My parents got divorced when I was 11. Just a year after, my mom remarried to a banker who had an adult son and a 7-year old daughter. His daughter and I got along well, and my new brother was also nice. Months after we moved to our new house in Oakland, we all celebrated as we received the news that mom was pregnant. We were happy.

One day, I got sick and couldn’t attend my sister’s recital. I was so sad since I know they’re visiting my grandma’s place after. Our parents couldn’t miss out on that school activity, and so I was left alone at home with my step brother. I heard mom giving him all the instructions about my medicine and all that. He did take care of me well—probably too well. He went to my room to give me my next dose and set up my blanket afterward.

He then laid down beside me and shared the blanket. We were both tucked in, and I thought he did it to just comfort me and look after me. I was closing my eyes and felt him facing me and gazing intently. I looked to his direction and he smiled then stroked my hair for minutes.

It was awkward because although he’s not the mean type of step brother, he also never did things like that before. He then kissed my forehead and kissed many other things after.

I was weak and could hardly move. I managed to shout and scream no, but the house had no one else but us. He left and came back after an hour or two and did it again. It hurt. All I could ever do was shed tears and collapse inside. When my parents came, my mom checked me out and noticed blood on my sheet. I wanted to tell her the truth. Instead, I told her I had my menarche. She even got excited and handed me tampons. I was thinking about mom and the new baby. I was thinking about how to say the story. That event made me cold for the initial years of my teenage stage. What saved me is the peer circle I was in who was devoted to the church. I became a choir member, and for a time, I forgot that night. Now, I’m still serving the church, and I have somehow healed and surrendered. My life now is peaceful, and I no longer want to ruin it by breaking the long years of silence. I am just happy that I came across this platform and now able to share the story of an awful fragment of my life I could never undone.