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No more hiding

November 11, 2014 · 

by Trish Kaye Lleone



It took me thirty years to accept what happened to me and to go on full disclosure. No one in my family knew that I was being raped for years until I was 19. But even then, nothing happened so I’d lost hope and thought that I deserved what happened to me. And maybe that I didn’t even deserve to live at all.
I was first molested when I was about 5 years old. My predator was my nanny’s grandson. After that, my biological mother turned me over to the care of my father’s family where I was raped repeatedly for years by a family member. I was young, trying to cope up with being abandoned by my mother, adjusting to a new family setting, coming to terms with the fact that I’m my father’s illegitimate child and dealing with being someone’s ‘play thing’. I was also passed on from one man to another – friends of my main perpetrator.
At age nine, I started dreading coming home from school and staying put during the weekends, so I kept on running away only to be brought back home, whipped with a belt and get grounded. This went on for years, I would run away or come home really late, then get beaten up for being ‘rebellious’ and a ‘difficult child’. No one ever really sat down and asked me what was really going on inside my head. I felt so hopeless and helpless.
I was 12 years old when I started cutting myself. I was desperate to die, but at the same time scared not to see a bright future anymore. In my heart of hearts I was also hoping to reunite with my mother and get all the answers to my unspoken questions. So I cut myself deep enough to feel pain, but not too deep to die. It was also around this time when the rapes had stopped but I could not overcome the horrors of what happened to me. The memories of touching, being pinned down and assaulted remained vivid in my mind. I hated my body, I hated myself, I hated the world at large for its cruelty.
In my teens, I was a walking time bomb, ready to explode at any given point. I started missing my classes, flunking my grades until I got blacklisted from school. My father could not understand what was going on, he just thought I was being stubborn so he resorted to physical abuse to ‘discipline’ me. The truth was, I also could not understand myself. I was filled with hatred and rage that all I knew then was that if I died, no one will miss out on anything.
I was around sixteen years old when my perpetrator attempted two more times to rape me, this time I was able to fight him off. But it was also my turning point. I knew then that he will keep coming back to get me, no matter what, for as long as I lived in the same house. I finally succeeded in leaving the family home when I was 18 years old. I told my Dad about the rapes a year later when he tried one more time to bring me back home, he cried but that was about it. I was told last year that he confronted my perpetrator, but I never received an apology for it so it meant nothing to me.
After a string of failed relationships and a three year marriage that was beset with strife, I met a man who would turn my life around. He had suspicions that I was sexually abused but it took him two years to ask me, when he did I knew I had to tell him, I owe him that much for loving me unconditionally and for standing beside me through all my losses and victories. It felt liberating to tell someone who won’t judge or blame me, more so someone who would love me even more and understand when I go through episodes of rage and world-hate.

Just before my 37th birthday last year, I was able to write my first book “Finding Anna: A True Story of Child Sexual Abuse” under my nom-de-plume Trish Kaye Lleone. When it was released in the market, I realized that it is time to come forward and speak openly about child sexual abuse, be one of the many who are tirelessly working hard every day to bring public awareness about this social issue. But I was scared to go all out in public, because my family still didn’t know I wrote the book. I hid behind a name for months and was very careful about my social media activities, taking great pains in making sure they never find any of my posts or even my book.
Two months ago, my secret was uncovered and to my great surprise, I found my relatives rallying behind me, giving me full support, love and encouragement, pushing me forward and fueling my desire to be an advocate for thousands of other children who are victims of sexual abuse. It was the best birthday gift I have ever received in 38 yearsŠ
So now, here I am talking about the horrors of sexual abuse in full disclosure hoping that more and more people will understand the agony that each survivor deals with every single day. I hope to be one of the many voices out there encouraging victims to come forward and fight for justice, for government authorities to draft better laws to protect every child in every nation against sexual predators. For my country, the Philippines, to pay attention to the plight of many others like me and realize that we need a better mental health care system to help us cope with the psychological effects of rape.
No more hiding. No more shame.
I am Trish Kaye Lleone, a child sexual abuse survivor.

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