Adelle's Story

Dear Dr.Patti

I'm fifteen years old. I was molested by my cousin for two years, although after reading your stories, I'm not sure if it was considered "sexual abuse" or not. It started when I was ten. I remember the night it started. My mom was out of the country caring for a sick relative, and left just my father and me. My cousin came over, and invited me to sleep over his house. We've done this before, and it was nothing new. So my father let me go. We were planning to go to church early the next morning. So I asked him to sleep in the same room as me. It was a queen sized bed, fit two people comfortably. I didn't want to be alone in such a big house, and I didn't want to be late the next morning for church and keep the whole family waiting. So my idea was, for him to sleep in the same bed as me, and when he wakes up the next morning, I would know and wake up as well. That way, I wouldn't be the last one to go downstairs or whatever. I don't know, from the time when I was little, I was always afraid of being the "burden," so I tried everything to avoid that. That night, we didn't sleep. I pretended to, but I really didn't. He cupped my breasts, and fondled them. It was so awkward, and I couldn't believe what was happening. I didn't want to make things weird, so I thought, "as soon as he falls asleep, I'll leave." After a while, he stuck his hand into my underpants and just kept it there. He rubbed me, but didn't finger me. This went on the whole night. I didn't know what to do. So I just let him. I pretended to be asleep because I felt so awkward. Sometimes he would flip me over on top of him, put the tip of his penis into my vagina, and kept it there. I was so confused.

This went on for two very long years. He was seventeen, and could drive. I remember he came over so often, and even slept over. Everytime he came over, he touched me, but never...hurt me. Does that make sense? He was so gentle with me, and never physically hurt me. I'm so ashamed to admit that sometimes I even enjoyed it. I remember on my 12th birthday, he was supposed to come take me out for lunch. My parents weren't home- they were off to work. His way of celebrating my birthday, was to finger and touch me all day long. Needless to say, that was the worst birthday ever.

He left for college, and we didn't see each other. I`ve told my parents, (took me a while) and have gone through counseling. But I just don't feel completely well. Even after confronting him, I still didn't feel "fine."

My cousin was my best friend. Ever since we were little. I didn't think best friends were supposed to do this to each other. Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) I feel like this is all my fault. I invited him to sleep in the same bed as me. And I didn't say no. I pushed him away countless times, but I never said the word "no." I deserved this, didn't I?

I don't know. I feel so lost.


Dr. Patti responds:


         Your story is a very familiar one. Many girls have had the experience of being sexually molested by a trusted cousin. They feel safe with their older cousin, they trust and know him so they are very cozy with this relative. When a girl does not have a sibling it is often an older cousin who will make her feel safe in the world. I am guessing that you were very fond of this cousin and you also looked up to him. He clearly is a disturbed young man who has very poor character because he took advantage of a very young girl who was not ready to be sexualized. You went to his bed for comfort and you were molested. None of this is your fault. If you are in therapy, hopefully you have learned that sexual abuse is not the fault of the abused, ever. I understand that you did not say "no" in words, but your body said "no". You did not moan in pleasure, you did not pant with excitement, you pushed him away, you pretended to be asleep. In other words, you were not a sexual "partner".

         I am sorry that you were feeling a "burden" and I hope this is something you work out with your family. It is good that you told them and it is also good that your parents found professional help for you. It takes a while to forgive yourself, but you will. You are very young, and you have done everything right for you to heal. You told someone, you got help, and you wrote to me! To answer your question "Did I deserve this?"--- NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OF COURSE YOU DID NOT DESERVE THIS!!!!! You did not ask him to touch your genitalia, you did not ask him to put his penis on you. You just got emotionally paralyzed and dared not attempt to stop him with your strength. You realized that pushing him away would not work, so you tried to avoid him.

         Feeling pleasure is not uncommon when your body is trained to respond to genital stimulation at such a young age. This is true even when that training is forced upon you against your will. Moreover, because your cousin was physically gentle with you, it sometimes felt good to your body even though it troubled you emotionally. Some girls describe this experience as a mixed feeling of fear with pleasure and confusion. Even though your body may have felt good with some of the touching, your mind and your emotions did not. But now you need to learn to forgive yourself.

         Let me know if this is helpful and if you have any more questions. Your story will help other girls.

................................xoxo, Dr. Patti.

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