Scroll down to
read the full story

Rafaela Galindo

I was sexually oppressed, I was told to lose my virginity after marriage and that being straight is the right way to go. I’d rather embrace my real self than be a hypocrite.

When I was a minor, I was sexually abused by my father. I told my mother about this, and in order to not compromise their image as spiritual leaders, she helped him to silence me. She initially kept him distant, then kept him close and blamed me for not “avoiding the abuse”. She also said and I quote “you should have pushed him and ran away, you always said no to what you didn’t want”.

Before the abuse, I wanted to lose my virginity to someone special, but after that, I changed my mindset to: why do I have to wait for a special partner who might let me down later on, and why can’t I be bisexual when I’m not committing any crime? At 19, I lost my virginity to a random guy, and we dated for a while. At that time, casual sex became a distraction, and I tried to build a shield so I wouldn’t be disappointed by anyone’s bad character. I had a lot of fun, and I tried to control my feelings.

As time went on, I wanted more and more to report my father’s abuse to the police. My mom was talking to a friend, and she came up with an idea that I should go abroad to study english. I know it was her way of silencing me, but I ended up understanding the true meaning of mental health, anxiety, self-love and trauma. Thanks to coming to Canada in 2012, I had my own time to pay attention to my feelings.

With her passing in August 2021, I was saddened by her poor decisions that also affected her health, but I saw the possibility of something new. 9 years later, I returned to Brazil and reported my father’s abuse. According to the justice system, there is a statute of limitation to report a crime, but now it is in their hands.

I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, this story is only news to those who are reading it. We won’t forget our experiences, but it is possible to share it without reliving the pain. I speak about family abuse, hoping to break the cycle of silence, the stereotypes and to empower those who have gone through or are going through similar experiences to have a voice so this reality can change.