I Was Only Nine - "Why Me"?

My mom was a single mother of two (my sister and I) and she was always working. She would often leave us with a family friend to babysit. We’d grown up with this family so being there was quite familiar to us because we were there often when my mother worked . I remember that one day in particular, when an easy childhood day turned into a horror movie where I was trapped.


While playing hide-and-seek, I was called in the house by my god brother’s uncle.

It was strange that I was the only child called but I obeyed his call. He told me to undress and to go and take a bath. I again followed his instruction. While in the tub, I thought I saw a shadow and it felt like someone was watching me but when I looked up there was no one there even though I could feel a presence. I didn’t question why he’d told me to take a bath out of all of the children, I just thought that’s what I needed. He’d never shown any peculiar signs before for me not to trust him, so again I obeyed.


When I was finally done bathing, I came out with a towel wrapped around me and just as I was about to put on my clothes, he called me again. With the towel still wrapped around me, he lifted me up and placed me on the couch handle. My heart started racing, I was confused and horrified. I’ve always heard of those little girls that had gotten their ‘innocence’ taken away but I couldn’t believe that I was about to be one of them. Why was this going to happen to me? Why wasn’t it happening to anyone else? I had so many questions, but he had no time to answer any of them.


He spread open my legs and started to glide his hands across my thighs. He thought that I would get aroused, but I was only 9! I knew nothing of those things then, I was still innocent. I remember screaming inside “I want to go outside to continue to play hide-and-seek with the other children”. I finally heard one of the children running towards the house door, I screamed their name with a whimpering sound. I tried to yell “I’m in here, come here please”. I yelled three times but no one heard me.


He saw that no one was coming, so he continued. He took his index and middle fingers and pushed them in. He twirled them around and pushed them further inside and out again. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. With tears gliding down my cheek, through the confusion and horror, I couldn’t understand why me.


After he was finished his last words, that will stain me forever were; “one day I’ll lose weight and you’ll want me. If you ever tell anyone what I did, I will kill you.” Why did a 30 something-year-old man want a 9-year-old girl to want him? I didn’t understand it! He was overweight, so maybe he felt that females wouldn’t be interested in him. I don't know...but what gave him the right to take advantage of me the way he did?


I left the house as if nothing happened. But I wasn’t interested in playing anymore. I had been DAMAGED! I couldn’t wait until my mom got off and came to get me so that I could leave that wretched house and his presence. He disgusted me. He was a foul man and I lost all trust and respect for him.


Days passed, and my mom would still take us there. I hadn’t told her anything. I hadn’t told anyone anything. When I went there, he became invisible to me. I avoided him by any means necessary. I didn’t want his nasty hands all over me again. I didn’t want him anywhere near me. Eventually, I told my mom that I didn’t want to go to their house anymore, but I didn’t tell her why. She kept questioning me, but I brushed her questions off, telling her that I’d prefer to stay by my aunt’s house instead.


Two years had gone by and I still didn't say one word of what happened to me until one day when my aunt and I were playing a game of truth or dare. I picked truth. She told me to tell her something that I’d never told anyone before and that’s when I told her. She was shocked. She couldn’t believe that I’d been living with this secret all this time. She asked why I never said anything, and I told her what he had told me he would do if I did. Moreover, some time had passed, who would believe me; I figured they would think I was lying anyway, so why bother.

I pleaded with her to not tell my mom, but she was adamant that she needed to know. She told me that if I didn’t tell my mom, she would. So, I told her. I knew my aunt was not lying, she would tell her if I didn’t. “What!” my mom said. “Why did you wait so long to say something?” she continued. I told her what he had told me he would do if I had said anything. I told her not to confront him, she did anyway.


The following day she went straight to his house but didn’t confront him. She confronted his mother instead, who of course denied it. Her claim was that I waited so long to talk about it so it must not be true. But I repeatedly said that it was. With tears in my eyes, I looked at my mom and said; “it’s true mommy. Why would I lie? Don’t you believe me?” She screamed at me, “if you’re lying, I will beat you!” Just then, I sank. I felt as if the world had swallowed me whole. My mom didn’t believe me. I lost hope in her support as she did nothing to protect me nor defend me. She decided to comfort his mother’s conclusion rather than stand up for me. The one I thought had my back, had let me down at 11 years old.


Was this my fault? My mom blamed me stating that I waited too long to talk about it. But she knew now and still did nothing about it, much less defend me. Yet, she decided to crush me. As I grew older, I forgave him and her. I forgave them for me. But, I'll never forget what they did to me.


Keithra Kathleen


About The Author

Keithra K. Toote-Deveaux

Keithra is a writer, public speaker and an advocate for teenage mothers. A full time University student who's anticipating a bachelors degree in Spanish & French. She's also a strategic planner and event manager who is currently engaged in project management while immersed in the hospitality industry.


Keithra's love for public speaking lead her to become a member of Toastmaster's International where she has served as a past president and has also received numerous awards for public speaking. She also loves being a wife and mother to three beautiful children.


Her favorite past times are meditating, jogging, reading, modeling and enjoying all genres of music.


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