He was like a brother to me

He was like a brother to me

I was around 7 or 8 years at the most.
 All I knew then was that there are parts in our body that "strangers" should not see or touch.

What I came to know later is that most sexual assaulters are people who are very close to you.
He was much older than me, in his early 30s.
His family and my mother's family were very close; he was like a brother to me.
During the summer vacation, I used to go play at their house with the kids my age.
There was nothing to worry about, and I used to spend the whole day with them.
Our houses were always open to each other's families and the children grew up together.

I went over one day and there was no one there but him and his grandmother who was sleeping.
He took me to the kitchen to make me a sandwich.
He sat me on the kitchen counter and started touching me in places that he shouldn't touch.
He threatened me when I pushed his hand away.
He told me that no one should hear us, and that "if they found out, they will beat you".

Back then I could understand that it was improper that someone touches me in those "parts".
 I understood that kisses in films were improper and that it was very "improper" to come near those parts on someone else's body. So, I got scared.
I don’t know for how long I was scared.

I remember not wanting to go to their house again and my parents thought it was strange.
I was frightened they'd know about what happened and punish me.
I was ashamed of myself, and felt that I was doing something wrong.
I couldn’t stand my body, and I was afraid of my parents, as if it was my fault.
I couldn't look him in the eye.
I was too afraid to do anything because he could go and tell them, or someone could hear me.

So, I only used to go to their house when there were a lot of people over or when he wasn't there and I would try to leave before he came.

But I couldn't always escape.
When he used to see me, he'd threaten me and do it all again. Again, I'd get scared and I'd feel that I didn’t want to go over there and my parents wouldn't understand why, and so I'd get even more scared. It was an endless loop.

I can't remember whether this took place over a span of days or weeks, I don’t know.
One day though I was able to break the cycle.
We were all going to their house, and my aunt was sitting next to me in the balcony.
He was inside waving to me so I would come to him.
 I shook my head: no.
He stared at me but I wasn't scared for the first time because someone from my family was beside me.
I held my aunt's hand and turned my face away from him. He never did that again.

I spent years unable to remember that this had actually happened to me.
My mind blocked it completely so I could cope.
It all came back to me though when I ran into him by coincidence.

These things scar you, and they hurt.
I am now 24, and there are horrible details and awful words that were said to me that I remember word for word, things that I couldn't forget, things that I will never forget.

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