It Started When I Was 3 Years Old — What It's Like To Endure A Lifetime Of Sexual Abuse And Domestic Violence

I am tired of being called a liar.

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I’ve been labeled a liar for most of my adult life.

Why? I’m not sure.

There have been things that I’ve said that are lies, yes, but I’ve never lied about the important things.

The events that shaped me and made me who I am today are things I don’t talk about openly because I don’t want to hurt the people closest to me, namely my father. But these things are true and have always been true.


No matter what type of mud or dirt people try to brush over it, the truth stays the same.

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When I was 3 years old, my older brother asked me if I wanted to play a game.

He proceeded to instruct me to pull my panties down and sit on his face. The tickles have disturbed me ever since.

My older sister walked in on us and pulled him into the closet of his bedroom. They came out a few moments later with him saying, "It’s her fault." He was talking about me.

Two weeks later he began "playing" with me regularly, often rubbing his penis against my young vulva, avoiding penetration until he climaxed all over me.


That was when he wasn’t forcing me to give him oral sex and asking me if I liked it.

At 6, I prayed I wouldn’t be impregnated by my brother while sitting on a toilet in my home after hearing news of a 5-year-old Peruvian girl giving birth to a boy.

That same year, my mother moved our family to a different town. On our way there, I tried my best to invoke the devil so he could possess my body and I could be killed by that evil.

This was my young mind's resolution to ending the "games"... which lasted until I was eight.

When I was 9 years old, I was tricked into showing my private parts to a group of girls and boys.

They then began to whisper the words "crazy" and “slut” about me around the neighborhood. Later on that year I tried running away from home, made it down the block, then turned back — afraid I would be forced into prostitution like another girl I know.


Still, that was the first time I voiced my desire to die, even though no one could hear me.

When I was 13, my mother’s friend came by the house with her husband. He couldn’t stop staring at me.

I felt odd, and even more so when he was shocked to hear my age.

“It’s a shame you’re so young,” he whispered as he walked passed me.

When I was 14, I kissed a boy at school after classes let out.

His hands wandered to my breasts over my shirt and I tried to make him stop, but he didn’t. It wasn’t until his friend told him to leave me alone (after watching us for a while first) that he finally stopped.

At 16, I told my sister about our brother.


She told me she knew about it but didn’t tell anyone because she was afraid our mother would kill him.

It was then that I first remembered she had also participated in the "games."

Later on that year, our mother passed away from AIDS-related complications.

A few months later, I had my first consensual sexual experience with a boy I liked very much. He was a few years older than me, but he was kind and sweet, and protective.

I told my older sister that I liked him and she mocked me for it. She said he only liked me because I was fat and that was what he was into, that there was nothing else I could give him because I was dumb and ugly.

When he took me out to dinner a week after our first time having sex together, I behaved rudely enough to him to scare him off for good.


When I was 17, my abuser confronted his own abuser — our uncle — whose response was to become angry about the fact that I had lost my virginity to my brother.

He then set rules that I couldn’t be alone in the house with him, and soon after he kicked me out because he didn't want me to have a "bad influence" on his daughters.

My status as a non-virgin meant I was sexually active, and, therefore, most likely a slut.

At 18, I moved away from home, got my first apartment, and started to date.

Like many young people, I dated a lot. Especially because it was then that I first discovered that I was actually attractive.

The weight that I purposely put on to keep people away was melting off from all the walking and working and being too poor to afford good food.


It was at this age that I also entered my first serious long-term relationship.

One day when I called my grandmother, she suddenly told me that I should never call her again.

She said my sister had told her what I had been up to. That I was a w****. That I’d been sleeping around with so many guys that my sister didn’t know who I was living with (even though the apartment I lived in was my own), and that I had a (non-existent) STD.

My grandmother told me she had already called my father, who I later learned went crazy and almost killed my cousin in a drunken dispute.

It was then that I stopped talking to my entire family.

At 19, I was raped by my boyfriend who told me I couldn’t say no to him since we were in a relationship.


I lay there motionless — almost lifeless — until he finished. I cried in the shower for hours after he left my apartment. And I convinced myself that he was right.

At 20, he forced me to have an abortion and refused to pay for birth control after.

He forced me to have four more abortions over the next two years.

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At 22, he threatened to kill me if I ever left him.

He stalked me and took control not only of every movement I made but my finances as well. When I finally challenged him, he hit me for the first time. He said it was because he loved me.

A few months later I actively tried to take my life by swallowing a whole bottle of sleeping pills. It wasn’t until I heard a voice say, “It’s not your time yet,” that I called the ambulance that took me to a nearby hospital to pump my stomach.


The counselor at the hospital asked me if I would ever do it again and if I was safe at home. I lied about the first question — there are still days when I think about taking my life.

I went home and the manipulation escalated. The abuse evolved into mental and emotional torment as he continued to rape me, even going so far as to force me to have sex with him in front of other people.

I finally left him when I was 24.

It was then that I traveled to Europe for the first time. On my first day there, I was welcomed by a Dutchman masturbating under an overpass in the early morning hours as I was out for a jog.

I couldn’t turn back since going through the forested area was frightening. I sped up my pace but still heard him ask me if I wanted to give him a blowjob. I was jogging that morning, but I've never run faster in my life.


When I was 25, I told my dad about what happened to me as a child.

I told him exactly what his son had done, and responded by telling me he didn’t want to talk about it.

It’s been 13 years now, and we still haven’t spoken about it.

At 26 I was followed home from the train station by a taxi driver.

He kept on telling me he wanted to drive me home, to which I responded that home was only one block away. He drove his car up the sidewalk to block my path.

I ran around the car and sped up the block into my building, closing the door behind me as he banged on the door while calling me a stupid slut.

At 27, I was raped by my then-roommate, who had claimed to be gay.


I was drunk and wallowing in my own misery after a botched date. I don’t remember anything after laying in his bed for comfort.

After I moved out of the apartment he told my then-best friend in detail about the incident and she called me a whore for drinking and sleeping around. She forbade her boyfriend from ever being around me when she wasn’t there.

At 28, I finally learned to love myself and realized that everything that happened to me wasn’t my fault.

It was then that I began my mental, spiritual and emotional evolution into forgiving all those people who had done something irrevocably wrong to me.

That didn’t mean I was going to allow any of them back into my life. I just wasn’t going to be angry at them anymore.


When I was 29, one of my aunts told me to "get over" being sexually abused and rebuild a relationship with my brother.

The same brother who verbally assaulted me every time he contacted me.

She told me I should leave the past in the past and try to have a relationship with my sister as well. The same sister would be upset whenever she called me at the last minute to do something for her and I would say no.

Who would also spread lies about my life after every single one of our interactions?

But it wasn’t until I gave up on trying to be the “good girl” who pleases everyone that I was officially labeled "The Liar."

I was lying about being sexually abused by my brother and by my sister.


I was lying about everything else that happened to me, because why would all those things happen to someone so worthless?

I was lying about having my own place because there was no way I could live on my own without the support of a man.

I was lying about everything.

What I honestly was, was angry. For a very, very long time.

In my anger, I destroyed myself physically. I nearly drank myself to death. I destroyed relationships and didn’t (at least, immediately) apologize for my role in doing so.

I was the worst person I could possibly be, and unapologetically so. I broke many hearts as I treated people — especially men — like dirt.

I didn’t trust anyone. I refused to let people touch me or hug me until I said it was okay for them to do so. During my anger, I did the most ridiculous things to myself and to others.


And I didn’t give one s*** about anything, because I wanted someone to be angry enough to kill me.

When that didn’t happen, I tried my best to run away from everything and became an aggressor toward every romantic partner I found. Everything had to be my way and on my schedule, especially sex.

It was because of this, I think, that none of the relationships that came along even after I stopped being so angry worked out.

I was lied to, cheated on, and left without any explanation.

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At 36, I tried to speak up about my incest and being raped, manipulated, emotionally, verbally, mentally, and economically abused.


But I was told to put my writing away because it was childish — not gruesome enough to share with people, not raw enough to make a difference.

I was further advised that I should get over that experience from so long ago.

Now, at 38, I’m not angry. Not anymore.


I rarely talk about the things that were done to me, but I do speak up about injustices toward others.

I’m quick to jump on that soapbox and voice what others refused to voice on my behalf when I was abused. When I find myself in a physically threatening situation, I will physically fight back, and I will do so with all my strength. Regardless of who is threatening me, it’s become my automatic response.

There are moments people tell me I radiate peace and love, and that always surprises me, because I’m just trying to live.

There are times when I get random messages from strangers on social media trying to "be my friend" because I’m "so pretty" and I don’t trust them.


When I’m walking down the street, men catcall me. They make sexually explicit remarks when I’m alone, trying to mind my own business.

Still, I don’t get angry. I just tell them to go f*** themselves.

Yet, I’m a liar, although I never was.

Not about what’s really important. Not about any of this.

At this age, I don’t blame my brother for sexually abusing me when we were both children, but I do hold him accountable for his actions, actions that he still refuses to admit.

He prefers to tell people that I don’t talk to him because I blame him for raping a random girl, or that I don’t speak to him because I think I’m better than him, but the truth is, I don’t speak to him because he disgusts me.


His constant verbal attacks. His mentality. The way he plays the victim and refuses to admit to being the victimizer.

Still, I don’t blame him for what he did to me.

I do, however, blame his abuser for starting this mess.

For treating me like s*** and throwing me out in the street at such a young age. For being an a*****e and refusing to admit his actions as well.

I DO blame my ex-boyfriend for constantly raping me and sexually exploiting me. For nearly destroying my spirit, to the point that I attempted to take my own life.

I DO blame my former roommate, who raped me when I was drunk.

I DO blame that taxi driver and the random guy who chased me into my apartment building.


I hold the men I once loved accountable for leaving me, for cheating on me, and for lying to me.

In the same way, I hold myself accountable for all of the wrong things I've ever done to others when I was angry.

Still, I refuse to be labeled "The Liar." And I will continue to confess my truth.

Anyone affected by sexual assault can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a safe, confidential service. Contact The Hotline or call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member.

There are several options in case you or someone you know needs help to deal with an immediate crisis. Call 911 if you think a family member may harm themselves or others. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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Alex Alexander is a pseudonym. The author of this article is known to YourTango but is choosing to remain anonymous.