Called to Anger

**Disclaimer—real names have not been used in this post

All the Christian communities I’ve been a part of value stories: stories with a dramatic conflict that conclude in tested, steadfast faith. These are important. They show us something about God’s character, and they paint a picture of a world that needs Christ’s redemption. Still, there’s something to be said for incomplete testimonies. For the longest time, I didn’t think my story was meant to be told yet, because it’s far from over. 

I spent the summer before my senior year of high school away from home doing research at a large university. It was probably the first time I was tasked with making friends away from my family, and I met a lot of people. One of them was a brown boy, Adi, who grew up in the same area as me. We had similar interests and spent a lot of time together. At one of my last weekends, he asked me to dance at a university-sponsored formal event, and he confessed his feelings for me. 

At the time, I still wasn’t out to anyone I cared about, but I often got unwanted attention from men. I let him down gently with my default answer: “sorry dude, I’m a curly fry.” He laughed it off.

Later that night, Adi invited me to a party at a friend’s place nearby. A group of us from my research program went out after dark. At the party, I sipped a beer and talked to people I’d never see again about inconsequential things. When I got tired, I sat on the couch with Adi and chatted for a while. Eventually, he left to mingle, and I retreated to my phone. 

Later, an older white man, someone I’d seen loitering around local liquor stores near campus, came to the door. He was wearing a gray Jansport bag and holding a bottle of Hennessy--his ticket in to a college party with a dwindling supply of alcohol. He made his rounds with the younger people at the party. I saw him talk to Adi for a while before I fell asleep on the couch.

I woke up to Adi on top of me, pulling my clothes off. Fighting off entitled drunk boys seemed like an inevitable in this world, so I didn’t think to scream until the party’s newest guest duct-taped my mouth shut with a roll of tape from his backpack. Eventually, the two men took turns r****g me as Adi angrily whispered homophobic slurs. I couldn’t breathe through my mouth, so I focused on fighting back tears so I wouldn’t suffocate. 

Obviously, this experience f***** me up. I thought it was my fault. I’m over that, but I still have a hard time with exposing skin. Three years later, I continue to have nightmares and intense emotional and physical responses to things that vaguely remind me of that night. I can’t sleep on couches. Sometimes, when I cry, it feels like I can’t breathe. I didn’t want to report, and I still haven’t. I live in a country where someone like Adi can be appointed to the Supreme Court. I know that if I told my parents, they would either blame themselves or me. I can’t deal with either of those outcomes. If I told people at my Indian church, they’d pray about the wrong things.

This is important. I’m a queer, female, South Asian survivor, and I’ve never had a way to live as such, all at once, in the South Asian and/or Christian communities I grew up in. Most of the Christians I’ve come out to assume that homosexuality is the central struggle of my faith journey. Some of the people who know about my trauma think forgiveness is. Some of the people at the center of this Venn diagram think I’m confused about women because I’m afraid of men. 

The reality is that I’m very secure in my sexuality. I knew I was gay well before high school. Given my experiences with the South Asian Christian community, I’m sure a bunch of people reading this don’t “agree” with my identity. tbh I don’t really care, but I do ask y’all to think critically about where and who your views come from, who they’re hurting and why, and what they leave out

As for forgiveness, I’m still searching for healing, and it’s ridiculous to ask me to forgive before asking my attackers to repent. What happened to me was an act of homophobia, sexism, and all kinds of hatred. I don’t have an uplifting twist that makes it more palatable. A lot of the conventional wisdom that gets passed to me, the idea that I should remember that God is always with me and that his heart breaks with my own, feels like it’s coming from people who have never suffered. I am painfully aware of God’s presence in my life, that he let these people wrong me. I will never understand why, and I struggle with doubt and anger towards God all the time. Intellectually, I know that God can use suffering to accomplish good and that what he has promised his followers is so much greater, but no one who is hurting wants to hear that. I don’t want to hear that right now. Anger towards oppressors is righteous anger, and I will continue being angry towards the individuals and groups that are complicit in this kind of violence by twisting God’s words and by being less that welcoming to queer folk and other marginalized groups. 

Maybe, years into the future, I’ll be writing about finding peace and comfort in Christ. At the moment, I’m more about letting rage fuel action against injustice. Jesus’s ministry was one of liberation. The Indian church has some stuff it needs to figure out.

Note: Adi isn’t his real name. There are also some other fudged details for the sake of anonymity. I’m doing all right now; I’m receiving professional help, and I have amazing people in my life that show me God’s love in their support and kindness.

My fiancee's older cousin

I had just had a good day off with my fiancee. 

We went shopping and did some gardening. We were dropping off some vegetables at her parents when she saw her cousin across the street. She honked and waved hello. She said something like "he's nice, we don't have to worry about him." I thought this was a weird thing to say, I'd met him once before and he was nice..

He walked up and was immediately inappropriate. He held his hands up in front of her breasts and said something in their native language that I couldn't understand but was like "won't these ever grow?!" and laughed. I found this completely ridiculous but wrote it off as some sort of weird, European, familial humor. She did, after all, just say he was nice and not to worry..

He convinces us to have a drink with him at the bar across the street. We agree. We go in, and not 2 minutes after we cheers, I notice my fiancee reproving him, snapping at him, hitting is arm and saying,"no" and "you're embarrassing me." She told me that he had just pinched her butt. 

At this point I am at a loss. I have never been in this situation before, and I don't know what to do. I'm shocked for a number of reasons. It's her cousin, I'm jet lagged, he just bought us drinks, and she told me he was nice and not to worry. Do I punch him? Push him? I look at him and give him a glance that says "listen to your cousin, she clearly doesn't like what you did." As a typically non-violent, progressive male, I usually default to let the woman handle her body and her battles. She did, but I also felt like she wanted my help. 

I simply said, "That was the last time." and followed up with, "Never again."

Because we don't speak the same language, I felt this was the right thing at the time. Non-violent but clear and direct. However, this was one of those times where you feel like you could have done more. Like I should have had a more severe reaction. However I'm typically calm and contemplative. My fiancee is more traditional than me and I felt like she wished I'd done more, like shoved him or gotten in his face. 

He did apologize and I did give him a look like, "if you ever do this again there will be hell to pay." He took my hand and held it up to his forehead as if to ask for my blessing. I'm pretty sure he knew what he did was wrong. 

Next time I will be even more clear and direct, and make sure he knows. There is no room for this kind of behavior from anyone, ever. 

As a couple who is newly engaged, we have noticed behavior like this in different ways. Family or ex-girlfriends/ex-boyfriends, or even close friends getting envious or territorial at our commitment to one another and only one another. It is an odd and powerful thing. 

My fiancee used to ask me why I don't trust most people. I think she knows now. 

Like everything else, this will make us stronger. 

I know this probably not as big a deal as many of the stories on here, but I'm grateful for a place to share this.

Repressing memories is real. Triggers are real.

Earlier this year I took an upper-divison writing class that had a section involving reading sexual abuse encounters from psychiatrists and writing papers about the clinical side of diagnosing. Our professor warned us early on that this portion of the class may have a triggering effect to those that have experienced abuse in the past, and I never thought much about that. Not until I was thinking one day in class about sexual abuse and I am not even kidding just randomly I remembered. It wasn't even that I had completely forgotten, it was just that I had not thought about this in so long that it was kind of shocking when the memories arose. When I was probably 9 or 10 my cousin who is about 6 years older than me was sleeping over and my mom had set up a roller bed next to mine so we could sleep next to each other. We would always stay up late and just play and talk but this one night in specific she began to touch me inappropriately and started asking if the things she was doing felt good. To be completely honest I remember some parts in total detail but i do not even remember the rest of the night at all. I just remember confusion and not understanding what was happening. I quickly made sure to never think about it again because of how uncomfortable it was. It happened I think some more times and again, pushed it away from the discomfort. I was so young back then...anyway ever since these memories came back to me I cant stop thinking about it. Especially after learning about all the research and clinical stuff of dealing with patients who have been victims of sexual abuse, I see so much of their behavior in me and I never realized it. I experience discomfort when people get to close to me, I still am uncomfortable with my boyfriend even after 7 years. I push people away a lot and tend to be impulsive in decision making to get things over with fast and I always feel awkward. I dont even know what to do now but I do feel so much better just getting this off my chest. Thank you to any one who listened.

Frustration & Confusion

When sexual abuse occurs by church leaders, how does the church respond?

Ideally: Reported to church leaders --> reported to church; Abuser receives counseling and faces consequences (What consequences though?), those abused receive counseling and support; Proactive measures are taken to prevent this from happening again; Counseling given to bystanders on how to report these issues

The Unfortunate Reality: Reported to church leaders, Everything kept hush hush, everyone puts on a facade and avoids the situation, the cycle continues OVER AND OVER AGAIN

What do we do community? How do we respond keeping Jesus in the center of our actions? Are we having these conversations in our churches?

A little bit Different

My story is a bit different. It starts out at the age of 13. My cousins and family had just moved from up north to Houston. They had visited and stayed with us a couple of times, but I had never thought anything of my uncle as he was my dad's youngest brother, constantly someone who was always joking around with the kids, one to support our careless and fun tactics. On one of their many trips, I was running casually on the treadmill, just being a kid, when my cousin pointed out that her dad, my uncle was staring at my butt as I ran. She was only 9 at the time, so her perception of the situation was obviously not as keen as mine at the time, but I was visibly stirred up and immediately got off the treadmill to sit down. I still remember what I was wearing to this day. After they had left to go back home, I informed my parents of the situation and they both disagreed with my uncomfort and stated that my uncle would never ever see me in that way. My dad was visibly upset that I had made such an "accusation" about my uncle, so the topic was dropped and we never spoke about it again. From that day forward, I could literally not walk around in any tops that would reveal my backside- meaning I would by habit always pull my shirt down as far as I could to cover any possible sight. This behavior only became apparent to me as the years went by, which unfortunately led to me questioning the intent of my dad or any other men in my life when posed with awkward or similar seeming situations. 

As time went by, I went to stay with my cousins in Houston, still keeping a keen eye out for my uncle. I noticed that when we would go to the beach or any place where I would wear clothing that was revealing, he would almost often stare at my body, up and down. It was as if he was violating me with his eyes. I grew extremely cautious and never told anyone about how uncomfortable any of this made me feel. 

Fast forward to when I was 19. I had gone to India by myself for the first time, in hopes of learning more about my family and culture, and was staying with another brother of my dads. This uncle of mine is someone I hold close to my heart, even to this day. On one of the days I was staying there, we had needed to canoe across the beach to a family member's house. All of a sudden, it had started to rain super hard and was pouring down rapidly. I ended up standing up in the canoe, and in hopes to catch me, my uncle caught me, but when I looked down, he had caught me and was holding my breast. He immediately apologized and was visibly shaken up and uncomfortable. The rest of the ride and day was quiet to say the least. I wondered if he would tell my dad, I wondered if he would speak to me about it or just in general I wondered what would happen after. At the time I was more of an oblivious minded person, so I again told noone and carried on as if nothing happened. 

Throughout college and from experience after college, although I have never been raped, being groped in clubs and bars by disgusting men and being catcalled has affected me to this day. I never realized how much the things in my life affected me until about a couple of months ago. My mom had happened to sleep with me one night (yes I still sleep with my mom occasionally) and I had dreamt that someone had touched me in sleep. I woke up and subsequently assumed that it was my mother who had touched me. This was an extremely hard pill to swallow, because my mother is my best friend, my protector, one of the absolute most important people in my life. I ended up telling her what happened and proceeded to question if she had sexually assaulted me. My mother, being the amazing person she is stated that she had not done anything but if telling her about this and questioning her was what I needed to do to feel better, she would listen and try to provide her advice accordingly. I told her everything, from both of my experiences with my uncle to being groped various times by random strangers. She was upset I hadn't told her sooner but was very supportive. After some time, I overthought the situation again, as I overanalyze everything habitually, and the fear manifested itself as crazy, irrational thoughts, presenting themselves as questioning the intentions of my parents. For about three months, I kept the fact that I would question if my parents had or ever would sexually abuse me inside my head. I never vocalized it to anyone. It honestly drove me crazy and I was on the brink of suicide as I had convinced myself that the two most important people in my life were trying to sexually harm me, when literally nothing had happened. I truly believe that this was a very huge reason as to why my thoughts became so irrational. Eventually, I opened up to one of my best friends, and she was so supportive and honest. She revealed that she herself has had these thoughts on occasion, but that these were normal, especially based off the past I have had.I was overjoyed that someone was able to relate to me on that level. Everyday since then has been a mental struggle, with struggle being an understatement. 

I am getting better each day with trusting my parents and understanding that their intentions are to protect me and take care of me. Praying and opening up has helped the most as well. With situations involving any type of sexual assault, it's extremely common for victims to transfer fear to people in their life. My parents just happened to be in this chapter of my life at that time and I truly do believe that God re-presented these thoughts so that I could share my experiences for the greater good. 

If there is any advice I could give to anyone going through a similar situation, I pray and hope that you will open up to someone about what's on your mind. Whether it's a family member, a close friend or even a counselor, you never know who may be going through the same struggle as you. Find yourself a good support system and the rest will come into play. I have my best friend to thank for encouraging me to share my story here to help others as well as being there for me through probably one of the most difficult times in my life. I truly hope that anyone who reads this is able to receive the peace of mind they are yearning for and that God will bless you with that.

I Found out he was Back on Campus

There are 4 people ahead of me in line to chat with RAINN, and there are 2 years behind me of pain. What a rhyme for a terrible experience. I thought I could have loved the man who lovingly hurt me. I thought that I cared about someone who broke into my dorm on all sorts of drugs, and made me feel crazy, and we had sex because thats what was expected. I thought it was tender when he wrapped his hands around my throat during sex, during cuddles, during arguments. I thought it was scary when I began to fear being in the hallway of my dorm, and when I had to beg my roommate to not make noise because I couldnt deal with him knocking on my door, laughing. When he was kicked off campus and caught for his drug use, I was ecstatic. I was free. I could never talk about what happened, because he was too popular to hate, but I could go to bed without hands on my throat. I buried the memory of letting him into my bed one last time, and I cried when he told me that I was "always drunk", because I think I understood that being around him sober was ***** awful, and he didnt choke so hard when I just stumbled along.

I was sick when I found out that he was a name, embedded in my nightmares, woven into my psyche. But I knew I would never see him again. Now I know he has seen me, been at the same parties as me, seen me in the library, years later, doing well. And I am back to square one, because I never know when he will pop up.

I survived

It's taken such a long time for me to write this all down. I've been thinking about sharing my story for so long, but the right words never seemed to come out. It's hard to talk about something that's so taboo within our Malayalee community which is why I think it's such a wonderful thing that you’ve spoken out. You're giving people like me a platform and a voice which is something some of us have been deprived of. Thank you so much for your work with ProjectShhh, it means so much to me. You have no idea how many times I've tried to write this down, how many times I've tried to find the right words to finally be free from this baggage that I've been carrying around for all these years. It still stings to think about it
It started when I was six, you know that age at which most children play with Barbies, ride bikes and live a carefree life. My father was an alcoholic; he would get stressed and drink bottles on top of bottles until he was completely drunk. It was during one of these nights that he started touching me inappropriately, of course at that age I didn’t understand what was happening, it just felt wrong. Weeks went passed, nothing happened and I thought it was all over. No, it happened again another night when he came back from work. It was all wrong, it all felt wrong but I felt that I couldn’t tell anyone because it was my father. My father, the man who was supposed to protect me from anything that would harm me. My father, the one who was supposed to set an example for my little brother. My father, the last one that I would ever expect to harm me. I felt stuck, I felt sick and I felt so terribly hopeless. One night I finally mustered the strength to tell my mother, who didn’t believe me and tried to tell me I was overthinking it. I was Six, why didn’t she listen to me? Why didn’t she protect Me like she was supposed to? When she confronted my father, he fell on the floor weeping and claiming that he would never touch his Baby girl like that. I felt ashamed and tried to convince myself that maybe I was overthinking it. My dad didn’t talk to me for months. Then it started again and it the abuse continued till I was 17. Every time I would threaten to tell someone he would laugh and say that no one would believe me. If I wouldn’t let him touch me, he would make my life hell at home. He would give me extra chores, hit me, and would purposely get me in trouble with my mom. I was stuck and there was no one I could talk to because I was ashamed. I started hating myself, I hated the person that stared back at me in the mirror. I started self-harming, it was my way of punishing myself for allowing this to happen. I was in a really bad place, and I didn’t see the point in living anymore but I decided that I would try one more time to have someone save me from the hell I was living. I finally decided I would tell my mother again. I waited for her to come back home and I told her what my father was doing and she let me down again. She claimed I was lying, that my father wasn’t that type of man and that if in any case this were true, I had brought it on myself. How did I bring this on myself? What did I do? What did I say? I felt useless, I felt that in some way this was all my fault. Maybe I had done something to bring this on. I didn’t have a relationship with God at this point because I felt that he wasn’t there. I was angry with him for putting me in this position with no help. I was just a kid, how could he do this to me? I always prayed but there were no answers. My parents got divorced and that’s when the abuse stopped but that didn’t mean all my problems were fixed. 
It was hard learning to love myself after everything that had happened in my childhood, honestly I’m still learning. There were so many consequences that I faced from staying silent for too long. I had become so depressed and ashamed with myself, I had no self-respect. I just had relationship, after relationship to try to prove that I was still worth something. I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. I was let down by the people who were supposed to protect me and it was a horrible place to be. I didn’t want to be alive anymore because I didn’t see a purpose in living.  

Months passed and I started college, and that was where things started changing. It was the fresh start that I so desperately needed. I was on my own, I learned to come to terms with my past, found a great group of friends but most importantly turned back to Christ which was the best decision I've ever made. I've grown in my faith and I'm slowly recovering. Even though I may not understand why he put me through everything he did, I know he had a purpose for it. It’s made me a stronger individual and it’s helped me help other people who were struggling with situations like mine. 
So, my message to anyone reading this is, it gets better. And trust me, I know that’s easier said than done but I am living proof of this. 
Romans 8:18
"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

"Father Figure"

 I have thought about sharing my story since I first came across this website, but it took me some time to be ready to write this... 

I don't remember exactly how many years have passed (probably 10+) since the incident, but I know I was somewhere around middle school age (6th-8th grade, preteen or early teen) at the time. 

I’m American born and raised in a big Indian Orthodox church located in New York. My church had started allowing girls to read the Bible at the beginning of service in an effort to give girls more opportunities to participate in church, since women are not permitted to be altar servers. Our Achen (priest) wanted the girls to practice reading the Bible out loud before actually doing the reading on a Sunday during service. Somehow I ended up being one of the girls who was supposed to be a reader. So my family ended up going to Achen's house one day for a practice reading session. My Mom & I went into a room in Achen's house with him, while my Dad was talking to Kochamma (priest's wife) in their kitchen. I started reading out loud and it seemed fine at first. Then Achen told my Mom that I would probably be able to read better without her in the room since I would have to be prepared to stand alone in front of the church congregation. I don't remember details, but I think my Mom hesitated and then stepped out to check where my Dad was. 

I continued reading, but that's when things started to get uncomfortable. I remember distinctly that I was wearing a white & blue striped shirt with a colored bra underneath. I was too young to realize that the undergarment's color might show through the white parts of my shirt and attract unwanted attention. Also, the shirt was loose so I don't think my parents realized either. While I was reading, Achen took his index finger and thumb and placed his fingertips on the side of my chest. He proceeded to move his fingers outward in order to stretch/press the fabric closer to my chest and see what was underneath. I don't remember exact words, he might have asked "What's that?" referring to the undergarment, but his actions still haunt me to this day. I was too young & naive to understand what was going on, but I knew that it felt wrong and really uncomfortable. All of this occurred within a minute or 2. He stopped immediately when he heard my Mom walking back into the room a few seconds later. 

I remember being quiet on the car ride home because I didn't know how to explain why his actions felt wrong. No one had ever touched me in that way. My family isn't physically affectionate, but if anything - the extent of touching would be a hug or pat on the shoulder. Why did he touch me there? It felt strange. I was so young, but my intuition still knew enough to sense that something was off. Why did this feel wrong? 

I walked back into the house with my Mom and decided to tell her what happened. She immediately regretted leaving me for the time span of a minute or 2 and said that she had vaguely heard stories about Achen before but never knew those stories were true. She believed me and told me to never go near Achen alone again. We told my Dad when he walked into the house, but he didn't believe me. My own father. Don't get me wrong, my Dad is a great Dad & kind person. But he has the typical Malayalee male mentality that priests can do no wrong. He told me that I shouldn't say such things against an Achen, that Achen wouldn't do that, and that we should respect the priesthood. 
My brother was too young at the time, so he didn't believe me either but he is old enough to know better now.

Ever since this first incident, I always maintained a distance from Achen. I tried refusing to go to his house for a Thanksgiving dinner, but my parents still forced me to go because "he's still Achen and we have to respect him." Nothing happened that day, but the fear still remained. 

Another day, he showed up at my house when my parents weren't home, but other family members were there. He ended up coming upstairs where I was at the time and asked me what was written on my shirt across my chest and blatantly stared me down while "reading" the words. That feeling of fear and discomfort went through me again, so I kept my distance and quickly made an excuse to go downstairs to join the rest of the family. I think that this was the day my fear was confirmed. 

Somehow this fear developed into a silent need to protect my fellow church girls, who I see as my sisters since we have all grown up together. I remember a church retreat during the Great Lent where everyone was preparing to do confession. I saw/heard him telling one of the other girls that he needed to counsel her about how to do confession since she wanted to do confession for the first time. He motioned to the side room in our church. Red alarms went off in my head. I was not going to let her go in that room alone. I said I'm coming for the "counseling session" too, so both of us girls went into the room together with him. Thank God nothing happened that day. Seems like he wouldn't do it in front of another person. I don't know what would have happened if she had gone into that room alone, but power in numbers seemed like the only way to protect other women without ruining their faith in a "father figure."

This past summer of 2017, one of my church friends shared her similar experience with me. Her incident was almost 10 years after mine. I was so sad, angry, and disappointed in myself for not being able to protect her. The whispered warnings among the women failed to protect her. All of us who knew about Achen's behavior failed to protect her. The church community failed to protect her. He's still getting away with sexual assault. Why? 

Malayalee society chooses to blame the victim or tell the victim to keep quiet. I still refer to Achen as a child molester when I am angry and my Dad still tells me to stop saying "things like that" or that it happened years ago so I should just forget/let it go/it's not a big deal. It is taboo to accuse a priest of sexual abuse. No one seems to acknowledge the permanent emotional trauma and broken faith that sexual abuse survivors must endure for the rest of their lives. No one wants to be known as the girl who was inappropriately touched by a priest because it makes the girl look "bad." How will victims come forward when this is the prevalent attitude in our society? Please believe your women. Please understand that these are real stories. Please protect your brothers & sisters. Churches should be places of peace. 

I'm not sharing this story to blame all priests. I have met incredible men of faith in older and younger age ranges, who are wise, humble, and inspirational. Yet it is still hard to trust the good priests due to my past experiences. I'm working on rebuilding my faith and learning to trust again. 

Maybe one day I will be brave enough to share this story in a public setting, but this will have to do for now. #MeToo

^^Projectshhh7214 wants to encourage the person that shared her story, this is SO brave in itself! And even if you never shared, we would still think you are brave and strong. Thank you for sharing. We stand with you! 

Hush Hush

 I want to start off by saying that reading the other stories on this site have helped me so much. It shows me that I am not alone and other people in the malayalee community have gone through the same situations. Even with everyone being able to freely share their stories, this is still really hard for me. Im about to be 20 years old and I've struggle with this story my whole life. I've never really told anyone this before, because I've struggled with the truth of the matter and the shame I've felt.
My memory goes back to about 6 years old. I was in kindergarten and I was a happy little kid who loved to play. My family was close to my cousins and we would go to each others house often. My family and I would be enjoying each others company when my cousin who was maybe 11 or 12 at the time would tell me to come play with him in a room. It's hard for me to look back on because I was so innocent, but I've argued and convinced myself that he was too. It was nothing and he didn't know what he was doing. It was nothing. I remember my dad telling me to not go play by myself and to stay with them, but my cousin promised we would play so I went. When I went into the room, he said we could play ball, but only after we played his game. I didnt want to play his game because it made me very uncomfortable. It felt wrong, but he was my cousin right? For so many years, I didn't know what he actually did, I thought it was a game and told myself it was. He said we were playing like a couple and made me kiss him in bed. That was the only way he would play ball later. That's as far as it always got, but it still follows me. I would say I didnt want to play anymore and leave the room. I would go back to my mom and be frazzled and in a sweat because of how uncomfortable I was but I never said anything. I just said we were playing ball. 
I supressed that all these years. It happened maybe 3 or 4 times around that same age, but I started listening to my parents when they told me to stay with them because I really didnt want to go with my cousin in the room. I never told anybody after all this time and I made myself think it was no big deal, but I was also ashamed. Ashamed of what happened and sad because he was still my cousin and what would people think of him too? It especially hurt to not tell my siblings. Now my cousin is happily married and a devoted Christian. He always really kept his distance with the family after he got a little older and so I said that all didn't matter. But I really believe it followed me and still does. I was soft spoken in middle school and was your average awkward kid on the outside. But more than that, I felt ugly and unwanted. I felt stupid and thought I couldn't do anything right. I had crushes but who could see me in that way? I felt suicidal, especially in the 7th grade. I felt like damaged goods. And i still felt ashamed of what happened so many years ago, but I couldnt tell anyone. The 8th grade and high school were better, and I was getting out of my awkward self. The boys I liked actually liked me back for once, a foreign concept to me. But anytime things go almost too close, I ended things. I was and still am afraid of physical interaction with guys. I feel used and disgusted and dirty. The thoughts and fear of touch was always there. I started drinking my freshman year, and did so throughout high school. I would black out at almost every party because the alcohol made me less afraid and I would throw myself on guys. I hated the endless cycle. Of course, no one could know these things were happening in mind or what happened all those years ago. Not even my best friends. I had stored all this embarrassment and couldnt do it. My parents saw me as this perfect angel, when I hated the person I knew I was. Every Indian person around my age was doing all these things and it was hush hush. We party and drink and smoke on Fridays and Saturdays and go to church on Sunday. I felt I never had anyone to go to or confide in, and I hadn't really let God in. 
Then I went to college away from home. It was a really life-changing experience for me because I found Jesus Christ, even though he had always been calling for me. I found a church that wasn't Indian and "hush-hush" and they freely told their stories to help encourage others and empower themselves as Children of God. THIS. This was the leadership and the love of Jesus that I only saw before as fake and not real in my church among the youth, and when I saw college students and their absolute love for Jesus and the truth that they had in Him, I knew that that was what I needed. I was FREED! I gave my life to Christ and now I only follow Him. I don't drink anymore and I see parties in a totally different light now. I see the WORLD in a different light now! But even with all of help and friends I recieved that helped me in my walk throughout my time in college, I still couldn't muster the courage to tell anyone what had happened to me. Even with their stories, which were even more intense than mine. So hear I am, all these years later. I forgive my cousin and I had a long time ago, even though I could never face him with this. I still see him and I act liked nothings wrong, like I always have. And even though I have forgiven him, it still eats away at me. But someday, God will give me the courage to tell someone, and It starts off here. I know it was not my fault and I know I am not alone. And I pass on that message as well. That it is NOT your fault and that you are pure and beautiful and God's child. He can only bring you peace in your heart and show you his real love that no one else can.