What is the biggest secret you've ever kept from your family?

I've never mentioned this to anyone, but I was sexually assaulted by a female relative when I was young. I'm not fully sure how old I was for certain, maybe 5 or 6. The female relative would've been 11 or 12 at the time.

Part of the reason for this is because I blocked out the memories for this for most of my life and only remembered and realised what had happened to me 3 years ago during the pandemic. It sounds silly, but it's like all the pieces were there and they didn't click until one random night.

Piece 1: When I was 13ish years old, I watched The Perks of Being A Wallflower. In the movie, the main character Charlie has repressed his memories of his aunt sexually assaulting him.

Piece 2: When I was 15, a friend told me that she was molested by a male relative when she was a kid. Before she told me, I had a sinking feeling in my chest because for some reason, I knew what she was about to say and I was terrified of her approaching that topic.

Piece 3: Also as a teenager (around 16 or 17 years old), I saw a Tumblr post talking about how some victims of sexual assault are hypersexual as a result of their trauma. Even as a pre-teen, I was somewhat hypersexual, something that carried on until I was 19 (at which point, my depressive slump resulted in the opposite).

Piece 4: When I was 19 years old, I read a story where it was revealed that the main character had lingering childhood trauma from when they were sexually assaulted as a child - specifically when they were assaulted by another child in the playground at school. In the story, he runs into the assaulter some 15 years after the incident and learns that she was also being assaulted at the time but by her mother's boyfriend of the time.

To this day, I can't say what made it all align in my head. All I know is that one night at 2am, I was in my room and then all of a sudden, I realised that, like Charlie in The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I had been sexually assaulted by an older female relative as a child and had repressed the memory for all of these years. The thought of it freaked me out so much that I went to grab a glass of water to calm myself down and then ended up wedged in a corner of the kitchen, crying into my knees as it struck me what had actually happened to me. Somehow, it felt unreal yet inescapable at the same time. Even now, it feels like that. For the most part, I don't think of it much or if I do think of what happened, I feel somewhat distant from it, as if it happened to someone else. And then randomly I'll think "I was sexually assaulted as a kid," word for word and having it spelt out like that will make my heart race again like it did that night in the kitchen.

I haven't told anyone in my life about this. Again, partly because I didn't remember it until fairly recently. But also because of shame. The culture I was brought up in views these things as something to be ashamed of and I'd be a liar if I said that some part of me hasn't internalised that. The community is also quite homophobic (though I myself am not) so the fact that it was female-on-female assault adds to that because I think that would add another layer of horror and increase the urgency to keep things quiet for the sake of my 'honour'. I just don't know if I can ever admit what happened to me to someone else. If I can look my parents or siblings in the eye and tell them what happened to me, sometimes while they were still in the same house. I don't know if I can traumatise them with the truth.

Another part of it is because I'm scared of opening that can of worms. I don't see my assaulter around anymore as she's no longer in my life. But sometimes when I think of her, I remember that story I read where the main character was SA'd by another person in her life and I wonder if my relative was also being abused by someone older than her as she was only 11 or 12 at the time. I'm too scared to find out if she was. I don't want her to have gone through it either, but I also don't like the thought of her preying on me just because she could. The entire thing stresses me out.

There's a high chance I'll delete this comment soon, even if the only reason I made this throwaway was to comment on this ask. I just wanted to admit this somewhere so I can acknowledge it in some shape or form outside of my head. Even if it's only the once.

/r/AskReddit Thread