Awhi’s Story

I remember some of the family coming to stay one time, I was the youngest and the smallest, so I had to share my bed with one of my older cousins. I woke up in the night and he was giving me a blowjob. I thought he was trying to get me to pee in his mouth. I think I was about 8.

I wish I’d known I could have told him to piss off.

That sort of stuff went on most of the time I was a kid. From males to females.

The drugs and the beer and the boys and the girls – that was the way things were. By the time I was 15 I felt like life had somehow ripped me off. I always felt that way, but I didn’t know why. The first time I tried to kill myself was on my 15th birthday, then again when I was 16. At 20 I cut my wrists, but the blood clotted. It really hurt too, I never felt like a loop, though. It just made sense. If I’d known how to do it properly I know I wouldn’t be here now.

Around 24 I realised that it wasn’t normal for little kids to be doing that kind of stuff we’d been doing, but it wasn’t until I got married that I had my first flashback. To the sexual abuse.

It takes mana to say “I was sexually abused”. The first time I told someone the words felt like hammer blows in my chest but when they were out it was the sweetest thing.

Sexual abuse isn’t a Maori problem, it’s a people problem.