I find this extremly difficult to write about. What happened makes me feel embarrassed, ashamed and somewhat responsible. Very few people know what happened to me, I'm 47 and I still fear ridicule and blame.

I believe the men on this list may understand so here goes. When I was 11 years old my 17 year old cousin came to live with us. With rooms being short, he was moved into my bedroom with me. This was okay with me as I looked up to and loved him.

It wasn't very long before he introduced me to the "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" game. I played along as it sounded like fun and I was curious. Shortly after this began, he began touching me and asked me to touch him, it was just touching, not masturbating. This was more than I was comfortable with but I was scared he wouldn't like me anymore if I didn't play along. After a while, he had me strip down and took poloroid pictures of me promising no one would ever see them, it was just a game. I wish to God I had known and understood where this was leading. Once the pictures were taken, the "game" became even sicker.

A few nights after he had taken the pictures he came to me again. He explained what masturbation and oral sex was and wanted me to participate. Scared of what was just told to me, I resisted and told him I didn't want to play anymore. He told me that if I didn't do it he would take the pics and stick them on the bulletin board at my school for all my friends to see. I was so stupid that I actually believed he could do this and get away with it. I was absolutely terrified that all my friends would see me naked and make fun of me, and my teacher would see it and I would be in trouble.

I can't and won't go into the details of what began to happen that night, I'll only say that I unwillingly began to comply. This became almost an almost every night thing. I hated it, and started to hate the dark, my bedroom and bedtime. I was forced into this sick shit for the next two years. I didn't tell anyone because it was such a dirty thing and I felt so ashamed that I cried almost every day. It was bad, and I began to hate him and myself for what I was doing.

When I was 13 he began to anally rape me. I had never experienced such pain in my life. I would throw up regularly from crying so hard. Just a short time after this began, he got too rough with me and caused me to start bleeding from my rectum. At that point I had to tell someone because I was in such pain and I was scared of the blood. When I decided to finally tell someone, I chose my father. To ashamed to tell him what had been going on, I only told him that I was bleeding from my bottom. He took me to the emergency room. Those of you who remember the 70s might recall that when you went to the hospital, you were not seen by the hospital doctor. Your family doctor would meet you there. When we got there I was glad, it was finally going to be over, the doctor would tell my father and he would fix things and maybe make my cousin move out, maybe even beat him up or kill him. I'll never forget what happened then, the son of a bitch threw me to the wolves. After the examination, I could overhear my father and my doctor talking from behind the curtain. The doctor explained what he thought had happened and I'll never forget or forgive that sorry father of mine for what happened next. He told the doctor that our family just couldn't afford to have this type of blackmark on the family name and that reporting it would only cause me more problems. The doctor told him that he would put down that the tears were caused by severe constipation, and then sternly told him to take care of what was going on and not to bring me into the hospital like that again. On the way home I was so scared I was in trouble. My father didn't speak a word to me, and to my horror when we got home, he put me back into my bedroom with that sick bastard. Nothing was EVER said to me about it. I felt my father was ashamed and disappointed in me.

That night, I decided I had to get out of there. For the next year while the abuse was still going on, I began stealing as much money from my parents as I could get away with so that I could leave. Shortly before my 15th birthday I ran away and never returned to live in that house. I began living on the streets of Houston. The money I had saved didn't last long. I was sleeping in doorways and alleys and scared to death. After about a month on the streets, I was introduced to prostitution by a man that I met through other street wise kids. It never dawned on me that I had ran into the same thing I had run away from.

By 16, I was a hardcore alcoholic. When I wasn't working, I was drinking. I drank until I was 28 before I sobered up. Once sober, the pain hit me like a shot, memories started flooding back, I began to have nightmares and waking flashbacks. I have them to this day. Extreme anger and sadness take up a lot of my time now.

In my 30s, I started going to the local county mental health clinic. I went for 14 years with nothing ever being worked out. It was just talk therapy and throwing pills at me. I've gone through many counselars with the same negative results. Damn I hate it when told to pull myself up by my boot straps and just put it all behind me. It's not possible, I just can't do that. I've tried, but the memories keep flooding back. I cry a lot, and then it turns to rage. At 45 I had a breakdown and had to be hospitalized. It was here I finally started getting the help I needed. I was diagnosed bi-polar with PTSD. Upon leaving the hospital my aftercare plan included DBT classes and they hooked me up with a psychologist who specializes in advanced PTSD treatment for abuse victims. I'm finally making progress, it's slow, but it's progress. I'm starting to see things through adult eyes as opposed to an 11 year olds. It's harder now than it's ever been, but I was told by my therapist it had to get harder before it got better.

I can't believe I'm 47 and still going through this. The abuse has ruined my life for a lot of years now. It does feel good to have a mental health team now that understands where I'm at, and I know can help get me to a healthy place.

Writing this has wore me out so I guess I'll stop now. Thank you all for taking the time to listen. It's just now starting to feel like I might be able to be a SURVIVOR. I thank God for this website and am really looking forward to the September WOR and getting to know some of you.

Thanks again and Take Care.