What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Anonymous.

The word causes everyone’s face to drop, no matter how steeled they are. No matter what they’ve seen in this world.


It’s a taboo situation no one wants to discuss or bring up. We have our rape culture, but we keep it directed towards stranger rapes. The problem is that most sexual assaults are committed by people we know.

I was abused in my home, in my safe space, from the ages of 5 to 17; physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. It was as if when night fell, a black hole consumed my house. I would be laying in bed, listening to my breathing as the house slowly fell asleep. People would go to bed, but I could hear the faint drone of a TV from our living room. I would hear my mother head to bed, her powder smell penetrating my closed door. Twenty minutes. It was always twenty minutes to the dot when the TV would click off and then the footsteps started. Quiet. Methodical. Sure. Then my door would open.

These are memories I live with day in and day out. It’s why I now leave my door open while I sleep and why my spouse can’t approach me from behind. It’s why my heart races a little everytime I see someone stand too close to my son. But it’s okay. I’m okay.

Here I am, at 25, living life to the best of my ability. Not just living – thriving.

Incest is an awful word that evokes images and ideas of Southern people living in backwoods with their cousin. There seems to be no other alternative for people. But it’s real, it’s unwanted almost all of the time, it’s a tangible thing that could be happening next door to you.

I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be such a taboo topic. I want you to know that it doesn’t somehow make it all worse than had I not known the man. I want you to know that I am not broken. But most of all, I want you to know that I can see the pity in your eyes and while I understand it, I don’t want it.