I suffered from incest by my own biological eldest brother.
One of my cousins taught me that there must be those who are unforgivable in this world. My heart has been so stubborn that it has been silent to the question, “Did you forgive your eldest brother?” I can still hear my heart crying out, “You are my brother. How dare you!!”
I was the fifth child out of six born to my parents. My eldest brother and I were 12 years apart in age. He was not around when I was 4 or 5, going to secondary school in a big city. Between the kindergarten year and the second-grade year in primary school, I suffered incest from him. He would be home during the weekend or on vacation. One day, he urged me to come to the attic with him. And, there, he asked me to take off my underwear and lie on the floor. That was the beginning of him sexually abusing me. After the shameful things he dared to do, he would gently remind me not to tell anybody about what he did to me. He told me, “It is a secret between you and me.” He knew how to molest me even when my parents and my other siblings were around. I was confused, scared, and worried.
Around the same time, one of my cousins also sexually abused me. He and I were five years apart. His habitual and unpleasant touching made me feel sick. So, one time I hid from him when he came by. I felt so scared when I heard him talk outside with my parents. I was only crying to my parents in my mind, “Mom, Dad, he is a pedophile. Do not believe what you are seeing about him.” I could almost hear my heart pounding in that dark place.
The incest, especially by my eldest brother, made me choose to stay deep within my own world. I hated relationships within my family. I was pessimistic about seeking any help to get out of the trap. My sexual abuse made me vulnerable for so long in relationships with others that I couldn’t trust anybody. I was always so nervous and uncomfortable having people around me. I became extremely reserved and offensive or defensive.
After junior high, I started a new life in Seoul and attended a private girls’ high school in the outskirts of the city. My father, who didn’t know what my eldest brother did to me, made me reunite with him. By then, my brother was married and had a wife and two daughters. Fortunately, he did not act inappropriately towards me. I was still extremely uncomfortable and angry with him, and so having to see him every day was torture and severe punishment.
In 2014, I formed a non-profit, One Life One Heart International, in Ames, Iowa USA, to help sexual abuse survivors with their journey to healing and empowerment. I tell them that they do not need to suffer for too long, like I did. Their worth should not be destroyed, damaged, or diminished because of the abuse they suffered. Their life belongs to them and their job is to unfold their potential to the world, revealing who they were born to be.
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Michelle M. Kang
Michelle suffered sexual abuse for decades. She formed a non-profit, One Life One Heart International, in Ames, Iowa, in 2014.