Had I not been a coward, my niece would still be alive

I never had a normal childhood like other children my age. My cousin started molesting me when I was 10 years old. He was older than me by eight years, so I feared to tell anyone lest they didn’t believe me. He would make me touch him and play with him. I hated it, I wanted to throw up. He would come to my room in the middle of the night.

I never had a normal childhood like other children my age. My cousin started molesting me when I was 10 years old. He was older than me by eight years, so I feared to tell anyone lest they didn’t believe me. He would make me touch him and play with him. I hated it, I wanted to throw up. He would come to my room in the middle of the night.

I was the only girl in my family, so I didn’t share a room with anyone. This went on for years and when I clocked 15, he decided I was ready for sex. He came to my room and took my virginity. When I look back, I think about how I was so stupid; I could’ve raised an alarm. My parents or brother would have come to my rescue.

 

He raped me and told me that he could have me anytime he wanted. I thought I was going to die that night, it hurt so badly. He continued to rape me for three more years.

 

When I was 18, I met a wonderful guy, I’ll call him Geoffrey. He was kind, caring and the only person who seemed like he could understand my situation. I told him about my cousin. He was so helpful, he told me anytime I needed him he would be there. We stayed close for two years.

 

When I made 20, I thought about killing myself so my cousin couldn’t hurt me anymore. He came home one day when my parents were away, using the spare key he had made; he raped me anally so that I wouldn’t get pregnant. I thought the pain before was bad but it was nothing compared to being raped anally. 

Geoffrey understood my grief, anger and misery. He advised me to always keep a knife so that when he comes again, I threaten him but he never showed up again. Life was somehow normal until me and Geoffrey decided to date.  

He was a gentleman at first but then things changed. He started being jealous, hit me and eventually also raped me if I said no to sex. It took me three years to dump him. 

You must be wondering what this has to do with my niece. Earlier last year, my niece (daughter to my late brother) committed suicide after enduring two years of sexual abuse at the hands of a distant relative who was her guardian. During that two-year period, she had tried to convince her uncle to let her come to stay with me but he constantly refused and I travel a lot. I told her that it’s not safe for her to stay alone thinking that I was protecting her. 

After committing suicide using rat poison, we found a suicide note narrating the ordeal she had endured. The monster who raped her has since disappeared. This is the first time I’m sharing this story and I feel that if I had had the courage to tell her my story, she would have confided in me before she found a way to cut her life short at just 16. I could have saved her the pain but I was a coward.

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