I sat on my bed holding my stuffed giraffe. I could hear my mom's soft snoring from across the hall. My alarm clock read 1:42. I sighed and lied back down on my bed, hoping to get back to sleep

He used to hold me down... to show me he was stronger.

I rolled over and stared at the moonlight streaming through my window.

I hadn't thought of him in so long. Not since that summer when I was eight and my mom was thinking of marrying David.

I bit into the giraffe's ear as I tried to stop the tears.

'Hey Ginger, you want to play a video game? Come in my room'

I whimpered and rolled over again.

He was so much taller than me it seemed.

'You can't beat me Ginger. I only let you win in a fight, But if you hit me again…'

Every Friday night, Mom and David would go on a date leaving us in the house until the next morning. He was in charge.

"Stop it Ginger, you can't let yourself go back there." I whispered to myself as I turned to look at the ceiling. I pulled my comforter up to my neck and closed my eyes.

"You know, you're my favorite. I don't think you're mean at all. You're nice and really pretty"

I thought I was special, because he was into me and he was older.

Why didn't I know it was wrong?

'Okay, let's play a game.'

And to think that I loved him. I was so naïve.

He kissed me under his comforter. The room was dimly lit by the lamp and his power ranger sheets were soft, crisp and clean. They smelled like laundry detergent.

I struggled against the memories. I didn't want to give into the waves of nostalgia and bittersweet memories. I whined out loud as the memories flooded my system.

'Come sit with me on the loveseat Ginger, Let's watch some cartoons.' He said and I crawled up onto the navy blue loveseat. I curled onto his lap and he kissed the top of my head'

I had to tell someone, I had to get it off my chest.

'I love you, you know that right. I love you' he whispered.

I slid off of my bed and slipped out of my room. I padded softly downstairs and made my way to the garage. The room was dark, lit by a very soft light being emitted from his nightlight.

'Someone might hear us.' I whispered and he shushed me.

'No they won't. Everyone's asleep.'

"Zeke?" I spoke softly and he stirred looking up at me.

"What are you doing in here? It's like two in the morning." He spoke groggily.

"I can't sleep. Can I stay the night in here?"

"Go back to your room buswax… wait are you crying? What's going on Ginger?"

"Nothing I just can't sleep. God, do you have to badger me?" I whimpered and he sighed before getting up and wrapping his arms around me. He sat on his bed with me on his lap.

He began to kiss me, centering me on his lap. His nails snagged in my hair and I groaned. 'Be quiet ginger. Our parents are in the other room,'

"I just want to sleep." I murmured and he laid me down on his bed. I curled into fetal position with my giraffe clutched to my chest.

If you didn't know any better, is it still rape?

That thought was the one that haunted me the most. I didn't say no. How could I have, I didn't know any better. I didn't know brothers weren't supposed to touch you. I didn't know it wasn't okay to kiss them. I didn't know what was going to happen on that loveseat.

'Ginger, here move right here. Go ahead just kiss it. Good job'

"What's the matter, why are you crying?" Zeke asked and tried to wrap his arms around me. I resisted. But he was stronger.

"No. Please. I finally said it. No. nonononononono. Is that better? Does it make it better?"

I exploded and Zeke sat up.

"What do you mean? Ginger talk to me. I know you hate me, but you're my little sister and I'm worried."

'You make me so happy, you know that? Yeah, just put it in your mouth, Go ahead, Yes. Yes like that good girl.'

I was choking

"No. Stop it please," I whimpered, sitting up and holding my ears. I felt like I was going to throw up. I rushed to Zeke's wastebasket and emptied my stomach.

"Ging… are you okay?" Zeke asked, patting my back. I pulled away, sitting on my knees. I began to wipe vomit out of my hair.

'Devon, I don't feel right about this. My mouth tastes funny. I don't like it.' I whimpered as he placed me on my bed. He tucked me in and kissed me on the forehead.

'Just go to sleep Ginger. It'll be okay in the morning. Just get some sleep. And don't tell Zeke. He'll get jealous and he'll take you from me.'

I shook my head.

"I was just a little girl." I spoke softly, my voice hoarse and my head down. My face burned in shame.

I caused it.

I let him do this to me. I allowed him to kiss me. I thought it was okay. It was what I wanted. This is what I get.

I vomited back into the wastebasket and cringed at the taste in my mouth,

"What? Did someone touch you? I'll kill them. Just say the word. Was it Luther? I'll fucking end him." He was in a fury. And terribly wrong.

"Look at me Ginger; if someone hurt you, it's okay to tell."

"Someone used to hurt… No" I groaned.

"Ginger please."

"Devon made me touch him. Before David and mom called it quits, whenever we spent the night there and everyone was asleep, we'd play these games. He'd kiss me or touch me. He told me we were playing Mommy and Daddy. One day he made me put his… in my mouth." I sobbed and Zeke rubbed my back.

"That bastard" He muttered.

He and Devon were like best friends back then.

"Where was I?"

"You were either sleep in your room. Or you were hanging out with Daniel."

Devon's younger brother. Devon was six years older than me. Two years older than Zeke.

"Well, where were you two? Where were Mom and David?" Zeke asked. I guess he was hoping that I was somewhere far away. That way, no one but Devon could be blamed.

"I was in the living room, right next to your room. Or in the closet in the hall. Or in the room with you. Once, we woke you up. But you just turned over and went back to sleep. Mom and David were either out, like they were most nights, or in their bedroom. I had no one."

"I'm so sorry. How could I have not known? Why didn't you tell me?" He pleaded, tears coming to his eyes.

"Because, Devon told me not to. He said if I told you, you would get jealous and take me away from him. Besides, I didn't say no. So it was my fault. I let it happen."

"No Ginger," he said forcefully, "It was not your fault. He did this to you. You had no idea this could happen. You didn't tell him to fuck you. You were just a child."

"Thank you. I just wanted to know it wasn't my fault. I never wanted this to happen. I didn't want him to touch me. I didn't want this to happen. I swear. I was so scared."

I cried into his shoulder and he hugged me tightly.

"He used to hold me down. Remind me he was in charge. I hated when he did that." I whimpered as I lied down in Zeke's lap. He rubbed my hair and I sighed.

"I wish I could go back and erase it. My life was so much easier before Devon. Because of him, I hurt everyday. Because of him, I'm broken."

"Sweetie you're not broken. You're just damaged." Zeke whispered. "and don't worry, I'll protect you. I'll never let someone hurt you like that ever again. I'm sorry I wasn't there to protect you. But I'm here now."

"Thank you for listening. I needed someone to know. I've been so alone and ashamed for so long. I've relived it every night. How do I forgive him? How do I forgive myself?'

"It's not your shame to bear sweetie. It's his."

Okay. So that was a bit sad. But child abuse is never funny. This came from a deep dark place in me. Someplace that I've never shared with anyone else, Not even my family. So please don't judge me. I didn't know better. Some victims don't. I needed an outlet and here it is. Review. And be aware. You never know what's happening in the room next to you.