The Secrets We Carry: Stories of Molestation (Part 2)3,625 views
This is the continuation of “The Secrets We Carry: Stories of Molestation” Read Part 1 here.
Carla was the first to open up about her story. She told it very straightforwardly.
“My story is really simple. It ends in 4 or 5 sentences. It effect on me, however, was beyond what words can explain. I think I was 12 years old. It was a Wednesday night and I was playing the piano. My brother suggested that we watch a movie together. It turned out to be a porn movie. I was shocked and scared. How could my brother make me watch this movie? Then he started showing me his penis. A month later he wanted me to suck it. It went on for 2 weeks. He was 16 at the time.”
Zeina drifts away, pondering how to continue. “The thing is that I simply can’t believe that this actually happened to me. My mind can’t wrap itself around this experience. And even if I do try to write it down and read it myself, I still can’t believe it. The 4th man is a well-known figure, esteemed, respected. He was a priest.”
Zeina was worried she would ruin his reputation if she revealed his name to anyone, but she goes on with her story anyway, trying as best she could to conceal the violator’s identity.
“I was about 16, and he almost raped me in my house, in my own bed! I was a good Christian, and he was a priest. I thought I was wrong. I believed it was my fault. Evil had sent me to test him, to try him. And all I could think of was: I am bad and he is good.
I thought he was my friend, my spiritual guide. We used to talk about boys and love and relationships. I had never had a boyfriend before. He used to show me – literally – how guys would hit on me. He slid his hands up my shirt… I don’t want to describe that day and what he did. I hoped that God will purify his mind again and stop him from doing those horrible things. I know you’re going to judge me and say that I should have done something myself to stop him but I couldn’t risk my family’s reputation. No one would have believed me.
My parents had told me to stay away from strangers, but they never warned me to stay away from my own priest, cousins, and school teacher. Are those strangers too? Aren’t family members supposed to protect you? Isn’t school supposed to be a safe secure environment for children? And church?”
Zeina smiles telling me again that she’s sorry it turned out to be an emotional story. I tell her it’s not supposed to be otherwise.
Michelle begins to tell her story. I’ve known Michelle for a while: a strong, independent, unwavering woman.
“It all started when I was 6 years old. Or had it started before? I don’t know. That’s as far as I can recall. It went on till I was 10 years old. He was my eldest cousin, the family superstar, smart, good-looking, and sweet. To me, he was nothing but a monster. Every time my family would go out, they’d drop me off at my cousin’s place so I’d “have fun” with them and be “safe” instead of staying home alone. I didn’t really understand what was going on until I was 9 years old. But I knew it felt wrong and painful. I would feel humiliated and guilty. The first time I saw a naked man, it was my superstar of a cousin. The first time I saw a man cum all over my little body, it was my superstar of a cousin. I was 7.
I remember staying up all night wondering what that creamy liquid stuff was. My body would go numb. Eventually, I stopped trying to stop him. I’d simply wait for him to get it over with.
“My fifth and final rapist. That was the one I stood up to.
It was my first year of college and he was my professor. We all knew he was a ‘neswanje.’ But after all I had been through, I learned to decipher all the techniques that a man would use to assault a girl. I never liked him. One day I went into his office, needing his signature on my report. He asked me to have coffee with him and, since I had time, I agreed. He started to flirt with me telling me how I had such a cute, innocent face. Before I knew it, he was next to me on the couch, one arm behind my shoulder and the other on my leg, leaning close, trying to kiss me.
This time, I was overtaken by rage. I poured my coffee all over him and walked out of the office.
I wrote a letter of complaint to my university. I told everyone what had happened. Other girls said they had experienced the same thing. He was fired from his job.”
Casually, she looks at me: “That’s my story… 5 men since I was 5 years old.”
I turn to the women and ask out loud: why don’t women talk about rape? Does it always hurt?
Samar shrugs: “I thought I should tell my parents at the time. But I was scared. I knew my dad would turn it against me saying it was my fault and that my uncle didn’t mean it this way. And I was sure my mom would start to cry and have a panic attack and we’d need to take her to the hospital… I don’t know. I didn’t see the point. It wouldn’t help and I’d have to live with all the drama and guilt. What I did learn is that no one can have your back but yourself. You are the only one that can protect yourself from harm.”
Michelle’s reasons were different: “You see, I never admitted any of the awful stuff that happened to me, not until I was 14. It took me 7 years to learn to live with it. Even now, I still get extremely angry and mad; I feel weak and paralyzed. I wonder how my parents never noticed. How strange. It drove me crazy thinking about it. It still hurts now when I think about it, but I’m strong enough to get over it. I’m a very positive-spirited woman now and an activist who believes that this world must change into a better place, so that little kids won’t have to go through such experiences as well.”
Do you know these women?