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He abused me!

I am Sheryl and I came from a family of 9 siblings. When I was still in grade school, I experienced repeated sexual harassment and abuse from no less than our school principal.

 

The context of my first sexual abuse was in the form of blackmailing me into not signing my school clearance and making stories about my alleged “sweetheart.” He told me that he saw me and a boy having sex. But I did not really understand what he was talking about. My innocence then prevented me from construing something malicious out of these words. I only wanted to have my clearance signed. The principal became more scheming in his plans to finally “entrap” me. His last desperate attempt to corner me succeeded by using trickery, deception, threat and force. He threatened me that he will kill me and my family. Thus, the abuse continued. He abused me in his car and later on in his office. I could not really forget that alongside the sexual abuse, the threats that the principal mouthed to me. The principal even offered a “gift” to me and my family, a livestock raising business. It was a good thing that my mother declined. It was not out of principles, but out of shame. My mother still knew nothing about the abuse. Later on, I realized I was pregnant. I was 13 years old at that time. The principal told me that he will kill me and my family if I will tell anyone about what he did to me. He even forced to arrange a marriage for me and my classmate, the boy whom he fabricated stories to have relationship with me. He had to find a scapegoat to shoulder the blame for all his acts.

 

At that instance, my mother did not recognize that I was pregnant because my tummy was so small. I also tried my best to protect my family from danger of being murdered. So, I pretended and told my mother that I had my menstruation. Eventually, I was able to gain courage to tell the truth to my mother. My family was so furious about what happened to me. Then I gave birth to my baby prematurely but the baby did not survive.

 

My family and I had the courage to raise the matter to court. But things did not go smoothly even before trial started. I had to contend with a likewise sexist people in the justice system. We also reported what happened to me in a local radio station who bannered my story for sometime. We were assisted by a non-government institution who helps in the litigation of cases among children.

 

The threats during the course of the trial did not cease. My parents were faltering and wanted to withdraw the continuance of the case. But the socially-oriented radio station encouraged us to continue the fight. At that time, the family of my perpetrator tried to work out an amicable settlement with us. My parents were tempted to accept the offer but I resented that and they decided to keep the court case going.

 

There were many times that I attempted to commit suicide. There were times before that I found my experiences too overwhelming to be dealt with. I was even brought to the hospital due to depression. I was so afraid that I will become crazy. After my stay in the hospital I was brought to the drop-in center of the Oblate Sisters. I was still depressed when I arrived in the center. I hardly participated in activities and avoided interactions. The Sisters in the center noticed my suicidal tendencies and bouts of aloofness and rage. They made sure that I would get a grip of myself, and that I would not hurt myself. They guarded my moves.

 

When I was still new in the center, I found interaction with males a displeasing experience. Within me, I felt a certain rage that I could not explain adequately, whether it be in school toward my male classmates or teachers, or in church toward a priest or even strangers sitting beside me. My mistrust of people at that time was even manifested in my desire to avoid the company of anyone, even the Sisters. I even developed that fear that it came to the point that I was already afraid of my father and my brother.

 

My stay in the center had changed me. Through the various therapeutic interventions that I underwent in the center, I learned to deal with my abuse and come to terms with myself. I also learned to adjust with other people. My stay in the center also enabled me to gradually regain my faith.

 

My court battle had an unfateful conclusion. During the course of the trial, the principal had a heart attack after I testified in court. It later led him to his untimely death. Although my offender’s death is not exactly the kind of justice I was hoping for but I am still grateful that I survived from my traumatic experience through the help of so many people who assisted me in my healing and recovery as well as my court battle.

 

At present, I’m already in the Social-Reintegration Phase of the recovery program. In the next school year, I will be in my 3rd year in college working towards a degree in Business Management.