I’ve been labeled a liar for most of my adult life.
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.
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 — who's 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 whore. 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.
At 22, he threatened to kill me if I ever left him.
He stalked me and took control not only of every movement I