do it, but I refused. He tried several times, but I kept staring out of the window and telling him I didn’t want to.
We went back home. He didn’t tell me not to say anything, like he did the first time. He knew that I wouldn’t. Twenty years later, I still haven’t told my family what happened.
I was at his funeral. He died in a car accident. He was the first person I saw dead. My cousins are still grieving his passing.
I have never written about any of this. I have only told a couple of people. I feel like I should sign off this article with my name, but I still can’t. I don’t know whether I’m doing this because of my family, so as not to tarnish my uncle’s reputation of being a good guy. I’m still not ready.
And you? Have you ever suffered any sexual violence? Do you think telling your experience will alert other people and help educate them that violence is NOT normal? If so, write us at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org