The Story of/by Marial Alvarez
Growing up as a Hispanic female with a Dominican background, I learned early in life that there are two elements that matters in your everyday choice and decision: tradition and society.Today, at 25, I choose to live my life the way I want to live it.

My life, and certain events that occurred, involving being molested as a child until the age of 14, to living in a closet, and not being able to be myself, because it’s not “accepted” in our society, has brought me to be who I am today.

After spending years helping others with the same type of situation as mine, I realized that I was helping everyone else but myself. I was responsible for healing many, but unfortunately, I myself had not admitted that I had not healed… because I never spoke up.

It’s sad that so many people concern themselves about protecting their children from strangers, not realizing that your own blood can be your worst nightmare.

As a child, I was raised in a disciplined household. I was not able to go anywhere where my parents were not present. I was not even allowed to join after-school programs or activities. My mother tried to protect me from the world. Little did she know that I was being hurt and violated in our own home.

It all started at the age of five, when my uncle first kissed me in a very un-appropriate fashion. Then my older brother, for years, used to sneak into my room at night and have his way with me; and after that, my father, then my cousin.

My cousin molested me at the age of 8. It could’ve turned ugly, but I told him if he did not let me go, I was going to scream out for help, so he let go. But he came back years later, when I was 14, trying to touch me inappropriately, and at that moment, when I got the courage for the first time in my life, I grabbed his hand, and told him “if you touch me one more time, I will chop off your hand! Im not eight (8) years old anymore!”

My cousin ended up moving away the next day. Then shortly after that, I asked my mother to buy me a lock for my door. Once I started locking my room at night, thats when it all stopped.

Not going into detail, my life has not been easy. I had never told anyone, living in silence about this taboo. The day I decided to speak up was one time my father molested one of my female cousins. I ran to my mother, and told her what had happened; her response was “quiet, if you tell anyone about this, we are going to have problems.” At the time, and at my age, I was not sure what else I was able to do.

If my mother was not willing to help, why would anyone else?

At the age of 12, the same cousin that was molested by my father was also molested by my older brother. I realized too late that if I had spoken up, or reached out for help at the time, I could’ve saved her and maybe put a stop to the abuse and violation. I could’ve stopped this from happening. I blamed myself for years. I even contemplated suicide so many times because of the life I was forced to live.

My life started changing when I started opening up to others. Telling my story and not being afraid of the outcome, made others open up to me as well. I soon realized I was not the only one going through this. The main thing that I noticed was that everyone that I spoke to had one thing in common… that none of them had talked about their situations, or reached out for help.

The fact that I could’ve stopped it made me realize, that if I tell my story, I still can! That is the main purpose of my video… to tell my story, to show that I am no longer afraid to be me… There is much more detail to my life, but to survive in it, to heal, other than my family, there is just three (3) things that I need:

The courage to speak up, The willingness to be myself, And the belief that I can make a difference….