So what happened was, I was 11 and in the living room watching a movie. It was late. I was with my cousin. He was 14/15 at the time. He was like a brother to me. We shared eggs at breakfast,he’d eat my maize meal when I didn’t want it and he taught me how to climb trees.
There was Trust,there was Peace, there was Comfort. And because these three things existed,I didn’t notice when he started looking at me differently. I didn’t notice the new interest he’d taken in whether I had a boyfriend or not. Or his particular insistence that I wear my grey shorts cos it was hot. The thought of any kind of attraction never crossed my mind because only dirty men saw their female relatives that way and I was not related to any.
As I watch the movie I notice he keeps on staring at me. I ask why and he says Nah,he’s just thinking about something. I ignore it and sink down into the chair. I’m home,fuck it. He comes to sit next to me.
Now, this, this is when it all clicks. I panic internally. I want to cry. I hope I’m wrong. I lay perfectly still and feel my whole body tense up. As he begins to speak I jump up, “The movie’s boring” and with that,I fuck off to my room as fast as possible.
I can’t sleep. I cry. Because for the first time, I’m uncomfortable in my own home because of someone I was naive enough to trust. I’m in shock. I think maybe I overreacted. But maybe I didn’t. I doze off and wake up to him attempting to shut my bedroom door as quietly as possible. “Fuck,I’m fucked” I think. My mother. Her room is directly across from mine. I hate her then,a little,for not giving me my bedroom key.
He sits on my bed. Says he wants to talk. It’s 3AM. I tell him I’m asleep,he says it’s fine. He can talk til I sleep..and do I sleep naked? I’m unable to react. I don’t know what to do. As I begin to accept the fact that maybe,just maybe,I’m about to get raped with my mother in the next room,a door opens. My mother opens my bedroom door,looks at me,terrified,looks at him,looking guilty,and simply asks him to leave my room. He does. She looks at me. Stares. Then goes to her room,comes back and gives me my room key. No words are exchanged.
I wake up and wish I didn’t have to face anyone. The sun makes the night’s evils that much more sinister,shameful,and true. We continue as if nothing happens. The day passes by flawlessly and I think, I’m such an idiot for even entertaining such thoughts. I’m silly.
The sun goes down,and yet again,it’s movie time. He sits away from me this time. During a break I go to the toilet,come back and he’s sitting in my spot, I protest, he says “What’s the issue?Sit on my lap if you like the seat so much” and I freeze. Fuck. Again? I move away and he gets up,towers above me,pushes me down,thrusts his hand into my top,squeezes my breast and forces his finger into me. I push him away and tell him should he ever touch me again,I will kill him. I don’t know if I mean it. I’m 11. But I’m all kinds of fucked up and..I just might.
He leaves the next day. Doesn’t visit for 2 years. I don’t need to see him. I forget.
A friend tells me her step dad tried to rape her. As she speaks,I get flash backs. I break down. We cry,in school,on a bench, unashamed. I make a promise to tell my mother that night. The ride home is Hell.
I am not ready,but I must. I walk into her room,sit,look away,try not to cry and ask “What would you say if I told you I’ve been molested.” The look on her face…she shatters. “Heeeh?” I repeat what I asked, begin to cry and tell her.. Then her face goes blank. “Well,wena what did you do?I told you about those shorts.” “But I was at home…” “But you were around men,didn’t you know?” I leave.My mother and I don’t speak for months but it’s evident that it’s something I shouldn’t discuss. It would shame the family.
I text my other cousin on one of the mornings when I’m high on pain killers and can’t go to school..He tells my other cousin,who calls and asks about it. Things get messy. They know now,so I deny it. I can’t deal with having to explain.
By now,anyone can tell. I was walking through a mall with a male friend and ran into him. We exchange greetings and I leave. As much as he’s someone I’ve loathed at some point,I am civil when I see him. As we walk away my friend asks “Who is that guy bruh?He was looking at you like he’s BEEN wanting to fuck. It was creepy.” My response? “That’s my cousin,and I know.”