Did I say yes?

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We’re cousins. You started to touch me when I was 5. I never asked you to. I never said yes. I tried to swat you away, but you kept going. Every summer I’m forced to sleep in the same bed as you. You reached your hand up my shirt and held my 5 year old (non-existent) chest while you slowly pulled down my shorts. I tried to push you away but you wouldn’t stop. You’ve always been stronger than me. I should’ve screamed. I should have told someone. I never said no… does that mean I wanted it? Does that mean I consented? Was it actually rape?


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56 comments

  1. lizzi

    No, you did not say yes. You don’t have to scream, fight, or even say no. If you don’t consent, it isn’t consensual. What happened to you was wrong, and it was not your fault. Your cousin should not have touched you in any way. This doesn’t mean you wanted it or that you consented. Sometimes even if you try to scream while something is happening, your body just shuts down and lets it happen. Pushing someone away is a sign that you aren’t okay with it, and that should’ve been the end. I’m so sorry for what happened to you, and I’d thankful for you posting and sharing this part of your story with us. It’s understandable to feel confused by what happened. But know that it’s not your fault. That we care about you and support you. And that if you want to share more about what happened, we’re here for you.

  2. snandi2 Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us here at AVFTI. I’m sorry that you had go through such a traumatic experience at such a young age and you absolutely did not consent to your cousin’s advances. Just because you didn’t say no doesn’t mean that you consented to his behavior. Please continue to post updates to your story and we are here for you!

  3. Shari Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I want to praise you for your bravery for coming forward. I know it can be painful, but this is a step towards healing. I want to validate your feelings and say it’s not your fault. You did not consent and you were 5 years old. You did attempt to push them away. Please do not blame yourself. Your family is supposed to protect you, they are not supposed to cause you harm. Let it be known that we are here for you to support you and encourage a path of healing. We welcome you to share your journey with us. Again, thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Sending love and support,
    Shari

  4. meg Volunteer

    Hi Unkn0wn!

    Thank you for sharing with us your story. I want to start immediately by saying that what you experienced is an intense trauma and however you need to define it, that is your own to choose.. But no, you absolutely did not say yes even if you didn’t say the word “no” out loud. You did not consent. You were five, at that age there is no way you would have been able to fully comprehend the situation. Plus, you did push back and deescalate the situation which is incredibly brave. If you go into our Find Help tab and click on Books, there is a link for a book titled Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse that may be helpful to read. It may help you find that you aren’t alone in what you experienced and coping mechanisms to help you heal and move forward. Please continue to share with us. Know that AVFTI is always here for you. We believe you. We care about you.
    -Meg

  5. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi there unknown!
    I am so glad you came & shared! Sharing our stories is a scary step, but such a powerful statement. It shows that you are stronger than you may think & more courageous than you may believe. I believe when someone shares their story, that alone is a giant leap forward. Sharing also brings a freedom. The more one shares, the easier it becomes. Please don’t blame yourself for not screaming! As far as you not “saying no”, how could you? You were 5, so how could fully you comprehend what was happening? I hope you understand that he was wrong & you done nothing wrong. It wasn’t your fault! You survived. Now, brave warrior, fight for you! You deserve to hold your head up. I believe these thoughts you have are perfectly normal & I can certainly understand. I hope you can find peace as you heal you! Each day is a new day, so take it one day at a time & be kind to yourself!
    Dawn

  6. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello Unkn0wn,

    Welcome to AVFTI. I see this is your first post. It’s great to have you here, and I’m really glad you found out about us. First off, I want to thank you for your bravery and willingness to share your story with us. This takes a lot of courage. I’m so sorry to hear about the things that happened to you. The popular phrase that people like to mention about consent is ‘no means no’ but in reality, it should be ‘yes means yes’. You are not at fault for anything here, as someone who was so young its not your fault at all. I hope you feel this to be true, because it is. Consent involves, as mentioned earlier, saying yes, not the absence of no. Also, for someone who was so young how could you know what consent was? It’s very brave of you to share all of this with us. I hope you read our responses and feel them to be true, because we are here to support you.

    Thank you so much for coming by and I hope you know that you can come back at anytime to share more.

  7. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,

    thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so glad that you did. I am very happy that you found our website. We are here for you. I second what has been commented below. http://www.rainn.org is a great website that can help you determine how you classify your experience. But please know that the classification is not the most important thing. Just because you were not able to say no does not mean that you wanted it. It is a very normal reaction to an experience like you had to not be able to fight back. What happened is not okay, but what is most important is you and how you feel about what happened. You are NOT at fault. I am so sorry that you had to experience this. We believe you. We are here for you.

    Sending you support,
    -Natalie

  8. rohina_kumar Volunteer

    Hi,

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this awful experience. You did not deserve to go through this and I hear you. To answer your question about whether it is rape or not, here’s a website you can visit – http://www.rainn.org

    Moreover, you do NOT need to blame yourself for not screaming or telling anyone. This was not your fault. Giving consent requires a person to explicitly say “yes”, which you did not do. That being said, thank you so much for coming on here and sharing your story. I know it must have been hard to do so. We are here to be your constant support through any emotional trauma you’re going through. Always remember that you are not alone. All the love.

  9. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I am so sorry what happened to you. It can be difficult to grow through what happened to you and know it wasn’t your fault.we are here for you and truly care.

  10. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    I’m so sorry about what happened to you. What happened was not your fault. It can be difficult as memories of these traumatic events begin to resurface to distinguish feelings surrounding it all. I find it helpful to remember that the definition of consent is an enthusiastic yes, not merely the absence of no. Please feel free to explore our resource tab. There are many wonderful organizations that may be local who can help you navigate these uncertain feelings. You are always welcome to share here as much as you need to. We believe you, we’re here for you to offer as much help as we can.

    All the best,
    Becca

  11. haesol Volunteer

    Hi, unkn0wn

    I am sorry you went through that awful experience. Not giving consent applies even when you don’t say anything. For consent to exist one must say it explicitly, staying quiet is ambiguous and in no ways should be taken as a form of consent. If you felt like you didn’t want it, that it made you uncomfortable, unsafe, and violated, then it is abuse.

    You were really young, there wasn’t much you could have done in the situation, but that doesn’t mean you deserved it or were guilty about it. You didn’t deserve to have your boundaries be trespassed without your permission, you didn’t deserve to be touched without your consent, and none of it is your fault.

    However, this is your story, it’s your experience and no one else’s, so it’s up to you to categorize and label it as you think it’s best. You went through that situation but you are here sharing your story with us, and that is a monumental thing. You’re very strong for coming out of that alive and bravely share what happened to you.

    Thank you for trusting us with your story, we are here to listen and help at the best of our abilities, and support you through your journey of healing.

    Stay safe,

    -sol.

  12. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Even if you didn’t say no with your words, the body language you’re describing signals that you did not want what your cousin was doing to you. I know it’s hard to resist thoughts and feelings like you could have done more to prevent this, but you did not cause or deserve this. You did the only thing you needed to do, which was survive this abuse. This is your experience so you have the control to label it whatever you think fits best. We’re here for you if you need help processing what happened and healing.

    KatherineL

  13. brookeallnutt Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. None of what happened is your fault, and I’m sorry that your cousin didn’t listen to you and respect you like they should have. Just because you didn’t say no doesn’t mean you consented. Like the others have said, there are some resources under the Find Help tab if you want to check those out. We are always here for you if you want to talk.

  14. ceriselc Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for having the strength to share this story with us. It’s normal for people who have suffered abuse to struggle with notions about what they “should have done” during or after the experience. It if perfectly understandable that you did not choose to do any of things you mentioned, especially as a young child and a relative of your abuser. Your response does NOT mean that you consented, or that you are in anyway at fault for your own abuse. Your actions, your feelings and your ways of responding and coping are all valid. Dealing with childhood trauma and abuse within your own family can be incredibly difficult, and I wish you all the strength on your journey moving forward. Thank you again for sharing.

  15. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you when you were little. Know that what happened to you is in no way your fault. You never gave consent for this to happen. You never said yes and you physically tried to stop your cousin which shows a clear No. You could still tell someone if you want to. You don’t have to verbally say no for your cousin to know what they did was wrong. You didn’t consent. We have some resources here (https://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org/help/) if you want to try and talk to someone. We are always here for you!

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  16. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    I’m sorry that happened to you. You don’t have to say no. Your cousin should not have behaved the way they did. That behavior is never okay with a child. You were just a child. None of this is your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. It is wrong to take advantage of children. Period. Children can’t consent, anyway. But in general, a lack of a “no” doesn’t equal consent. Consent needs to be affirmative, where it is clear both people want to participate and there is no coercion. Please let us know how else we can help. A great start would be to look at the “Find Help” tab for additional resources. You are so strong and you can get through this. You are not alone.

    Thomas

  17. musicislove

    Hi Unk0wn,

    I’m so sorry you went through this. Just because you didn’t say no, doesn’t mean you gave consent. You were too young to even give consent and your cousin should not have taken advantage of you. You didn’t deserve to be hurt, especially not like that. None of what happened was your fault and please don’t be mad at yourself for not screaming, when a traumatic event is happening sometimes our bodies freeze to protect us. Telling your story can be scary when you don’t know how people will react, you should tell people when you’re ready. Are you safe now or is this still happening every summer? If it is maybe you can sleep in someone else’s room so you’ll be safer? Thank you for trusting us with your story and please come back any time you want to share again, we’re always here for you and we believe you.

    Delaney

  18. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi unkn0wn,
    I’m so sorry this happened to you. When you are that little you don’t have to say no. You shouldn’t have to experience what happened at that young age. Your cousin should have know that what they did was wrong and that they shouldn’t have done that to you. This is not your fault. Please don’t blame yourself. Your cousin should have known to not touch you as a cousin and minor. Have you told anyone is your family what happened? If you didn’t it might be a good idea to talk to someone you trust. If you don’t want to you don’t have to. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. Continue to stay strong. We are always here for you.
    -Alyssa

  19. colton95 Volunteer

    You don’t have to say yes or no. Your cousin should’ve realized how uncomfortable that horrific act made you feel, and if your cousin did realize and did it anyway, he or she is a truly awful person who deserves to go to hell. I’m really sorry that your cousin assaulted you and touched you without consent. I hope that things will get better for you and that someone in your life who genuinely cares for you will be there or will continue to be.

  20. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey there, unkn0wn,

    I’m glad that you shared this with us. We’re here to be a community where you can always talk, and I personally know how hard it is to share your story. We believe you.

    An absence of a “no” isn’t consent. Sexual abuse occurs when there isn’t consent. Only you can decide how you want to describe what happened to you and what words feel most comfortable, and that’s a difficult thing to sit with. In the end, the label you decide fits best can always change in the future. We’re here to give you a place to be heard.

    We have some resources that you might resonate with in our “Find Help” section! There’s some info on therapy, nationwide and state-by-state community resources like, books that talk about survivor experiences, etc. And again, we’re always here if you want to share your thoughts!

    Be kind to yourself today, and we’re here when you need to talk.

  21. Breanna Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for coming here to share with us. I’m so sorry for what happened to you. Consent is actively communicating “yes” and this cousin should have respected your swats and pushes away that his behaviors are unwanted. It was not your fault. What’s often left out of discussions of “fight or flight” is “freezing”, which is just as common as fight or flight. Freezing is a very common response in traumatic situations, especially when someone violates you after you make it clear that you don’t want it. You were defending yourself and saying no when you were swatting and shoving him away. It was not your fault. You didn’t deserve this, and I’m so sorry. Please let us know how we can help and support you. We care about you. Coping and healing from trauma is tough, but you can do it and we are here for you.

    Sending you love and strength,
    Bre

  22. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. You were a child. Your cousin took advantage of your trust and you absolutely did not deserve for this to happen to you. As others have said, please try not to blame yourself. Sometimes, when we are in traumatic situations, we respond by “freezing.” This is a totally normal reaction to trauma. Are you safe now? Are you still sleeping in the same bed with this cousin? Would you be able to sleep with someone else?

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I am so glad that you felt safe enough to share here with us. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you. There are a lot of resources under our “Find Help” tab that may be beneficial for you. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  23. Neesha Volunteer

    Hello unkn0wn,
    You were five, to young to consent. Five year olds aren’t sexual unless someone else has sexualized them, it is absolutely not your fault. Being sexually abused and not screaming or telling someone is normal response to trauma. Thank you for sharing your story with us, you are not alone. We are here for you, as you continue on your path of recovery.

  24. Nichole-SW94 Volunteer

    Hello unkn0wn,

    First of all, I am sincerely sorry for everything you have been through. Especially having to deal with such a thing at an early age. You had your trust broken which is not okay especially it being from a family member. Nothing that this cousin did was okay or your fault. No one deserves this. The five year old you did nothing to bring this upon yourself. You did not ask or consent for this to happen and there is absolutely no reason it should have happened. The absence of words does not give consent. Your actions such as you pushing them away is a clear sign of not consenting. Not saying no does NOT mean you want something.

    I am sorry this person made you feel unheard, disrespected, and weak. Please realize you are none of these things. For sharing your story today, this is the bravest and most honest thing. Everything you share here will be heard with open ears and hearts and we pour out our respect to you. I hope your sharing has made this burden slightly easier to carry. Is there someone you feel comfortable talking to more about this? Things that happen to us as children are very hard to understand and sometimes get buried when we get older. I think talking to a therapist or even finding a support group can help you answer your questions. There are resources on the Find Help tab that can direct you to these places. There is also RAINN which has more information. The website is: http://www.rainn.org and the hotline is 1-800-656-4673. However, this is your own story to share with whoever and whenever you are ready. Thank you for trusting me to read it. You are never alone during this journey!
    -Nichole

  25. rainedprieto Volunteer

    Unkn0wn, you don’t deserve what you went through. No one deserves that kind of pain and confusion. But please don’t blame yourself for not doing anything about it – victims aren’t the people to blame. In fact, you’re already incredibly strong for coming to terms with what happened to you at such a tender age. I hope you know how much this community is willing to support you through your healing process! We hope you’ve found, and continue to find, your capacity for courage, strength, and healing.

  26. Monty Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,
    I am so sorry that this happened to you, this is absolutely not your fault. It is okay that you have never told someone, everyone reacts differently to traumas like this and it is an amazing first step into your recovery process that you decided to share your story with us. You don’t have to physically say no to show that you aren’t consenting, he had no right to take full advantage of you. We are here to support you and I hope that you can soon take more steps to your recovery.
    Monty 🙂

  27. Hugo Volunteer

    Hey Unkn0wn,

    Thank you for sharing and trusting us with your story. I hear you, what you went through was not okay and you did not deserve any of it. No you did not consent to any of it, at that time a 5 year old cannot process the good and bad things that goes on around them. Your movements did all the talking and it clearly shows you did not want any part of that. Have you considered talking to a professional? I recommend you do as it is a great step in your healing process. You will gain strength and you will get better! Please let us know if you need anything, we are here for you!

    -Hugo

  28. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi unkn0wn,
    What happened to you was not your fault, and you didn’t deserve it. Not saying no is not equal to giving consent. Since you were a child, you could not have given consent. I wish they hadn’t taken advantage of you, and they are at fault. Please don’t blame yourself for not screaming or not telling someone. When we’re in traumatic situations, sometimes our body reacts before our mind does (fight, flight, freeze, fawn, etc.) in order to protect us. It’s also not easy to tell someone what happened, especially at a young age. At that age, we might not understand what happened (so we might not know how to explain it). It can also be distressing to relive those memories when telling someone, and we may not know how people will respond. Your story is valid, and you can tell people at your own pace.
    Are you safe now? Is there any way you can sleep next to a different family member in the summer or avoid meeting with this person? I can’t imagine how exhausting it feels to keep seeing and interacting with this person. You don’t deserve to feel unsafe, especially around family.
    Thank you for trusting us with your story – it takes a lot of courage to share. We’re here to support you in any way we can. Please write back if you need anything from us, and you’re not alone.

  29. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear unkn0wn,
    Thank you for trusting our community with your story. What happened to you was not your fault and your inablility to undersand what was happening or stop it from happening does not mean you gave consent. Are you safe from this person now?
    I hope that being able to tell your story in a safe and supportive place helps you on your healing journey. We are here for you whenever you need write things out. Our Find Help tab has a variety of resources that you may find useful. Others have referenced the Crisis Text Line and RAINN. RAINN is a wonderful resource because it has a lot of information, a hotline, and a webchat specifically for those who have been affected by sexual abuse/assualt. The website is: http://www.rainn.org and the hotline is 1-800-656-4673. Please be sure to take care of yourself and to reach out if you ever need help. You are not alone in this.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  30. ryannlashea Volunteer

    Hi, I am so sorry this happened to you. None of this was your fault, he shouldn’t have taken advantage of your trust in that way. You were in no position to give consent at the age, and even if you were, no consent does not mean yes. Thank you for trusting us with your story.

  31. Kailey Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,
    I’m so sorry this happened to you. No, you didn’t and couldn’t have consented you were only 5 years old. What happened is not your fault in any way. I’m sorry they didn’t stop, do not blame yourself. Thank you for trusting us with your story! We are here for you and if we can help in any way please let us know!
    Kailey

  32. hina.jawaid Volunteer

    Hi Unkn0wn,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am sorry that you had to go through this. No, you did not say Yes. You didn’t know any better. you were only five. A five-year-old cannot tell the difference between good or bad. Please don’t blame yourself for not screaming or telling anyone. If you ever need someone to talk to, text VOICE to 741-741 to speak to a trained counselor. I hope you feel better. We are always here for you and we understand your trauma.

    Take care

  33. Starling Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry that you had to deal with this. You didn’t deserve this and it wasn’t your fault. Just because you said no does not mean you consented to what happened. You tried stopping them, and you couldn’t have consented at that age. I’m sorry that they did not listen to you or respect you. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  34. CarmenR Volunteer

    Unkn0wn,

    I first want to start by saying that I am so incredibly sorry for what you have been through. You didn’t deserve it and it wasn’t your fault. Just because you didn’t say no does not mean that they had consent. You tried to get them to stop, and I’m sorry they didn’t listen. You are not to blame here. Please know that we are here for you, and we support you. You are not alone. Is there anything we can do to help you? Stay strong.

    Carmen

  35. rachelb098 Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, I am so sorry for everything that you have been through. It must have been terrifying and devastating to have to keep sharing the same space with him every summer after what he did to you. Please know that you didn’t deserve this, and none of this was your fault. I can’t imagine how exhausting this must be to carry on your shoulders, and you have true perseverance for dealing with this as long as you have. If you ever need someone to talk to, text VOICE to 741-741 to speak to a trained counselor.

    Wishing you have a peaceful day.
    -Rachel

  36. Rustin Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for sharing. This had to be difficult to share. It sounds like you have a lot of questions and are looking for answers. Just because you didn’t say anything doesn’t mean you consented. There’s more to it than that and I’m sure that you know that in your gut. It might be a good idea to go through and read some other experiences that have been posted. I suggest this because you may relate to some of them. This place is a great sounding board and we welcome you to come back and process anytime!

  37. Lex Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. You did not deserve this at all and it was completely not your fault. Just because you never said ‘no’ does not mean that you gave consent. Giving consent does not just mean verbally saying ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ you tried to swat them away, which is a clear physical movement that indicates that you did not want your cousin to touch you. Do not blame yourself for any of this happening to you! Stay strong!

    We are always here for you! Please come back to share with us anytime!
    – Lex

  38. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    First, I want to say thank you for coming to share with us. I am so sorry for what your cousin did-you did not deserve what happened, and it wasn’t your fault. You were a small child, incapable of consenting to anything that involved your personal boundaries being crossed. No one should do that to you. Please come back to share with us anytime.

    Erin

  39. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear unkn0wn,

    I am so sorry that you had to endure this abuse from your cousin at such a young age and deal with the trauma of his/her actions for the rest of your life… I cannot imagine how difficult it has been for you to process these events throughout your life. I just want you to know that this is NOT your fault and that by you never verbally saying yes or no does not mean that you wanted these things to happen to you. At the time, you were a child. Children have no concept of sex or what sexual acts mean, at 5 you are not even going through puberty yet- and even when we do start to go through puberty it can be such a confusing time for us because we do not fully understand why we have these urges or feelings just yet. Consent comes in many ways, not just verbal. You swatting away is a clear indication that you do not want your cousin to be touching you in that way (or at all). I am under the impression that your cousin may have been older than you as well, which is an indicator to me that he/she more than likely knew what they were doing and that it was wrong on multiple levels. Secondly, this was a member of your family. This type of manipulative and abusive behavior is never okay, but especially from someone within your own family. Someone that you may be around frequently, doing family stuff together with, etc. in your case being forced to share the same bed. This seems like it should be such an innocent act, as perhaps maybe the adults in your family thought the same thing- 2 cousins sharing a bed, what could go wrong? You should be able to trust your family and enjoy being around them, not terrified of them and wonder what is going to happen every time you are with them.
    Don’t blame yourself for not telling someone about what happened, these kind of situations are complex and can be quite complicated when the abuser is someone within your family. The fear of your family members not believing you, being forced to still be around this family member after you come forward, etc. are all normal worries and concerns for someone in a position like yours. Regardless, we can and will be your support system if you need us. We will always be here for you and always believe you no matter what. If you ever need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Sending love and hugs your way <3 You are strong. You are brave. You can get through this.

    – Jordan

    – Jordan

  40. avahalliday Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It shows a lot of bravery being able to open up about this.

    I am so sorry that this happened to you, especially at such a young age. This is something that nobody should ever have to deal with. What happened to you was not your fault and you did not ask for it. The blame here falls entirely on your cousin.

    You might try checking out the “Find Help” tab up top to discover resources that may help you find clarity and comfort on your journey to healing. We are always here for you too, if you want to share more. Wishing you love and support <3

    Ava

  41. smarti14 Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn!

    I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you. In no way is what happened to you your fault. You are so strong and brave. Often during times like such, our minds and bodies shut down and we do not know how to react. Just know that whenever you need people to hear you out and comfort you, the AVFTI family will always be here for you. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Stay Strong!

    Warm Regards,
    Suzy M.

  42. zelda Volunteer

    Welcome to AVFTI, unkn0wn. ????

    I’m sorry to read about what happened to you when you were 5 years old. The trauma you went through is heartbreaking. Please understand that what happened to you is not your fault.

    You are not to blame.

    It’s important to remember that at the time of those events, you were 5 years old. Even if you had said yes, it would still be considered child abuse. You can’t legally give consent to anything sexual when you’re just a child. Also, not saying no doesn’t automatically mean consent. Rape, abuse, and assault can all happen even if a person never says, “No,” “Stop,” or “Help.” An absence of no can be just as powerful as an absence of yes.

  43. Kevin Casey Volunteer

    It was not your fault you do not know what was going on we are always here to help you out the only questions or need anything always here avfti

  44. pvb Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    That does not mean you wanted it. You were too young to understand or even begin to comprehend that someone so close to you could do something like that to you. You are not at fault. You are only now starting to understand your experience. I am sorry that this happened to you and I am more sorry that you feel you were in the wrong. It is common to place blame on yourself when thinking about this situation but please do not for one second think that you are to blame. We are here for you to find those things that will help build you up from this rather than bring you down. We hear you and and we stand by you! Please keep sharing with us no matter how little or small it may be. Stay strong!

  45. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    Unknown, I’m so sorry you had to go through. What happened to was completely wrong and worthy of punishment. You did everything right, did not give consent. Your cousin deserves punishment, but we support you in whatever you want to handle this going forward. Emotional support through therapy is a great option. Talking to an empathetic person close to you can also be helpful. Please keep coming to us. There are options going forward and we want to help you pursue the one that is best for you.

    Ryan

  46. aegardiner Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for reaching out here and sharing your story with us. Please don’t blame yourself for what happened. You did not do anything wrong. You did make your intention known when you swatted your cousin away. What your cousin did was wrong and you absolutely did not consent just because you didn’t provide a verbal “no.” I know reflecting back on it now there are things you wish you would have done like screamed or told someone, but don’t beat yourself up over that. I think it could be a good idea to talk to someone about everything you have been feeling lately. As previously mentioned, there are resources to find help in your area on the toolbar above. Please do take care of yourself and reach out back here whenever you need to. Everyone here supports you and wants the best for you!

  47. Dayana143 Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,
    can I just say that none of this is your fault. you never asked for any of this to happen, and you pushing away was enough. he should’ve stopped. It does not mean you wanted it, and you were so young. Your consent was never given, and for that none of this is your fault. I’m so sorry you experienced this, and I want to tell you how strong you are for coming to share your story. I admire you for your strength, and we are always here to listen to you.

  48. Solongago Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Even if you did say yes, because you were not of the age of consent, it is still not ok, so no, just not saying “no” does not mean you wanted it, nor does it mean you consented. At five, you cannot consent.

    I am sorry that your cousin did this. I am sorry that your parents did not protect you. It was not your fault. How we responded to a situation in the moment may have been exactly what we needed to do at that time and in that place. Of course, as an older teen or adult, when we are not in that situation, we may see things differently. That is because we are applying a much more developed brain that is not in the middle of a terrible situation, to a problem. At five we don’t know if we will be punished if we tell, we do not know if we will be thrown in prison or beaten or shunned. Often they told us they would send us to “The Jones’ Home” (always in an ominous tone) which I think was an orphanage. But at five, we don’t know what will happen if we tell.

    If you are not speaking with a professional about what happened, because that can be helpful, but if you aren’t, what might be helpful is to pick out a 5 year old girl, who you know well, and think about what you would think of her, if what happened to you happened to her, and she responded the way you did. [I know, long sentence.] It is almost impossible for us not to apply our own adult brains to the things that we did as small children, but when we look at our niece at that age, or our daughter, or the neighbor’s child, and we think about how we would feel if someone attacked her and she “allowed” it, we can get a much better understanding of our own behavior. [I know, long sentence.] We have to sometimes work at being as kind, patient, accepting of ourselves as we would be anyone else.

    I hope telling your story has helped you be more clear about it. Thank you for sharing.

  49. nessa1695 Volunteer

    Unkn0wn,
    I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. Don’t blame your self for what happened, you did not give him consent. It was very brave of you to share this with us and you should consider looking through our “Find Help” tab, maybe something will interest you so you can work through your emotions. I know dealing with this is difficult to deal with so don’t hesitate to keep sharing with us and hopefully we can aid you through your healing process.
    Take care and stay strong
    -Nessa

  50. JWorks Volunteer

    Any sexual experience that occurs without mutually agreed consent is rape. You never gave consent to him, regardless of your inability to defend against his actions. You shouldn’t have to blame yourself for what happened. It wasn’t your fault. What your cousin did to you was sickening. Stay strong and come back again if you need to talk.

  51. Amysue43 Volunteer

    I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. You didn’t deserve it nor was it your fault. What he did to you was wrong and he knew that at the time and probably still knows that. You were so young that by default, you could not consent along with the fact that you all were cousins. He took advantage of the circumstance and it’s entirely his fault. Just because you didn’t say no (or yes), doesn’t mean that it meant it was okay. Again, I’m sorry that this happened to you. We are here for you and I hope the comments reassure you in that you are strong and that this instance does not define you!
    Stay strong <3

  52. jna0297 Volunteer

    Hello unkn0wn,

    Fist off, thank you for sharing your story with us. We are here for you and you did nothing wrong. In my opinion you did not want it, you did not give him consent and they crossed your boundaries. What happened to you is very wrong and whatever you feel you want to identify this as you can, its your truth and nobody can tell you different. Be strong and fight through the unnecessary nonsense. Thank you again

    Feel free to check out our “Find Help” tab to see if there are resources near you that may help you work through these experiences. Or if things get too emotional Text “VOICE” to 741-741 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor.

  53. Jay Volunteer

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, and I am so sorry you had to go through this at such a young and even at all. You didn’t deserve what happen to you and do not ever think you were in the wrong for anything. What your cousin did to you was unacceptable and should have never happened. Silence is not consent, remember that. Please continue to share your feelings with us and know we are here for you!

  54. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi unkn0wn,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry this happened to you. You didn’t deserve that treatment. At 5 years old, you cannot consent to anything like that. Your cousin disrespected your boundaries and that’s not ok. Like Ashley said, silence is not the same thing as consent. Feel free to check out our “Find Help” tab to see if there are resources near you that may help you work through these experiences.

    Please take care of yourself and take things one step at a time. You’re so brave for posting. Stay strong!
    Marissa

  55. adrian Volunteer

    Hi, unkn0wn- It was strong of you to reach out today and express what happened to you in the past. Sometimes our actions can not prevent something from happening to us, even if we really don’t want it to. You didn’t do anything to deserve this. You do deserve a place here and you deserve to be heard. I hear you now and I hear the hurt in your story. You are not alone. Take care of yourself while you explore how this affected you and continues to affect you.

    If you are interested, I found this toolkit to be helpful: https://bit.ly/TSDC_res It provides a lot of great information on how to take care of yourself, how to move through your feelings and grief, and additional information, especially during social distancing due to COVID-19.

    You are brave to tell your story.

  56. Ashley Day Captain

    Thank you for taking the time to come forward with your story, unkn0wn.

    Your cousin had no right to disrespect your boundaries when you were a child. This shouldn’t have happened; your cousin shouldn’t have placed you in a situation where it felt necessary to attempt to make them stop.
    According to RAINN, “rape” is defined as “sexual penetration without consent” (https://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-assault). I would look further on this website to gain an understanding of what you experienced because legal definitions vary state-by-state, so it’s difficult for us to place a definite label on what happened. However, please know that the absence of “no” doesn’t mean “yes.” Since you were under the legal age of consent, there’s not a way you could have provided consent as a child.

    We believe you.

    Ashley