Skip to main content

Family Secrets and Child Abuse

Writing by Andy Reyes // illustrations by Nea Valdivia

TW: Child sex abuse I write this thinking that one day my abuser will die.

I was a beautiful, curious little girl. I felt protected and safe until my childhood ended at the age of five because of a doll.

What happens to children who have been sexually abused is that our lives suddenly become very confusing and sad.

My abuser was my cousin. She was 15-years-old and my mother let me be with her all the time. I loved her very much and I trusted her, we all did.

She had all the dolls I wanted to play with, so I was not only  in awe of her cool teenage essence, but she had what I wanted and she knew that.

Now as an adult, I’ve read a lot about childhood sexual abuse, so I know that she wanted me to trust her.

The moment she began abusing me, I remember looking at the doll I wanted to play with and thinking this was the price to pay to be able to play with that doll.

After the abuse, she told me that I had to keep her secret, she told me my mother would be angry. I was very afraid of my mother back then, so I thought she was protecting me and decided to keep her secret. I have been keeping her secret for more than 20 years. I have still not told my mother.

I remember one day looking into her eyes and in her gaze I saw evil. I could see she felt nothing. She did not feel the slightest bit of remorse for hurting me.

After the abuse, I started wetting the bed, I started to feel strange in my own body, and I felt my scent changed. I felt like a worthless girl, that there was something in me that made me feel insufficient. I remember seeing my younger cousins be happy and I couldn’t get myself to feel that way.

For many years I told myself that she loved me and that’s why she did what she did to me. I was growing up and I realized that she was no longer interested in me, it was not until many years later that I realized that she never loved me, she was a pedophile.

I am 28 years old now and when I think of her, I am invaded by a feeling of injustice, because I suffer this in silence.

My family still adores her. She is a mother and a teacher. When I think that she could hurt other children, my heart breaks and I’m that scared five year old girl again.

Over the last two years, I have thought a lot about what would happen if I denounced this horrible woman. If I shared with my family and authorities what happened to me at 5 years old. My mind travels to a very dark place where she is left with nothing, where she goes to prison and never leaves. After thinking this I feel bad about myself. She is now married and has a 15-year-old daughter herself.

When covid arrived and I got very close to my friends. One of them told me that her uncle had raped her at 17 and I told my friend what had happened to me. My best friend gave me the strength to get through this and talk about it without guilt.

I still cry for little Andy who was cute, curious, smiling and intelligent. I would like to hug and protect her.

A light went out inside me forever after my abuse. My heart will always be broken in some way that I cannot describe.

Yet, somehow, these last two years, little by little I have begun to heal that inner child. I have been filled with affection and patience and I now consider myself a brave person.

After this abuse I did not become a bad person, I still smile every morning, I go to work and when I feel sad I just let the feeling go and I get up again.

I am finally enjoying being a woman again in the understanding that I am a survivor.

Andy Reyes

Andy Reyes (she/her) is a Mexican writer, columnist, and poet. She is a feminist – the women she admires the most are her grandmother and mother. She is proudly Mexican and is interested in psychology and journalism – her favorite hobbies are knitting vests, reading, and making pancakes.

Andie started writing when she was seven years old, with the purpose to understand why she suffered from school bullying, she created a narrative about her experiences at school from the perspective of animals, that is where she fell in love with writing.

Andie likes sunsets, cuddling her cat Mushu and her little dog named Coco.

Andrea (Nea) Valdivia

Andrea (Nea) Valdivia is an illustrator from Lima, Peru based in Melbourne, Australia with a passion for the arts, specialising in traditional and digital illustration, as well as graphic design. Andrea is passionate about using her art to make different statements and she especially loves creating colourful characters that tell a story in an aesthetically pleasing way. She is inspired by nature, animals and people.

Leave a Reply