How it happened (The first time)

I was seven years old and my family was living in a very small two bedroom house in Pomona, California. We had only been living here for a few months. My mother was miserable and drank a lot, my father was emotionally abusive, loud and hot tempered. There were times when they really tried to make things work, but overall I remember a lot of fighting and stress.

One night when only my mother and I were home, she put me in her bedroom, turned on the tv, and told me not to come out of the room. I remember hearing her on the phone and she was crying. I don't remember exactly how long it was (probably a few hours) before a man opened the door. He was a fireman or a police officer. He told me to put my shoes on and a jacket. I don't remember how I got to the hospital (I must have road in the ambulance) but I do remember the emergency room very vividly.

My mother was mostly unconcious and lying on a bed. I was sitting in a chair nearby. We were not in a room but curtains were pulled to create makeshift walls around us. There were a lot of nurses and I remember many of them asking me if I was ok many different times. I wished they would stop talking to me. At one point my mom threw up a lot of black liquid and then they put a tube down her throat. I didn't watch most of this even though I was right there. I sat indian style in the chair with my head down, I remember there being a loose string on my jacket sleeve and winding it around my finger...I mostly tried to concentrate on that and block out everything around me the best I could.

A nurse told me that my aunt was on her way to get me. There was a man brought into the emergency room later after things had calmed down with my mom (she basically just layed there). He was in some kind of accident and I am almost certain that I remember hearing 'motorcycle'. He was pushed past where my mother and I were and through a slit in the corner of where one curtain didn't quite reach the next I could see that he was very bloody. I only saw him for a split second but I can still remember that scene. For some time after that I remember hearing him not to far away moaning.

My aunt (my mom's older sister) finally came. I don't really remember the ride to her house, she lived in Huntington Beach. I remember being very quiet. I knew my aunt and her family but we were not very close. I was going to be staying with them for a while. I found out later (when I was older) that my mom had overdosed on alcohol and various pills that night. She had been talking to my uncle on the phone (my father's brother) and had told him that her marriage was over and she might as well just end it all. After she got off the phone with him, he called 911.

That night I slept in my cousin's room on a mattress that pulled out from under his bed. He was 10 and didn't really want me there messing with his stuff and getting attention. I don't remember if it was the next morning or the second morning that I was there, but my cousin wet his bed and I woke up to see my aunt changing his sheets and scolding him. He saw me watching and I remember him giving me an evil look and maybe saying something mean also. From that point on he was extra mean to me. I'm not saying I was a little angel either, we did our share of fighting and hitting, but he was bigger than me and always seemed to find something to bother me about.

One day, after I had been there for several days, my aunt and uncle had to do something and leave us with a babysitter. My other cousin (their older daughter) could not watch us for some reason but they got a friend's son to come over. I don't remember how old he was but if I had to guess now I would say he was about 16 to 18. I remember that he was very funny. He played toys with us and gave each toy a funny voice and made it do stupid things. My cousin and I were sort of fighting for his attention and trying to show off. Later we were watching tv and at one point he either asked me to come into the kitchen, or I went into the kitchen and he followed me.

We were in there alone and I was sitting on the counter. I don't remember what we talked about at first but eventually he had me close my eyes and he kissed me. It was closed mouth on the lips. I don't remember being scared or threatened at any point, but I think I was a little I knew we shouldn't be doing this, and I didn't want to get caught/in trouble. He kissed me like this a few times and it progressed to him forcing his tongue in my mouth. I didn't really do anything, just sat there and let him do what he wanted. This all lasted a few minutes. Afterwards the only thing I remember for sure was that he told me not to tell anyone and that it would be a secret between us. I don't think he threatened me and I know for sure that he did not harm me in any way physically. I secretly felt proud about what had happened, because he made it seem like we were doing something very grown up. The idea that he favored me over my cousin was also very satisfying.

I did not tell anyone about what had happened. I saw him again maybe a few days to a week later. There was a barbecue at my aunt's house. I believe it was some kind of church fellowship, but I might be wrong. There were several people over. I remember being alone in the living room because my cousin had locked me out of his room while playing with some kids I didn't know. The babysitter (I don't remember his name) came and sat with me and I think we might have talked and played with some toys for a little while. I don't remember how but we ended up in the garage where there was nobody else. The garage door was open, but we were in the corner and my uncle's truck was there blocking the view to outside. He kissed me again very similar to the first time. He did everything and I just stood there letting him. I remember at one part I had my eyes open while he kissed me and he noticed and told me to close them. I think he might have put his arms around me or on me in some way, but nothing below the waist. Again this only lasted a few minutes and when it was over, I distinctly remember he said that it was a secret and to never tell.

After that I remember playing soccer with him in the yard, but the other kids came and joined. When he left that day, it was the last time that I saw him. I never felt bad about what happened and never really thought it was wrong until I was older and understood better. I think part of the reason (besides being young) that I didn't question this incident was because at the time I was in a very awkward situation, my mom in the hospital, staying with relatives that I was shy around, the way my cousin treated me, and also I really did trust this person and thought he was cool.