I don’t remember when it first started. Whether or not it’s healthy, I’ve tried in my head to pinpoint the first time he got me to take off my clothes or lie silently in bed while he did things to my body I still find hard to put into words as an adult.
I know that it started the summer before I turned seven. We had just moved houses, and I remember boxes stacked against the window in my room which partially blocked the view. I remember the dappled sunlight hitting the carpet, the hum of the air conditioning as it hissed out cold air through the vent on my floor. He was there, with his bad breath and greasy peyos, pants down and I couldn’t bear to look at what was underneath.
He told me we were playing doctor. That nobody could know what was going on though because it was our secret. He asked if what he was doing to my body felt nice, and before I could speak he said, “of course it does, of course.” I closed my eyes and waited for the pain to stop, vomiting after he finished from the smell and the soreness.
I didn’t have a name for what was happening. I knew that he would either come into my bedroom or find a dark closet, and do things to a place on my body where I made a pishy from. I knew it was wrong. In my seven, eight and nine year old complacency, I blamed it on myself. I was wicked. I was trouble. I couldn’t avoid him because he was always in the house. Always hanging around waiting for his father to finish learning with mine, eating meals my mother prepared despite her having to look after a sickly toddler and his three older siblings.
I never screamed, though my body inside was straining to crawl out from under the filthiness I felt. I had no idea what intercourse was – mothers got pregnant and had babies but it was up to der bashefer. I only knew it was a horrible secret I couldn’t possibly tell anyone because it was my fault. I was the one who let him put that horrible smelly thing into my mouth. I was the one who kept silent as my tights came off and it hurt to make.
Guilt is taught from a very young age in the velt. There’s always something you could be doing better, or not do at all to make sure men aren’t put out by your female stupidity. He told me over and over again how I shouldn’t make him do these things. I was a horrible girl, and I should be punished severely.
I held onto that venom very closely to my heart. I held it for three long years as I became more and more destructive. The venom made me mean; I hated myself so how could anyone be deserving of my kindness?
I realize I’m lucky. It took me three long years to speak up where some children will take a lifetime, often after it’s too late. But he wasn’t the reason I left the velt. I’d be flattering him to acknowledge otherwise, and I would attach way too much importance to his arsenal of pathetic conquest stories.