But before things could go any further, Grandma knocked loudly on the bedroom door. She was yelling for us to unlock the door and come out of the room.
I remember Mark telling me to quickly get dressed, as he did, before opening the door. Grandma didn't come in as I expected her to. Instead, she pulled Mark aside to talk.
After that, Mark stopped molesting me. He still cradled me on his lap when I asked him to continued to show me brotherly affection, but he no longer touched me in all the wrong places.
I suspect my grandmother knew all along that Mark was molesting me, but didn't intervene until that afternoon. I truly believe my cousin would have raped me if she hadn't been alert to what he was doing.
Grandma never spoke to me about what happened or sat me down to talk about the birds and the bees. Looking back, I don't blame her for keeping quiet - it was her way of keeping the family together.
Growing up, I never realised how close I had come to being raped. After that day, Mark acted like nothing had happened. In my ignorance, I forgot the smears of my childhood and even remained close to Mark until I was a teenager.
But when I turned 18, the memories somehow came flooding back, I don't know what triggered them, but the flashbacks traumatised me. By then, I was old enough to understand that what my cousin did to me when I was a child was terrible and inappropriate. I was appalled that he felt no remorse.
I started keeping Mark at arm's length, as I no longer trusted him. We soon drifted apart, although he remained close to my sisters. I kept the shameful secret to myself for a very long time - I just felt so dirty and worthless.
Running on Empty
Mark's sexual abuse marred my trust in men. Throughout my early adulthood, I suffered from low self-esteem. I felt insecure and hated the way I looked. I didn't think I could ever be good enough for any man.
Ironically, mad sex my comfort. It was my way out of a lonely existence. I dated serially and had countless one-night stands, none of which filled the void inside me. Little did I realise that I was carrying a lot of anger inside me as well.