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Posts Tagged ‘knowledge’

Kuya.  It’s a word we use as a term of respect for a male older than us, whether they be our family, friends, relatives or strangers.  It’s a word that involves trust, especially when the person is considered family or a friend.

Kuya R.

Kuya R. was one of my first favorite Kuyas.  He was from Manila, handsome, artistahin, had a good sense of humor, & was kind.  I was a 10-year-old girl & felt comfortable sitting next to him listening to him joke around & tell stories to us, his cousins & our neighbors.

One afternoon while he & another cousin were watching TV I came into the room.  He motioned me to come over & he whispered something in my ear.  I didn’t understand what he said but the next thing I knew he pulled me closer & was kissing me on the mouth.  I was only 10 or 11 years old…it felt very awkward & uncomfortable, and I avoided him for the rest of the day.

Several days later, I was sleeping alone on the bed one night when I felt someone lie down next to me.  I think Mama was on vacation at the time in the province, so I was alone on the bed.  I didn’t feel alarmed because I didn’t find it unusual if someone slept next to me, & as I mentioned in a previous blog entry, there were always people at our house, banyo lang ang walang taong natutulog (the bathroom was the only place where there was no one sleeping on the floor).  But this time it was different.  It was Kuya R. who lay down beside me.  I had my back towards him, & the next thing I knew I woke up with him kissing the back of my neck.  I was in shock & could hardly move.  He tried to turn me to face towards him, while  his hand groped my still budding breasts.  “Kuya, huwag!”  I said, and that brought him back to his senses.  I avoided him like the plague ever since.  But there would be times when I would wake up from a nap & he would be there stroking my hair.   Good thing there were always people around so he didn’t do anything more than that.

Years later, when I was 18 or 19, & I told Mama about this, at first she got mad at Kuya R., but then later was mad at me.  She blamed me, then only 10 or 11, for what happened!  I was at a loss for words.

Kuya B.

Kuya B. was one of my cousins who lived nearby during the brief three years we were in Bulacan.  Kuya B. had a great sense of humor, was very good at playing chess, & worked as a bus conductor.  He was short, dark & thin, the physical opposite of Kuya R.

I was around 14 or 15 at the time.  One day, while we were all watching TV, he sat close to me.  I was wearing shorts, & I could feel him stroking my thighs surreptitiously from the side.  I moved further away on the sofa, but he just moved right next to me.  I got up & moved to one of the chairs at the dining table which was within viewing range of the TV & where he wouldn’t be able to follow me & stroke my thighs.  I knew he wouldn’t be able to do that in full open view in front of the others.

After watching TV, Kuya B. told me, “Den, punta ka sa bahay, turuan kitang maglaro ng chess.”  (Den, come to the house.  I’ll teach you how to play chess) “Sige, Kuya, mamaya.”  (Ok, Kuya, later.) I always wanted to learn how to play chess, & Kuya B was very good at it, but I knew he lived alone, & I dared not go there.  I knew teaching me chess wasn’t on his mind.  Over the next several days he kept coming over to the house insisting & asking when I’d come over, but I always said “Mamaya Kuya, marami akong homework eh.”  (Later Kuya, I have lots of homework to do.)  He finally stopped asking me, but from then on I always felt uncomfortable at the way he looked at me & whenever he was around.

~o~o~o~

I was lucky, although these incidents are considered sexual molestation, it didn’t go as far as rape.  And the only reason it didn’t go as far as rape was because I was informed.  But like most things in life, no one told me about these things, I taught myself.

I remember one time when I was around 10 or 11, I was at the library doing some research.  I finished my homework & started looking up things in the encyclopedia.  I was near the age of having my first period so I looked up menstruation.  You know how encyclopedia articles are, at the end of the entries they have cross-references to similar topics, so I read up on the female as well as male reproductive system, then sex, then sexual behaviors, then sexual deviations, & sexually transmitted diseases.  At the age of 10 or 11, I learned what all these things were, and I was grossed out to learn about pedophilia, incest & bestiality, and all the ugly STDs out there (AIDS wasn’t around yet),  but I came away that afternoon armed with knowledge about what is considered sexual behaviors & inappropriate touching.

I tell these uncomfortable stories to drive home a point.  If you’re a parent, you NEED to teach your kids what appropriate & inappropriate touching is, especially if you have daughters.  The overwhelming majority of people who are molested are females – girls & women.  The overwhelming majority of sexual predators are males.  And statistics say that in most cases, the molester isn’t a stranger, it’s someone the person knows & trusts, someone who’s considered family or friend.

So please, for your kids’ sake, don’t let what happened to me, or worse, happen to them.  Teach them what is considered appropriate or inappropriate touching & let them know that they can always come to you & tell you if someone has put them in a situation that feels uncomfortable for them.  To not inform your precious children, to me, is nothing short of negligence.

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