Hannah’s Story: My Grandmother Refuses to Cut Ties With the Family Member Who Sexually Assaulted Me

When I was 13 years old, my 15 year old cousin molested me over the course of several days during summer break. Out of fear of not being taken seriously or splitting up my family, I decided not tell anyone about my ordeal. However, when four months later I discovered that he had also tried to hurt my younger sister, we decided to inform our parents together. Thankfully, both my parents immediately believed me and despite their obvious shock and distress, they provided my with all of the support I needed. We decided to keep it strictly confidential between my mother, father, sister, my uncle (my mothers brother), his wife and their son ( the cousin who molested me). I was set on not informing my grandmother about what had happened, fearing it would devastate her. I was certain she would believe me and I simply wanted to protect her, as I was scared it would tear our family completely apart. Nevertheless, when I turned 18 (last summer) I decided that it was time for my grandmother to learn about what had happened to me. More family members had been informed about the abuse I had suffered and I could no longer bare hearing her speak so highly of my cousin. Moreover, my mother and uncle had been making sure that I would never have to see my cousin again and my grandmother was starting to wonder why she was no longer seeing us together. I spoke to my grandmother over Skype ( she lives in Paris), sharing my long held trauma with her during a very long and emotional conversation. Sadly, her reaction was not at all what I was expecting. She explained to be that it was impossible for her to cut ties with one of her grandchildren. She continued by stating that since I had not been raped my story was not so bad and that he was the victim because he would have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. She told me that I was brave for sharing my story with her but that she would in no way cut ties with him. Obvisouly this was not the kind of answer I was expecting from my grandmother, who previsouly I had viewed as an independent and proud woman and feminist. Her reaction hurt me deeply in a time where I was looking for comprehension and support. We have not spoked since. I told her that she had to make a choice between him and me and if she would continue seeing him I would break off contact with her. It has now been 8 months, since I’ve last spoken to her.
This weekend she told my mother (whom she has also not seen in 8 months) that she misses me dearly and wishes to speak to me. I am filled with anger and incomprehension regarding her reaction and I do not know how to deal with this situation. How could she surround herself with the man who pulled of my shirt, ejaculated all over by stomach and legs, rubbed his penis over my legs, licked and kisses my boobs, grinded and humped over my body and tried to pull down my underpants multiple times. My 13 year old self froze out of fear and I simply pretended to be sleeping. I literally could not move and suffered the abuse motionlessly. This led to long held feeling of guilt and blame, since I never said “No” or defended myself. How can I make my grandmother understand that her reaction revolts me and that she has made me a victim, again, by supporting my cousin. By staying silent she is helping my oppressor, which has left me emotionally drained and heartbroken.She is making me relive the horror i’ve been trying to get over for the most of my teenage years. I do not no what to do and I’m desperately looking for anyone who could help me make my grandmother understand, that as long as she remains in contact with him, I do not want to see her.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my story and maybe helping me out!

-Hannah

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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