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I was four when a cousin of a cousin
held me tight when nobody was around.
I felt suffocated, felt something was off.
I couldn’t understand what was going on.
He didn’t let go and started kissing me,
shoving his big tongue inside my mouth.
I resisted and tried pushing him forcefully.
Perhaps it angered him, so he rubbed
his crotch against mine, and I shivered.
I peed my pants in fear, and he let go.
I hope he has healed now.

I was eight when a close cousin
started cornering me in the name of play.
He would grab me and sniff me everywhere.
He tried convincing me that it was a game.
“It’ll help us know each other as opponents.”
He knew his game; he made me believe it was one.
Little did I know that it was the beginning of
years of molestation and being toyed around.
I confronted and fought when I was eleven,
only to find out the person wasn’t guilty.
I hope he has healed now.

I was twelve when an elder figure
supposed to protect me decided against it.
I woke up in the middle of a summer night,
alarmed by the weight of an unsolicited body,
with his unsolicited bulge inside my pants.
I froze in fear when he started whispering.
“Let me rub myself against you for a little while.
I promise I don’t mean harm, nothing more.”
I numbed as he pleased himself and soon left.
I tried taking my life that night but survived.
I hope he has healed now.

I was fourteen when on our way to the bus stop,
a guy flashed his penis to my friend and me.
I was sixteen when a classmate would call me
and say obnoxious things to me for his thrill.
I was seventeen when a guy chased me home
as I was on my way back after writing an exam.
I was twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four
twenty-five, when several hands and bodies
discomforted me in public transportation
as if I were a dummy for perverted pleasures.
I hope they have healed now.

I was twenty-eight when I got groped
by one of the males from a group I passed by.
In a second, what I had bottled all these years
came by flashing- the traumas, the suffocation,
the disgust, the rage, the existential angst.
I confronted them, summoning all the hurt
my past selves had to bear for their existence.
After first, grinning at their shameless feat,
the perpetrators eventually asked for forgiveness.
They weren’t guilty but fearful of the police.
I hope they have healed now.

I am thirty and still living these horrors
more often than not grappling with someone
overstepping my boundaries- as if I am an object
and not a living, breathing, longing, and loving being.
I am thirty and I still am at the receiving end of hurt
because someone decided to gain pleasure out of it.
I am thirty, and I wonder how many more such
experiences I will go through so long as I am alive.
My only hope is for these people to see how hurt
they are, to hurt others at the whims of their wants.
I hope they heal.

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