I was sexually assaulted when I was 12 years old by two guys from my neighborhood. I didn’t tell my family about the assault because they would have probably accused me of being responsible for it. In the Ethiopian community, it’s something that you just don’t speak about and being afraid of the consequences, I decided to keep my mouth shut. “Family honor” is so important in our community that going to the police was out of the question, so instead of seeing the attackers behind bars, I saw them every day in my neighborhood.

I was 12 years old and needed all the love and support I could get, but unfortunately, no one came to the rescue. I learned that if I don’t pull myself up, no one will, making me very independent. It was a shocking experience and I have my ups and downs, but under no circumstances am I letting self-pity control my life. I always put my head up.

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