My father and mother had separated when I was about 3 years old because my father was physically abusive to my mom. She was a strong woman who’s motto is “No-one should put their hand on you” and so we moved in with my grandmother.
I was raised in an extended family with my Grandmother as the head of our household. My grandfather had immigrated to the United States and therefore she was a single mother raising her 8 children and one grandchild on her own. My grandmother worked really hard to sustain us, she worked at a dry cleaner full-time and worked as a Store Helper part-time. My mother who was the eldest in the family prepared our meals that was sometimes only fried tomatoes and onions with boiled dumplings or rice. My mom got really creative with our meals (maybe that’s why she’s such a good cook).
We were poor but we were happy, our small wooden house was filled with love and kindness. My grandmother who was really strict, would impress upon us to stay home and not go to the homes of our neighbours. Later I realized she was trying to protect her children from predators.
I was an inquisitive, friendly and outgoing child. I wanted to go to the neighbours houses and play. I loved my father and wanted to be in his presence often. It was during one of these outings that I met with misfortune and experienced Child Sexual Abuse (CSA).
I was molested by my father and sexually abused by a neighbour and also by a family member of one of my mother’s employers at an early age. I believe I could’ve been between the age of 5-7 when it happened. I can’t be 100% sure of how old I was. These experiences affected me in ways I didn’t understand. I was highly emotional as a child, I was depressed often but I didn’t have a name for the emotions I felt until I came to Canada.
I would dream of a place where I wouldn’t have to remember what had happened to me, where I wouldn’t have to feel ashamed of what I had been through. I was an excellent student in school, I got good grades, I was well behaved but something was missing. I wanted to get away!