Shattered Trust: Healing from Cousin Sexual Harassment - Alicia 21
I was invited to a party.
Early last year, I received an invitation to a party from a cousin of mine. The party aimed to bid him farewell as he planned to join a university in February of the same year. The party was filled with great goodies and treats and was truly enjoyable.
We did not get along.
We usually did not get along, so when he invited me to his farewell party, I was sceptical and sensed something was amiss. Despite not communicating for the entire month, he pressured me to visit him at home. Our strained relationship had prevented us from reaching any agreement on the suggestions he made.
Lost track of time
I planned to celebrate and return home on the day of the party. Unfortunately, the party continued until late, and I couldn't return home. Furthermore, I hadn't informed anyone, including my parents and siblings, about the party, so no one knew where I had spent the day. As I waited for the party to end, my father called me. This made me anxious since I knew my father was not an easy man to deal with. I informed my cousin that I had to leave at that time without further delay. Thankfully, he had access to his father's car and offered to drive me home.
Could things get any worse?
However, our journey was interrupted when the car experienced a mechanical failure that needed immediate attention. Despite calling for assistance, the required replacement proved unsuccessful as the necessary items were unavailable due to all the shops being closed due to the time. We had no choice but to wait until morning. The place was cold and dark, and I had been feeling unwell. Additionally, I was in the middle of my menstrual cycle, was excessively tired, and just wanted to sleep. My cousin suggested finding a lodge or hotel to spend the night to overcome these circumstances.
Yes, things can get worse.
When we got there, we decided it was best to rest until morning, but I felt unsafe when my cousin grabbed me on the stomach, attempting to cuddle. I resisted, but he held me tightly and forcefully tried to kiss me. I knew he wanted sexual relations with me, but I firmly refused.
I struggled to defend myself.
I eventually fell into a deep sleep in the middle of the night. I discovered I was naked when I woke up and couldn't comprehend what was happening. My cousin had attempted to remove my clothing to rape me. We struggled, but due to his physical advantage, he overpowered me. He tried to force himself on me, but our commotion alerted the guard, who came to investigate. The guard suspected something sinister was occurring, but my cousin lied, claiming I was merely experiencing a headache and stomachache. The guard, convinced by his story, left us alone.
I got my chance to escape.
An hour later, around 3 am, my cousin received a call from his father, informing him that the car was needed. This compelled him to leave the lodge. He left me alone in the room without assistance, but ironically, it became my escape. I thanked God for my fortunate turn of events, despite being subjected to such a harrowing experience. He intended to rape me, but his plan went awry, and I have not wanted anything to do with him since.
I told my mum about the incident, and she was very understanding. She told me it was not my fault and called his parents, who reprimanded him for his actions. She also took me to a counsellor who supported me through that period, and I discussed what I had gone through with her. I think it is sad that even a family member can be the danger, but I have learned to understand that it truly is never the victim's fault but the other person, the abuser's.