I wrote this letter four years ago but never sent it to you. I was just not ready to confront you. After you called me over Christmas, I knew now is the time to do so.
25, that number has been bothering me for a couple of months. I have struggled to find out why that number bothers me so. This is my last week being 25 yet I am afraid. I’ve not been able to imagine my life past 25 yrs of age. I have a bachelor’s degree and an MBA. Both wonderful achievements that I have been able to accomplish by the age of 25. Yet, that’s not it. I’m scared of what lies ahead. I am scared for I don’t know what comes after 25.
I have been seeing a therapist for a couple of months now. I have been angry, very angry at complete strangers, at my family and mostly at myself. I have also been withdrawing from friends, not enjoying doing things outside the house. I loved going to the movies, you could not keep me away from anything entertainment. But now, I barely have the desire to leave the house. I’ve been thinking of something that happened to me years ago and how I want to be able to deal with it so as to be able to let go of past transgressions towards me and judge men, especially by their own actions. I’ve wanted to talk to someone about it for a long time and I just never felt comfortable enough to talk about it. I felt ashamed, embarrassed and guilty most of all that I let it happen and that I’ve kept quiet thus letting you get away with something for all these years.
The last time I saw you, you were with your fiancée, Edith. I was very rude and disrespectful towards you. That’s when it finally hit me that I had been acting like nothing had ever happened, aiding you in pretending that there was no wrong committed. It was then that I decided my best course of action is to cut all ties with you. I haven’t seen or heard from you since. Two weeks ago, I finally got the courage to tell my mom what you had done to me. I finally told her how many times you used me and my naivety to satisfy yourself.
I don’t know why you chose me. I know I developed into a woman early, but that was still no excuse to look at me as anything else but your niece. I trusted you, I loved you and I respected you as my uncle. Someone who was interested in the same things I was interested in and was fun. But instead, you looked at me as a piece of meat.
You could not see past my breasts that you continuously stared at, caressed, licked, everything that I was not supposed to be experiencing going through early puberty. You introduced me to an act that I was not ready for. Feelings that I was not supposed to be feeling while at the same time so angry at what you were doing to me. You took advantage of me and knew that I would not say anything to mom because I was scared of her. But also knew that she relied on you and John to help her keep us safe while dad was away.
By this Letter, I Want to go Past the Shame
I am still afraid and embarrassed after telling mom what had been happening. I don’t want people looking at me and seeing the shame but at the same time, I long for someone to know and tell me that everything will be ok.
I wondered if I was the only person you did this to. I remember you trying to lure my 13-year-old friend Josephine up to my room. I asked her if you had ever tried anything with her and luckily you left her alone. I started thinking about Nancy, uncles daughter.
I don’t want anyone else to go through what I had to endure. The guilt, the shame, and the continuous self-doubt and self-loathing of my body. Not being able to look in the mirror and seeing just me as a person and not as a child with a woman’s body. A body that brought such unwanted attention at a young age and from the most inappropriate people. It is the reason I write this letter.
Last Monday, I was walking home from seeing my therapist. Yes, I have to see a therapist and a psychiatrist because of the emotional, mental and physical strain I am going through now by keeping your frequent abuse quiet. I am on medication that helps me sleep and has reduced my nightmares. My nightmares all consist of you. Your head on a snake’s body chasing me. The grin on your face, the look of utter ecstasy that you have on your face while subjecting me to the most hurtful experience is one that I find hard to forget.
That past Friday, I had another panic attack. I saw a man on TV who had a nose just like yours. I thought it was you walking towards me, the way you would walk towards me with that wanton look on your face and just staring at my chest. My heart started to beat really fast and I had to keep telling myself that you were not really here.
That Monday I told my therapist about finally opening up about you sexually abusing me. How you would hold my hands above my head, open up my top and grind your aroused penis on me until you were satisfied; never hearing me telling you to stop. She asked me how old I was when this was happening. I was between the ages of 12 and 13.
God Help Me Heal This Pain
As I was walking home, I kept wondering what it is about that number 25 that is bothering me. It started raining and I kept hearing my therapist’s voice asking me how old I was. I started getting so scared, my legs started getting weak, the walk home started feeling longer than usual. The houses around me started to spin.
I started crying, crying so hard I couldn’t stop. My heart was grieving, such pain that I had never felt before. I had realized that you were 25 years old when you abused me. I have not been able to imagine my life past that age because to me, the world ended then. My world changed and was going to be very uncertain past 25. It felt like my life was over and no one and nothing could make it any better.
I wept, my soul wept and the child in me wept for my mother. I wept for my mother to be here and console the child in me that wanted her to protect me. I feel like I am stuck with all the feelings I had when I was 12; still acting and feeling like a child when I am a grown woman. I felt so confused and so scared to be in my room. I locked myself in the bathroom just like I would after you had your way with me. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, I was afraid to open the door for I felt you were on the other side of that door. I reached up with my hands and kept asking God to help me. God help me, God help me, God help me, God help me, God help me.
I don’t know how many times I repeated that but He was all I had to help me regain my sanity. These are the times when you feel truly alone and all I have is my faith in God. It hurts, it hurts so bad to have to live through this again. It hurts to look in the mirror and all I see is me as a teenager. I only see my breasts and feel cursed with a body that made you act the way you acted.
There’s no way to explain all the emotions that I have going through me. I’ve tried the best that I could. All I know is I want you to acknowledge the awful things you did to me. I want you to face your actions and make sure that your family and friends, especially those with children, know what you are capable of. I truly hope that with the years that have passed you’ve changed your ways.
I have one week left as a 25-year-old woman. I am so petrified of turning 26. I am hoping that with my faith in God I can make a great life for myself after 25. I pray that I can come to terms with the abuse. I pray that I can look at myself in the mirror and see a person and not just a body. Then one day I can be able to be proud of me as a whole person and not just as a person sans the body.
I am working towards the healing I so long for. Although it has been four years since I wrote this letter and years since you violated me, it still pains me just like it did back when you were violating me. Judging from your phone call, I don’t think you even recognize the amount of pain you have brought into my life. It is time for me to move on and face the next chapter of my life with a clean slate. I don’t want to keep carrying the weight of this sadness on my shoulders. I beg of you, if you have any remorse in you, do not subject any other young girl to such a lifetime of pain, self-doubt and self-loathing.
NB: Some names and places have been changed to protect their identities