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  • We were just chatting about random things and plans we had for the weekend and upcoming plans. I don't recall how we got to the next sentence when she said, "I was harassed as a child and because of this, I can't have children..." She continued talking very matter of fact and I was suddenly stupefied and cut her mid sentence, "You were harassed as a child?"

    "Yes."

    I saw the defeat in her face for a fleeting moment but still it did not register in my head and I know English is her second language. I have a stupid way of ensuring my understanding before expressing emotion and I asked again,

    "You were harassed as a child....you mean...you were..."

    "Yes."

    "Wait. Harassed (I found it a tidy word for what I now understood). Don't tell me it was your step-dad."

    "Yes."

    It was here that my tears welled up and though they fell, withdrew as quickly as they had come. My face flushed with anger and sadness and SHE apologised to me. I felt guilty that she was the one trying to comfort me when I should have been the one. I felt guilty I had reiterated what she had said, three times, making her relive that word again and again.

    I said, "No. I AM sorry. Did your mother know?"

    "Yes." And her eyebrows raised in a that's right, she did nothing about it, kind of shrug. "I finally ran away when I was 16 and came to the UK. It was so easy. I am 25 years old now and I think about all the jobs I have had since, how many times I have moved. I have a great boyfriend now and I love his little boy. I keep telling her to come here and live with me...but she won't leave him. They poison your mind into believing that you cannot live without them. He tells her he loves her but that she's disgusting in the same sentence. It is all a mind game. She will not leave him."

    I saw that she still loved her mother so much and understood how much she too was a victim; and she wanted to save her. She held no rebellion in that her mother should have saved her. She's still trying to save her mother.

    I thought about the number of times I have heard similar or identical accounts.

    This is what we talk about, that you think we don't talk about.
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