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Trigger Warning: This post discusses sexual abuse and rape.

I was warned that what I was doing could ruin his life. They seemed much more concerned with his future. What about mine?

They defended him more than they did me. His protection came at the cost of mine.

I told the social worker I had been molested for years by an older cousin and raped one night by one of his friends. Some family members questioned if there was any truth to what I was saying. Some decided not to believe me at all.

RELATED: 5 Crucial Words Sexual Abuse Survivors Need To Hear: It is Not Your Fault

I never did see the one who raped me again. I did have to see the cousin who molested me. I had to see him at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a lot of family get-togethers for years. For years, I had to see him even after I brought it up. I had complex feelings when it came to family get-togethers and holidays. 

“You have to be grateful to be around family” is what I was told. I felt so small whenever I was around them. 

I tried to tell them how the environment was affecting me. I tried to tell them, but no one wanted to listen. Spending time around him was not something I wanted to do. There was an expectation of being more appreciative of family time.

They were living as if nothing had ever happened. But it did happen. 

It was my hell during my middle school years. It happened on a lot of Saturdays. It even happened when I was much younger.

Why didn’t I say anything sooner? Would it have mattered? No one did anything when I finally did.

RELATED: The Day I Told My Mother I Was Sexually Abused

Whenever I looked for support, I walked away from conversations even more alone. They were talking to each other, but no one was talking to me. There was so much silence around the area. Quietness is something I struggle with even now.

Why don’t some come forward? Why do some wait years to finally say something? Well, because when a lot of them do, they seem to be questioned more than the ones who did the wrong.

I eventually learned I shouldn’t have to beg them to be there for me. I couldn’t make them see me. If they weren’t going to show up, I was going to do it for myself.

Now, I write to advocate for the others.

Originally published on the author’s Instagram page

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Estephanie Phelps

I am mama to a sweet and wild boy. Being a mom is hard enough without all the expectations. We all have our own stories. Being a mom is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Maybe if I share my good, bad, and the ugly I can help at least one person. That would be good enough for me.

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