Silence of those who need a voice brought me to share my story. My story isn’t of direct sexual violence I suffered, rather the force of silence.
It was a day to remember during the Winter of 2014 when the truth poured out about the anger my two oldest sisters had been carrying around for years. It all started after a weekend at my father's house. My sister had come back angrier than when she had left. We were sitting having breakfast to celebrate another sister of mine going back to college when our second oldest sister snapped on us. She started to scream at me and attempted to hit me. We were all confused after such an angry outburst, and went our own ways in the house. The oldest went for a walk.
Minutes later we were all called together in a room. The same sister who had had the outburst was crying on the floor and kept apologizing to me and my sister who was heading off to college. She then spilled it out, begging for us to believe her.
“Your dad. Our dad used to molest me. It started when we were a kids and lasted until he left. Then again when he came back. It only stopped a few years ago. I have been having nightmares and I’ve been so angry and scared because I felt like you two knew. I know he did it to our older sister, too."
We both were in shock. We had no idea. This wasn’t real. He hadn’t molested me…he didn’t molest the one going off to college. Is it because we are his kids and they were stepchildren? When our oldest sister came back we all got back together and she then told us she'd experienced it as well. They asked for us to not tell him that we knew. They asked us not to talk about it. They decided not to do anything about it since he has a new family now. He’s our dad and most of all, they don’t think his new family would believe them.
This has created a false belief in my family culture for years and year that it's okay to take advantage of people. To take a piece of them they will never have back. For myself, I am forced into silence after learning this. I have to see him at random family events. My fondest memories were with him as a kid. He was my best friend and now all those memories are ruined. Seeing the ways my sisters have suffered haunts me. Knowing I can’t help them is hard. The unspoken truth and pain in my family is not a new or rare thing.
Trying to write my story was not easy. Am I allowed to break the silence when it's not my story to tell? Am I even a victim? I’m still dealing with it and trying to move forward by educating myself and contributing to the healing of others like my sisters.
This is a beginning, middle, and an end to my silence.