Sexual Abuse within the Family, A Cuban Tells Her Story  

Innocent Cuban kids can be very vulnerable to abuse from within their own families.  Photo: Reynaldo La O.

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.
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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 I 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 grieve 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.
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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 protected] or [email protected]



2 thoughts on “Sexual Abuse within the Family, A Cuban Tells Her Story  

  • Even without your name, you are a very courageous person for coming forward to reveal your story. Unfortunately your experience is all too common in every society. Here in Canada also sexual abuse is rampant and is only now being exposed particularly among religious priests. Many young boys and girls were sexually abused by priests who were noted “friends” of the family whereby the family allowed their youngster to be alone with their mentor for friendship. The situation, very much like yours, turned toxic and abusive for the youngster. Like you, the youngster kept the “secret” to themselves and this negative experience literally ruined many children’s lives as they grew older as they psychologically could not deal with their inner demons and some turned to alcohol, drugs, violence and eventually prison solely to cope with there dire situations. Like you, they kept their inner feelings bottled up not knowing what to do. Their childhood destroyed through no fault of their own. Today, some are beginning to speak out at what happened many, many years ago and the perpetrators, like your uncle, cannot be prosecuted because they have died. Lawsuits have been filed against many religious priests and churches for their complicity in these atrocities and the institutions vow never to have this happen again. We can only hope so.

    Reply
  • You are correct Stephen, For many thousands religion became purgatory or indeed hell, as they were abused by those who were preaching: “Bring the little children unto me.”

    Reply

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