Opinion submitted by Mary Ann Hecita Ren
My heart truly goes out to the 13 year old girl who was being sexually abused [allegedly] by her mother's boyfriend since she was 10 years old.
Reading the article hit me to the core because I know what it's like to go through this trauma.
My heart aches for her because I too am a survivor of sexual abuse by family member when I was 13 to 15 years of age.
I tried to hush and keep it this long but I eventually reached the end of my rope. I had two choices, end my life or run away. I chose to run away and enrolled in a different school.
I was 15 years old when the abused finally stop. It only stopped because I got enough courage to tell my school counselor what was going with me in my home. Right away Children Protected Services was called and arrived. A policeman also arrived and escorted me home to grab all my belongings and placed me in foster care.
At the of 15, I had so much to deal with. I had to deal with the legal issues, putting that family member to jail, school, work, counseling and social life. It was hard. I couldn't concentrate fully in school and counseling was not very helpful.
On top of this my own mother was angry at me, why did I had to report him and put him in jail. We could kept this in the family and resolved it within. Why I had to ruined my family's good name and image? For the sake of my family's last name and image, my mother wanted to hush hush me. But I could no longer keep it inside me.
I hope that this 13 year old sexually abused survivor girl will have strong family and community support as she navigates through the hardship of the legal issues, school, life and etc at such a young age.
Sexual abuse cases is not a new phenomenon in Guam. This happened in my generation and in previous generations. The only different now is that this is being brought to light by local news outlet and social media.
My advice to this 13 year old girl is "Be Strong!" and "Don't Give Up!"
I pray that she will receive the justice that she deserved and get the treatment and healing that she needs.
In my case, although I put the abuser in jail, he was never sorry! He was only sorry that he got reported. I am 42 and I never received a sincere apology from him or from my mom that disowned me after.
This trauma affected me greatly my whole life. I developed depression, anxiety and fear of being rape again. It's not easy living as a survivor of sexual abuse. My prayer goes out to this 13 years old girl that her journey will be easier and lighter than mine. May she be surrounded with love and care from family, friends, and community. And may she shine and thrive as a great example to those that are also suffering in the same situation.