I was in the living room playing with my brother when Uncle came over one day. He sat down and called me over, asking me to sit on his lap. He said he was tired and could I sing to him.
As we sang, his hand started moving up my thighs and under my skirt. He continued upwards as he told me to keep singing.
Uncle was Ayah’s friend from work and he was even older than Ayah. He would drop my sister and me at school and pick us up after. He would always ask us about what we did at school and I always got a big hug after I told him.
“It’s a special hug for a clever girl,” he would say. Some days, if I was very clever at school, he would give me an extra-long hug and rub my shoulders, even though I wasn’t tired.
Many times he would look after us until Mak came back from work.
I was eight at that time.
He pushed his hand into my panty and his fingers into my private parts. It felt like a thousand knives were cutting me up. I wanted to scream but no sound came out. I began to cry and he kept telling me to relax. He continued pushing his fingers inside me and my private parts began to hurt terribly. At that moment, I found my voice and screamed as loudly as I could.
My sister rushed into the room but he told that it was nothing as he pulled my panties back on. I stood up but I was shaky and blood streamed out. The pain was making me dizzy.
“It’s nothing,” he said to my sister but she was already pale and frightened. She took a photo of me with her phone and sent it to Mak who was then at work. Mak started screaming – “What did you do to my daughter?” – down the phone at him but he quickly left.
When Mak came home, she hugged me and told me she had already called the police. She said she would never let him hurt me again. When Ayah came home, he too looked beaten. He put on a brave face but he too had tears in his eyes. “I’m so sorry,” he said, pulling me close.
A lot of things happened after that but a lot were like bits and pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. There were trips to the police station where I had to explain over and over to different police how the man had hurt me. Mak and my sister also had to answer questions. I found out later that the police caught the man and had him locked up.
Uncle couldn’t get me anymore, but he had already taken a little of me. Many nights I woke up sweating and shaking from bad dreams of him. All I would remember was how small and weak I felt while he was hurting me.
Uncle couldn’t get me anymore but it felt like he had already got part of my family. Ayah blamed Mak for being careless and leaving us with the Monster. Mak blamed Ayah and they fought a lot.
Mak and Ayah also used words like “charged and “trial.” No one understood the process of going to court but we were lucky to have found WCC Seberang.
The WCC social worker was kind and friendly and took care of us. She told us what would happen in court and she let us watch videos about the process.
We went to court many times. Each time, the social worker came with us to make sure we felt safe. She would call us often to check on how my family and I were doing. The social worker helped us every step of the way during the long two-year court process.
When the monster was charged and found guilty, he was sent to prison for 10 years. He was also going to get six strokes of the cane.
As a family, we moved away from Penang to start anew again. Mak and Ayah don’t fight so much.
My sister, brother and I decided we can look after each other so Mak doesn’t need to find babysitting help.
I still have days when I can’t sleep and I am scared if the monster will get out.
But I am getting better. I am breaking free from the monster a little more every day.