I was at my grandmother's house with my Mom, brother, and sister. I was seven or eight. I was having a hard time using the restroom and having a bowel movement. I remember it being painful and looking down and seeing blood. Without flushing, I left the restroom and immediately got my mom. This was my attempt to tell her that something was going on; that my father was molesting me and it hurt to use the restroom. At first, my mom didnít react much; probably because there wasnít a lot of blood. It wasnít until my grandmother got involved that it started to become a larger issue.

I think she may have sensed something was wrong with me. My grandmother started asking questions. I remember feeling a sense of relief and dread. Relief at the thought of finally being able to tell someone about the horrible things that were happening to me; dread at the notion that something may happen to them if I told them. I thought Ė I have an out if they guessed what was happening to me; he canít hurt them if they guessed. As more questions started being asked, that sense of dread grew. I became more fearful that my father would be furious when he found out they knew. My grandmother was determined and unrelenting. Surely he couldnít hurt her. Then, I imagined the two of them engaging in an argument over it. My father was strong; he would be able to overpower her. He could really hurt her as he did me countless times with his fists.

The question was finally asked: did he touch you? I froze. I remember feeling sick to my stomach and my mouth going dry. The words wouldnít come out. My mother and grandmother asked again. I got scared and remembered my father threatening me and threating to hurt anyone who found out. The hiss in his voice sent shivers down my spine. I will kill you. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, trying to decide what to do. I loved my grandmother and mom so much that I didnít want anything to happen to them. Even if they knew, it wouldnít change how dirty I felt. How ashamed I was that this was happening to me. All of these things kept spinning around and around in my head until finally I said: No. It was barely audible. I could have told them right then and there but instead, I let that moment go. The fear had won. He won.

I donít remember if there were other times afterwards that I attempted to tell my mother what was going on. My dad left us to go live in Chicago shortly after that incident. As my parents separated we didnít see him for many months. It wasnít until I was 18, the same year my grandmother passed away, that I remember telling my mom. I had to tell someone what had happened. At first, she didnít believe me and denied that anything had happened to me. I insisted that I was telling the truth. Everything that I had felt the anger, the humiliation, the sadness, the shame that I felt down to my core, had grown inside of me until I felt like I was going to burst. I had to get them out; someone had to know. Iím not sure how long it took for her to believe me, hours, days, or weeks but, she finally came around. My story opened up the door for my other siblings to come forward. My older brother said that he had also been abused; my oldest sister too. My voice encouraged them to speak out. I felt that it gave my story more credibility and that I was somewhat vindicated.