READING recent cases of rapes by family members has many people questioning the state of morality. However, what people do not realise is that these cases have been prevalent for many years.

READING recent cases of rapes by family members has many people questioning the state of morality. However, what people do not realise is that these cases have been prevalent for many years.

It happened to me 40 years ago. I can’t remember if I had been raped, as the traumatic memories had been buried so deep in my subconscious mind, but I know I had been sexually molested. Not once, not twice but many times. By my own cousin.

My siblings and I were staying with my aunt then. I remember being brought to a house still under construction by my cousin and told to lie on the floor. He left the room and would re-enter later clad only in his underwear. I remember that I would tightly close my eyes to block out whatever happened. After awhile, he got bolder and even went past the mosquito net covering the bed my sisters and I slept on to molest me even while my sisters pretended to sleep beside me.

We did not dare tell our aunt as we had no where else to stay. We knew that his sisters must’ve realised it, but they did nothing. The walls were thin, even the slightest movement would have been heard in the still of the night. Every night, my sisters would tuck the mosquito net tightly under the mattress, hoping that it could prevent him from getting in. They made sure I slept in the middle, sleeping as close as possible to protect me. But that never stopped him.

We were from a respectable family. Sex was a taboo subject, something no one spoke about. Men in the family were held in high esteem, despite their flaws and perverted character. I endured for months. Thankfully, we managed to get away.

The scars have stayed with me over the years. It has affected my relationships with others. Although I still see him once in a while, I keep quiet as I do not want my mother to ever find out. I may be civil to him and his family, but I still can’t forgive him.

My point here is that the guilty one is not just the perpetrator but everyone else who knows about it and does nothing. My other point is that there is an urgent need to provide support to the victim. It is already traumatic to be raped by a stranger or acquaintance, but it is so much worse if the perpetrator is a member of your own family.

It is the ultimate betrayal.

S.A.

Petaling Jaya, Selangor

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