It is currently 2:00a.m. My child and fiancé are sound asleep in our bedroom, but I'm stuck at our kitchen island after an hour-long breakdown in a scolding hot shower. For some reason, I seem to think that showers fix everything... news flash: they don't. I'm a 22-year-old female on a very rough ride to peace. I have come a long way, but I still have so much farther to go. I hope this story lets others know that they are not alone. Instances like mine should not be so common. The chaos started when I was 8 years old. My childhood was completely ripped away from me in a matter of 30 minutes by someone I thought I could trust. My little brother and I were watching tv in my older half-brother's room. We were sitting on the floor and just enjoying each other's space... until my older half-brother patted on the bed for me to sit up there with him. I did what he asked because obviously the bed was going to be more comfortable to sit on than the floor. Before I could truly comprehend what was going on, I could feel my face burning a bright red color. That's when I realized a part of me was being touched that should not be touched by anyone. I immediately whispered to him, asking if I could use the restroom. He slid his hand out of my pants and let me use the bathroom. No 8-year-old should ever have to feel what I felt standing in that bathroom while looking at myself in the mirror. What was I supposed to do? My parents weren't home. I couldn't just run outside and tell a stranger. I can't tell my little brother... who's been sitting in the room with us the entire time. I did the only thing my young mind could think to do and that was to pull my pants up as high as they could possibly go. Unfortunately, that didn't stop him. He didn't stop until he whispered in my ear, asking if I wanted him to stop. I couldn't speak. I only nodded my head. I continued to sit there next to him as if nothing had happened. How stupid of me. I didn't tell anyone for two years. I was scared. I thought no one would believe me. My parents found out that he had been keeping drugs in our house, so they kicked him out. I finally got the courage to tell my mother. The first thing she said to me? "Are you sure?" Hah. Great. My mom thinks I would lie about this? I reassured her that I was sure and that I was serious. She immediately took me to the doctor, but what were they going to do? I waited two years to tell anyone, so we hired an attorney... and so begins the next chapter of chaos. This entire situation put my father in hard place, as we were both his children. My mom did 100% believe me, and I do think that her first reaction was out of shock. I remember being relentlessly questioned by various detectives and attorneys - like, to the point where I was questioning if I really do remember everything or if it even did happen. I can't tell you how many times I told my story. The same story. Over and over and over. I was tired. I was losing my mind. I was 11 years old at this time. I was still a child. My family had always been extremely close, and I felt like I was the reason everyone was fighting and hating each other. I had always been very close to my grandmother and grandfather... but, they ended up hiring an extremely good attorney for him. Everyone's relationships with each other were being burnt at both ends... because of me. So, what do I do? I wanted to stop the hate. Stop the chaos. I wanted to try to live a semi-normal life even if it meant I had to make severe sacrifices. At 12 years old, I decided to drop the charges. The state tried to pick up the case, but I had a breakdown and simply asked them not to because I just couldn't go on like I was. At 22, I have a lot of anger towards the little girl that chose not to continue on with the charges. I'm upset that I chose to sacrifice my happiness and peace for everyone else's. I'm angry that I still have to associate with him and act like nothing ever happened. I'm hurt that many don't believe me because I did choose to drop the charges. I am absolutely livid that I may never have peace. To this day. the only person that I know 100% believed me is my mother. I really think that everyone else assumes I got angry with him and just decided to come up with this disgusting story to try and get even... but, I was not an angry child. I didn't even know what was happening to me while it was happening. I didn't really even know it was such a terrible thing until I mentioned something to my best friend 2 years after the incident. I am trying to heal. I truly am. I wish that someone would have told me how much ugly crying is involved. I wish I didn't have to heal, honestly. I wish events like this just didn't happen. This is just one story out of my book. This is just one abuser on my list. If I can't heal from this one - the one that happened over a decade ago... how am I supposed to heal from the rest?