WHEN I WAS 8...
My sister and I were 2 & 4 when we were orally assaulted on a daily basis. It makes me sick and angry to think about it.
I remember so well....he was our babysitter's adult son, and he used to come home from work for lunch. He would always preface the abuse by asking my sister and I if we wanted apples or ice-cream....then he'd lead us down to a backyard shed.
He would always take out his penis. I hated the sight of it. I didn't know why it was wrong, I just did know. He would make my sister suck him (she was still in nappies) and gleefully tell me it was my turn next. Or the other way around. Yellow curtains fluttering in the window.
He would tell us we were bad, filthy and going to hell.
If he is not there already, I hope he rots there. If I meet him, I will punch him into oblivion. I hated watching him assault the little sister I wanted to protect. I hated hearing her gag. I'm enraged. Enraged.
I felt very ashamed for the longest time. I don't now. We were babies. He raped us. He made sure that my first memories of life are of a penis in my mouth. Damn him, my hatred is furious. Ice-cream reminded me of him; thick wax crayons made me gag in class after I started school because they look like "that" part of a man. I began peeing the bed; that was one of the worst affects; years of ostracization for being a bed-wetter.
To this day, I can't stand to have a male hairdresser. I can't stand the hands on my head and his groin in close proximity. I fucking hate the dentist.
I hate the abuser. I'm glad my sister doesn't remember. Some of thse bastards think they younger the child is, the less likely they are to remember. Wrong, asshole. I do, I remember; I can still smell the "old-cheese" stench of you; my jaws still hurt. You tried to penetrate me with your finger too, but I screamed because, hello, bastard, it hurt. Look out, fucker. You will never be forgiven. Not ever. God may forgive; I don't; not for that.
I keep healing. That little girl in me still has innocence.
One day in August 1975, shortly before I turned nine, I came home from school. It was one of those bright, sunny yet snap-frozen days. Cold. Nobody was at home, which I rather liked because I could do as I pleased. Watch TV, raid the fridge etc.
What I wanted to do was have a hot bath; I really enjoyed the way they warmed me up again. I went into our old, blue bathroom and watched the way the flames shot up in the gas tank. I sank into the tub and enjoyed the warmth.
And I heard the back door open; footsteps in the hall. The bathroom door swung open and I thought, "oh, somebody is home". I looked around the shower curtain, and there he was, the husband of my mum's best friend. Sometimes he drank beers with my dad. I thought, "oh, he can see I'm in the bath, he'll go away". And I peered out of the tub and said “oh, hello”.
He asked what I was doing....and I smiled at him and said "just having a bath 'cause it's so cold". He said, "you been behaving yourself?" This was a question he gruffly and often asked. I said "Um...yes". I didn't know what he wanted. My mum wasn't home. I was later to know she'd been out shopping with his wife.
I felt embarrassed. It's okay for your dad or mum to stand there while you have a bath...but a bit rude if it's someone else, right? And he was looking at me. Staring; I thought he was cross with me. He was a dark man, dark eyed. I was just a little bit scared. And I thought that if I said I needed to get out of the bath now, he'd go. I really did. I thought he'd be polite and leave. 'cause that's what people do. They don't stand there and watch kids that aren't their own in the bath, do they? I tried to be bright. Tried to be happy, and said to him, "well, I'm gonna get out now". Oh...I felt that if I made everything normal, then it would be. I pulled out the plug. But still he just stood and looked at me. Now I'm really scared. Why doesn't he go? Why does he just look? He's supposed to go.
I knew that I couldn't just sit there. I got to my feet and put the shower curtain in front of me, and said, I'm so cold, I have to get out now. The false cheer was draining away, because something was very wrong but I didn't really know what.
He stepped in front of the tub and took away the curtain. I stopped talking about cold...I stopped talking. He put his hand around the back of my head and kissed me on the mouth. I started whimpering, and he said "shhh!" I didn’t know why he would want to kiss me. He just kept looking. Then he began to do things with his hands; things that scared me terribly. I was so frightened, and I didn’t know that it could get any worse. He was putting his hands all over me.
He smelt funny. He smelt like hair and soap, very clean. Like a clean man.
He started to lick me. On my mouth, neck chest. Went down further and as he did, he bit me on my tummy. I remember thinking that it felt like there were snails on me. I wriggled…I was very cold and very scared. I looked at the window; mottled glass with late afternoon sun coming in. I could smell him, I could smell the gas from the tank. He was kissing me in a place that people should not kiss you. But I wriggled….I wanted to get away from his hands and mouth. I wanted my mother but I did not want her, did not want her to see something so dirty. Didn’t want anybody to see.
He was angry because I was wriggling and trying to get away. He grabbed my arm and shook me and said, “stand still!” His voice was deep, rough, a mix between a snap and a growl. I said No, please can I get out, please I need to, I wanted him to let me go.
With the back of his hand, he hit me hard on my belly and he told me again to stand still. I started to cry, and he made a horrible face at me, gritting his teeth and told me to stop. He pushed me against the wall hard. I had to stand still.
With one hand he held me. With the other he just kept touching me. He told me I had a pretty little body. He had a black, square ring on his hand. The stone was a black square. He had on a gold watch and I noticed how the backs of his hands had some dark hair on them.
I wanted to wee. But I didn’t ask. I somehow just knew he would not let me go. I was shivering. I didn’t know why this was happening. I didn’t think he would do this to me. He was so different. He was quiet and breathing funny. Is this what happens when you’ve made somebody angry? How had I made him angry?
He was looking at me, just looking at my face and breathing, and he started to tickle me. Backwards and forwards. With his finger; he was tickling me in my private. Then he pushed my bottom against the wall. Still looking at me…still tickling then…Pain. He did something with his finger. It hurt so badly down there. Yes, people hurt you when they’re mad. I felt the pain, and I started to cry loudly. I said Oh Oh Oh……and he said, shut up. He said there was nothing wrong with what he was doing. He said, come on, get out of there.
Still hanging onto me as I stepped out of the bathtub. I picked up a towel though, I wanted to cover me. He took the towel and draped it over my shoulders. I thought he might let me go. I thought he might go away.
But he steered me into my room, adjacent to the bathroom. He took the towel off me and spread it on my sister Mandy’s bed, he said, “get on there”. I Sat on it. I was feeling like I was dreaming. He made me lay down. He didn't care that I was upside down; my head at the foot of the bed. I didn’t like to, but I knew I couldn’t say no to him. He was the big person; I was scared.
But then he undid his jeans. He pulled them down. I saw something awful, it was awful, lots of black hair I saw that the black hair pointed in a diamond up to his belly button.. I didn’t look. He knelt in front of me on the bed, his legs either side. He took my wrists and pulled me into a sitting position. He rubbed that thing on my face before he said I want you to suck it. I turned away, but he squeezed my cheeks, forcing open my mouth. He put it in, and he moved me. I started to cry again and he just said, “suck it, that’s right….” He smelt awful. Like old cheese. He was holding it and moving me. It was bigger.
He took it out. He took my shoulders and made me lay down. I could not believe he was doing this to me. I never ever thought he would. I never ever…thought about things like that. I knew it had something to do with big people. But I didn’t know what. Did they do this? I would never want to do it.
He moved down me, and he spat on his fingers. Al I could do was lay and look and wonder. I didn’t know what or why this was. All I knew was that I had to do it.
He spat on his fingers and then he hurt me with them. Where he did before. It was a horrible thing, like pinching and cutting. I cried out and he said “uh! Shh! I didn’t know what I did. Then he stopped crouching over me and he lay on top of me. He was heavy, his breathing was heavy. He raised himself, and he rubbed the thing against my belly. I felt my skin pulling. But then he moved down lower and he was holding it. With his own big legs, he shoved mine open. He was saying terrible things. He was saying I was going to like it. My legs hurt.
He held my arm so tight. He started pushing that thing very hard, much too hard and it hurt. It hurt so badly. He was saying, “open up, you bitch”. He was angry. I didn’t know how to stop it, I didn’t know how to do what he wanted. I said “it hurts you are hurting me so much” and he said he didn’t want to hear one more fucking sound out of me. He just pushed. Harder and I wanted to run away from the pain. I could see my mobile of silver origami fish on the ceiling I wanted to be outside I wanted to be anywhere.
Ahhhhhhahhhhhhhh terrible terrible pain I wanted to scream but I couldn’t. My whole body shook and and I made a retching, growling ughhhhh. My teeth pressed together. I could see only purple red and black terrible and a thick buzzing in my ears. I wondered if I would die. It felt like he had a knife there. I felt as if all of the inside of my tummy was being torn loose from its muscles and tendons and driven up inside me. I could not breathe. And I felt nothing. I fainted. Everything was black.
Then I came back. He was still doing it. The bed was making rhythmic creakings…but I could hardly feel anything. It was funny; we had yellow paint on the walls of my room, but everything seemed grey. Colours didn’t look like colours. What he was doing was uncomfortable, but it was like a far away pain. I felt very very tired. If I had been asked to raise my head I could not have done so. I hoped it would stop, but feeling was so vague. In a sense I felt as if I didn’t really care what happened. The thing left me. I felt that happen. I looked down the length of my body and I saw something that looked awful on me. It was red and white. It looked awful, but I didn’t care enough to be curious.
I didn’t care. All I wanted was sleep. Blackness again. I felt such an overwhelming tiredness.
He picked me up; I remember him taking me out of my room and as he turned in the hallway I remember how the light spun around, the globe.
He dumped me in the bath and grabbed the old saucepan we used to rinse our hair in the bath, and it was a shock to me when he began to dash cold water on me. He was sounding angry. He was sounding nervous. "Come on", he said, "hurry up and wake up". I know you're awake". I didn't want to, I was trying to make myself but it was so hard. He shook me, I heard him say "wake up now you little bitch, you want me to finish you off altogether?"
He tipped water up my private. It was so painful and cold. But I did make myself stand up. He pulled me up. And then steered me back into my room. I could not feel...anything. I wanted to make this bad dream stop.
He told me to get dressed and I found some jeans and a purple skivvy. He was watching me and said "hurry up". He took me through the living room and made me get a book out of the bookcase. He put me in an armchair, and he said, now you sit there and read your book. And when somebody comes home, you won't say anything. Because if you ever tell anybody I will kill you, right? I will cut your throat. I will. Do you understand?
I nodded. But he made me say it. He made me say I wouldn't ever tell. And he made me say it was because he would kill me too.
He said, "you're alright, aren't you? I didn't hurt you all that much anyway, did I?"
I agreed with him. I said no. He said I wasn't to move from that chair. He went away.
I just wanted to go to bed.
My mother would get home. I would tell her I felt sick and wanted to go to bed...I think I peed away the blood in the night.
Three or so weeks later, I would be taken to the hospital for a test because I was bleeding out of my urethra. It would be put down to a urinary tract infection, and I would be lectured on the importance of wiping my bottom from front to back.
And he would keep coming, and I would have to grow up and overcome the horror, shame and other terrifying lessons.
And I would do so and I still am....
But no matter how many years pass, the shock of what happened is never quite gone from the eight year old inside of me.