My Colleague's Story

allie shep
Posted December 10, 2016 from United Kingdom

Most of my pieces are "lightweight" compared to others here, but...

I have been asking my colleague, a 21-year-old French Algerian woman living in England, to join WP and tell what she has told me, but she says she couldn't.

She says it is in the past and not to tell today.

But I think it will help writing it out for all to see, and help other girls in similar situations.

So she has agreed to let me tell it - what follows is EXACTLY her words: we have changed names (including hers) and we have asterisked some personal words.

(She has seen my finished piece and agreed to it.)

Selma was a lovely happy 14-year-old French Algerian girl with an older brother and a younger sister.

One day, her stern father told her he had a secret to trust her with because she had reached the age of woman (14). She had actually started her menstrual cycle two years before but he didn't know (unless her mother had told him).

But he said that at the age of 14, all Algerian girls should lose their virginity and experience sex. He said it must always be a secret between the two of them, and her mother and her siblings must never know. If she told, she would be forever cursed.

"But Papa", she said., "I've never heard of this", to which he said "that's because other girls have also kept the secret".

One evening when her brother was out playing football and her mother and sister were at the cinema, he told her that "her time had come".

"He produced his big "pencil" and demanded I worshipped it and prepared for it. I had sex ed classes at school so I knew what he meant"

"But when he plunged he hit both my v*g*n*l and ur*thr*l holes and it was very painful.

I could not tell anyone about it because it was a secret and I didn't know he was deceiving me".

"For a week afterwards, everytime I used the toilet I was in agony and the pee did not hit the water like before, but it went everywhere.

My 12-year-old sister Laura said "are you alright?" and I said "Oh yes I am now a woman and sometimes have pain and do not pee normally"

After having time off from school, Selma felt better and she kept the secret for a year. But then her sister was 13 and Selma suddenly thought of her agony coming. She had always doted on Laura and kept her away from her brother who had thought that as he was a boy he had a right see his sisters in embarrassing positions.

As time went on, Selma thought 'Do I tell my sister what to expect?' 'Do I tell my mother because I think it was wrong?' 'Do I tell my doctor?'

Fortunately, that wasn't necessary.

One day, Selma's cousin (Julia) said she had to talk to Selma. She was 16 and had had sex with a 17 year old bioy. She had told the boy that she was a virgin but he claimed he could tell that she wasn't.

It wasn't just a boy pretending to be knowledgeable about sex, and the truth came out. Selma's father had taken Julia's virginity when she was 14 too. Julia told Selma and they reported him together.

He was arrested and sentenced.

He is now free but in poor health and unlikely to survive another 6 months.

So Laura was saved.

When Selma was asked by a local newspaper reporter whether she had mixed feelings about her father's terminal disease she said "No, I lost my father when I was 14. He was replaced by a b*st*rd who stole my most precious gift".

She now has a boyfriend whom she is very happy with.

Her mother still refuses to believe that her husband could ever do what he did.

Laura is now 19 and, in her own words, is "in and out of relationships".

Comments 7

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Jill Langhus
Dec 10, 2016
Dec 10, 2016

How horrible for her. Thanks for sharing her story. It's so awful that she feels that she still can't talk about it or heal from the experience. May she gain courage to do so in the future so she may finally heal.

allie shep
Dec 12, 2016
Dec 12, 2016

Thank you for your comments jlanghus. You're right - half of her feels unable to talk about it but half of her feels she SHOULD talk about it to start or continue a 'healing' process.

I can't imagine how a girl of 14, believing her father to be above reproach, is suddenly faced with that. But physically she's healing. She's obviously been checked medically several times - her v.o. is sound, but her u.o. is still damaged leading to what she refers to as "off-centre peeing".

"Selma" may respond separately to your comments.

Allie x

Jill Langhus
Dec 12, 2016
Dec 12, 2016

You're welcome:) Shame stinks and so unnecessary. Hopefully the strength in her will prevail and she will decide to honor herself and continue to speak up. I can relate to feeling shame and not wanting to talk about sexual abuse from family members, and unfortunately, I'm sure a lot of other women could as well. That's great if Selma wants to respond to me separately. I would like to help her anyway that I can:-) Thanks again for bringing her story to light:)

allie shep
Dec 13, 2016
Dec 13, 2016

Thanks for your further comment. Oh, underneath "Selma" is strong, perhaps because of this (I didn't know her before), and she's certainly felt good talking about it to me and on here in more detail than before.

I would go so far as to say that 50% of women can relate to sexual abuse. Two of my close friends have independently suffered at the hands of older men (not their fathers) and I once came very close myself.

But this has revealed more about Selma - there are additional things which she hadn't told me before and which she needs to confront.

Thanks for saying you'd like to help her - I feel that after Christmas she and her sister will talk more. She may message you through WP, using my account. Allie x

Jill Langhus
Dec 13, 2016
Dec 13, 2016

I'm glad to hear that Selma is strong:)

I think you are right on the percentage. I think when the estimates usually come in they are lower but that depends really on how many women report it.

Okay. That sounds good.


Tamarack Verrall
Dec 10, 2016
Dec 10, 2016

Dear Allie,

It is so important that this story be known. It may help many others. This "Don't tell, it is our secret" has been used so often with fathers forcing themselves on daughters here in Canada as well. We began to pull these stories out from under the carpet in the 1980's and it became more difficult for men to get away with it, although young girls are still being lied to. Please let Selma know how grateful I am that she has entrusted her story to you and now to us all within World Pulse. Together we are creating a world in which girls are safer, and it is by telling our stories that we know what needs to change.

In sisterhood,


allie shep
Dec 12, 2016
Dec 12, 2016

Thank you for your comments Tam - they are always appreciated. It is another frightening situation isn't it? We place so much trust in our parents yet they can so easily betray us. When I was 14 I was happily being driven everywhere by my father, never thinking that some girls of that age might suffer from their fathers.

I have passed your comments to "Selma" and she may reply separately. Her sister is staying with her over Christmas and she is very pleased that "Selma" has started the dialogue anyway. The two girls may discuss where to go from here - whether to say even more publically (or allow me to) and whether to contact other girls who may have suffered similarly.

Again, thanks for your concern Tam.  Allie x