By A Guest Writer,

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? just five words but if you asked me, they posed the most difficult question in my life! It kept me up at night, made me question my days and often my existence as a whole. This question, brought tears to my eyes and heartache to my soul; the kind that doesn’t heal easily and time does the very opposite, it created a chasm between innocence and I.  This is a question many girls and boys who find themselves in a situation like mine or even worse, have at one point or another asked themselves.

For me the journey to this question began when I was 7 years old. My Uncle’s friend who had become family became very fond of me and took a special interest in my breasts, even though at the time what had developed was nothing more than tiny nipples. As I grew older so did his interest, he would reach to touch my blossoming breasts every chance he got. I never told anyone about these encounters, I was just a little girl, and he was a man studying theology, ready to be ordained Pastor and adored by all.

I felt I had no voice to confront these acts, nor did I have the energy to stop them from happening, well up until I got to age 11 and when he tried to touch my breasts again and I threw a tantrum. However, without asking the reason for my tantrum those around me sympathized with the man who had violated me for years. Good thing was from that day forward he never tried again, and to my relief left the country about a year later. My troubles had left or so I thought.

It was going to only be a year after standing up for myself to my perpetrator that I would be faced with the need to stand up for myself again, against a man I had trusted again, a man I regarded as a Father, having lost mine at age 7. How does a 12-year-old respond when the man she trusts with her life gives her a Fatherly hug but in the midst of it ask if He can kiss her and without waiting for my response he reached down and kissed me. My first kiss, I always thought would be with my prince charming, see, I am a hopeless romantic, madly in love with fairy tales, however, here I was standing in a room with a married man, his 5-year-old son playing across the room and his wife in the next, but with no shame pinned me to the wall kissed me and when he was done left the room like nothing happened even went to a night of prayer shortly after.

I remember being terrified to tell my Aunt about what had happened because first of all this was her husband, secondly he was an elder of the church who stood up to preach on many Sundays, and who was I – a 12-year-old girl! Who would believe me? So once again I resorted to silence.  I buried these memories way deep, in a place where they would not torment me. But sadly my torment proof shield would be shattered only a few years later. I wouldn’t need to dig those memories up for my heart to break, I was given a fresh experience to add up to the ones I already had.

When I got to age 17 another trusted family friend who had been around my family since I was 5 had come to town, he told me that he wanted to buy me lunch and well me being me I trusted those words only to end up in the struggle of my life that afternoon as he tried to push me onto his bed with the intent to sexually assault me. How did we get to his bed? well apparently it was to carry his bags from his room because he was about to leave the city that day, little did I know that this was his master plan all along. I didn’t understand how a man who had watched me grow up would all of a sudden want to harm me, I was confused, I was angry and I was broken.  After that day I believed with all my heart that IT WAS MY FAULT, how could I make three honest men do things that were unlike what I knew them to be. I was the common denominator in these scenarios therefore something was wrong with me, but what exactly was it, I really didn’t know. What I do know is that for a lot of girls and boys who have faced what I faced and maybe even so much more, the struggle is real. The struggle to pick yourself up after such encounters. The struggle to rid yourself of the dirt you feel after such experiences. Whether the perpetrator managed to get their way or not the result is the same – broken hearts.

I am a SURVIVOR who every once in a while has to remind herself that IT’S NOT MY FAULT, and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME, but everything wrong with the men who took advantage of the position of trust they held in my heart. Their decisions do not define who I am, nor do they say anything about who I am. I am a survivor pursuing the healing of my heart, which is not the easiest thing but is necessary and possible.If you are reading this and have been through ‘almost’ encounters, know that your story matters. If you have been through gruesome encounters, your story matters, and it’s not just your story that matters, YOU MATTER MORE and as you fight for your heart to be well again know this YOU ARE NOT ALONE.


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