it was time to confront my cousin

Arriving to my grandma's for my family's most recent visit, I suddenly knew. I knew it was time to confront my cousin. It took me days of silently practicing exactly how I was going to start the conversation, and of convincing myself that I truly wanted to do it and that I would be proud of myself afterwards. On Christmas, with little time left before the family would gather together and open our presents, I went to my cousin's room with my heart banging in my chest and asked to talk. I told him that, many years ago, when I was maybe 9 years old, in the same house where we were, we had found ourselves alone. He had embraced me and then had thrusted his pelvis on my body. We had looked at each other and then he had left. I told my cousin that that was the first time someone violated my boundaries and touched me sexually without my consent. I told him that I assumed he didn't remember the event (he didn't) and that I wasn't looking for him to apologize for what he did. I wanted to tell him because 1) if it's something that I'm going to carry with me forever, I want him to also know that it happened and 2) I hoped that it could serve as a reminder that we all, especially men, need to stay conscious of respecting the boundaries of others. He apologized, we sat in silence for a while, and then I walked out of that room feeling, frankly, empowered.

-E.G.


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