Growing up, my mom was always a heavy drinker. Fortunately, I was her only child at the time. She never actually stayed with a man for more than two weeks. As much as she drank, she cared for me and would kill for me. All was good until I was 14 years old and met Uncle Steve.

MEETING UNCLE STEVE

We got along like a house on fire as he had a way with my mom. He knew how to calm her down and even helped her cut down on drinking. Uncle Steve did not drink so it was easy to talk to him. A few months went by and I got used to having him around.

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He was kind and always told me he wanted kids with my mom. It was like Uncle Steve had erased whatever perception of my mom people had. She made rational decisions and I was now not as ashamed of her.

THE MONSTER

Time passed and at the age of 15 I started drinking when I was out with friends. Then one fateful day I came home drunk but Uncle Steve was the only one there and, at first, he shouted at me but then promised to keep it a secret – under one condition.

At that point I was willing to do anything not to disappoint my mom. I was begging him, on my knees, as I did not want to be in trouble. Then he unzipped his pants and told me to perform oral sex on him. Had I been sober I do not think I would have been able to do it.

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After that incident I tried to avoid him but without much success. Whenever my mom was not around, he would sexually abuse me. I constantly lived in fear. He would go as far as threatening my life and that of my mom and their unborn child. He broke me down and inflicted fear in me that I did not even consider speaking out.

At 16, I became pregnant with his child. He was disrespectful to my mom as well and would always speak down to her after their baby was born.

COMING CLEAN

My mom was constantly crying and sad to the point where I decided I had had enough, so I told her everything when he was out one day. To my surprise, she was not even mad at me but madder at him.

We both decided that I would not keep the baby, because it would be a constant reminder. I laid charges against him and he was later found guilty of rape and sentenced to 10 years. My family and I are now picking up the pieces.

My mom and I are not seeing any men now, but we are getting counselling and building our self-confidence. I have not written love off, but I will be more open to it when I am emotionally stable and ready.

*Not her real name