Content warning: Please read with care.
It was windy as I exited my relative’s flat. In that valley, Oahu’s mountain greeted me as I walked on the graveled walk path. I was fighting back tears, containing the sobs as I sat down and watched my niece hang the laundry.
She asked me if I was ok? No, I am not wanted to come out but after years of suppressing, what came out was, “Yeah, just thinking.” And I looked into the mountains.
Once again images of me walking into them and getting lost, potentially starve to death or attacked by a dangerous animal. At least people, my family won’t think I committed suicide. They would not fault themselves that they drove me to it. That it was something beyond their control, for Selina got lost with no means. She could not intentionally do it.
In my hand, my phone face down. On mute. From messages of my mother and siblings.
I had started a series on Facebook reciting abuse I had faced growing up as a child. I wrote to one of my sibling that some posts will be about their father. I understood their response, I overestimated my ability to brace for the onslaught. An onslaught to also protect one’s father, they love them after all.
A friend of my sibling had asked them if they saw my post. That friend had went on to curse my assaulter. That post happened to be about my sibling’s father. It made my sibling ashamed, angry and embarrassed. It was their father after all.
In Marshallese culture, the girls favor the father, the boys favor the mother. You curse or talk bad about a girl’s father, that’s an invite to war. Likewise for the boys and their mother’s. I have witnessed bloody scarred faces because of this.
“Why does everybody need to know about it?”
“Isn’t it enough that you’re already famous, why do you need more attention?”
“Do not compare yourself to girls who were raped. Unlike them, you were only kissed on the fucking cheeks.”
I wrote to them that I pray they never says any of these things to any friends or family members of theirs. For their loved ones will never feel safe around them no longer.
I wanted to tell my dear, hurting sibling. I do not want you all to face what I did and remain silent. By breaking that harmful pattern on top of victim blaming, God forbid if you ever experience it, you will remember what I did and come forth for help. To seek justice. Not carry the nightmares on your shoulders for years to come.
I was 12 then when your father came onto me. I am in my early twenties now but I am always on high alert, sometimes the feeling and memories come uninvited in my days and nights. I spent many years brushing and soaping my lips, bruising it in hopes to wash away the phantom pressure. Crying and punching the cement walls in frustration when the feelings would not go away.
But I did not. They were upset and hurting. Their ability to listen had completely deserted them.
Do you feel better now saying all of that? I ask them instead.