But we fought for justice and we achieved it!
Trigger warning: The content include graphic reference to sexual abuse and assault
I ALMOST GOT RAPED WHEN I WAS FIVE.
I remember everything. Every piece of it.
It was a usual Saturday morning for me and my family. When I woke up, my sister was not at home. I volunteered to look for her. I went to Tita (Aunt) Nita’s house (a family friend), just a few minutes away from our house.
When I got there, I saw their worker Ryan and asked him if he saw my sister. He said that she was at the back. That house was like a home to me, so I immediately went inside to look for my sister but she was not there. Then, Ryan grabbed me and locked us inside the comfort room. He tried to pull my shorts down telling me that my Ate (sister) asked him to wash me.
In my innocent mind, I know there was something wrong. I told him I want to go home, pushing his hands, blocking those so he couldn’t touched my shorts. Then I heard my sister’s voice, calling my name. I took that opportunity to push and to kick Ryan. I ran and unlocked the door, rushed to my sister’s arms.
Few days after, I told my mom what happened. We sued, unfortunately he was also a minor. He was 15-year-old way back then. My family forgave him and both party agreed to send him home to their province with the agreement that he should never set his feet in Bulacan again.
Now, I’m not telling this to get your sympathies. This one is for every woman, every girl out there who were sexually assaulted.
This is for my niece who was raped by her step-father. That beautiful baby I raised as my own. She’s so brave that I feel like I am nowhere near her courage. She endured the pain of not telling anyone what’s going for a long time to protect her family.
When she finally had the opportunity to speak up, she stood up strong. At her young age, she fought fiercely inside the trial court. For a victim, it’s a torture to look back but she did it in front of the crowd, inside the court house (it was part of the trial procedure for a minor to stand as a witness for her case). And that moment, I know she’s a warrior.
Even though we were with her throughout the years of this case, I know this was not enough, for this was a battle only she can win and she did! Her abuser is sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
To my niece:
Love, I am sorry that it happened. I know that words are not enough, for that, again, I’m sorry. I want you to know that you’re the bravest person I know. You endured not to speak for a long time because he threatened your life, your mother’s life, and your siblings’. You braved all of these to protect them. I am nowhere near with your braveness and your courage.
After all the traumatic experience you went through, I badly want to give you a fresh start. To take you away from here for you to start anew. But I’m an adult who earns so little, whose selfish enough to pursue her dream and passion instead of having a stable job. I don’t have any savings to give you, for that I feel so useless. Please forgive me.
You didn’t seek for vengeance but you fought hard to achieve justice, and couldn’t be more proud.
Baby girl, I hope someday you can forgive me, us, and the world. Please know that we love you and we will help you to get through this.
To every rape victim out there, speak up. There are people who care for you, who love you, and who will protect you. No one can understand the pain, no one. But I want you to know that you deserve all the love in world and that you have my respect for the rest of my life.