Please, don't ask; "Why is she quite about it for all those years?"
All the media are busy about the movie mogul. Women are speaking out about the sexual harassment. I heard that Canadian women are speaking about same thing, according to Tam’s post.
Here at home, nobody speaks it open, but we hear it as gossip. Girls and women are suffering from this epidemic. I have never seen anyone who came up with same story to our media.
When we hear about this kind of news, the same question raised from our viewers or listeners.
“Why is she so quiet for this long?”
Yes it takes years to speak it out. It hurts a lot. It pains a lot. BECAUSE, To speak about it can cause more pain, if it was told on the same spot. The abused person can’t find a person who believes her story. There is a lot of fear.
If the girl is too young when she was sexually assaulted, she might be shy to tell to others. She might be insulted or abandoned by family members and friends, so she will remain quite.
Years ago, when I lived in Nairobi, my land lady told me this.
“ I always tell my little daughter to put on jeans and stay upstairs when I’m out of the house. She has big brothers. Many boys come to our house to look for them. you know, men who rape kids never come from far. Most of the time, the rapists are family members, friends and the one who call them uncles.”
My mind raced back to Addis Ababa. I remember my friend when I was in high school. Ruth and her sister was sexually assaulted by their half brother. Her father had a wife in the village before he married their mother in Addis. Her dad’s firstborn was busy chasing them in the darkness. Almost every night he was in their bedroom. He really wanted to touch her younger sister. One day her sister woke up after he removed her under ware and he run out of the room when she screamed. That was the only girl friend who told me her story. I envied her courage.
I don’t remember if I was ten or twelve when my big bro was about to start his second year in the university. He was given a job for our winter and he bought a new small bed. As a small child we all liked it. He fixed it by the corner of our sitting room. He used to read for us English stories. He painted many beautiful pictures. He did a lot of carvings. All of us are hanging around him. He was the most loved big brother. My Mom adores him. He was everybody’s favorite. When our friends come to visit, the first thing to tell them is about my big brother. And the first thing to show is, his painting. He was a good mannered brother, who takes care of us when my Mom was away for a day or two in the village. He cooked for us good meal, he cleaned our house very neatly. He was the quite and respected guy.
The day he left the bedroom and started to sleep on his small bed, he told me I can sleep with him. I didn’t like to sleep with people. But I wanted to sleep on that small bed very bad. I told him, I’ll sleep on the opposite side of the bed, my head on the bottom of the bed. He agreed. My younger brother asked to sleep with him, but the answer was a “NO”.
I don’t remember clearly if it was on the first day I slept with him or after few days, I woke up when he was struggling to touch me. I was half asleep and moved a little beat up to be far from something which was busy to my body. Then when he comes closer, I felt his hand struggling to part my legs from the same direction he slept. I felt wet. Then I sent my little palm to check. My hand touched some jelly stuff on my thigh. He covered his head in blanket and curled in the small bed when I turn on the light. I jumped out of the bed and went to the rest room. I didn’t expect the beloved brother had strength to do that. I sat in the darkness. I was afraid. If I spoke that, nobody will believe me. I prayed the sun to rise so that I leave our house and sit in front of our neighbor’s house. The house had no fence and all the children gather and bash the morning sun there. I sat there before 6:00am. It was a school vacation. The other children came later and joined me. my younger brother came and asked me; “How come you wake up early?”
I was quite.
The big brother left the house at 7:30 am and looked to where all of gathered. The other morning, he used to greet all the children. He didn’t say anything. I bow my head when I saw him walking out of our compound. I was very afraid to walk in to our house that day. I was embarrassed, I don’t think if I played that day. In the evening, I went to bed early. I avoided him, slept in my own bed. Since that day, I went to our bedroom early and made it a habit. We started own group, only the youngsters. We chat and laugh until we’d no strength left in us. I follow all his actions. I started to protect my younger sisters.
When I was in class ten, our last sibling came to this world. You might think I was a big girl. I learn the Kg education at home. I Started from Grade 1, and finished elementary school education in 2 years, approximately. My older brother was in grade 6, when I was in Grade 1. I was in Grade 11, when he was in Grade 12.
She was born on Monday, on the first day of school break. I was not allowed to play the whole week. I didn’t kiss her until she was too. I was mad at her. The big bro came to visit us from the university. I followed him. He carried her. I sat next to him. Every minute he was moving his hand to her bum. I saw him, he unbutton his trouser and his private part was touched her. I snatched my little sister from him and gave my Mom. She was one year and few months old. I went to the rest room, bow down and prayed for my little sister not to be pregnant. I was not having my periods by then. I was thirteen…may be. I Didn’t know about reproduction system. The only Rock I run to and hide was my God. I never had confidence in anyone, except Him. He never let me down. This world is The Voices of The Voices. If I said anything about the man, who had money, started to support the family, who will believe me?
One day, one of my little sister said; “When I sleep, something comes and touch my face and…when I say” In the name of Jesus, he left.”
My younger brother stared at me. I didn’t say a word. My Mom’s cousin said almost same thing. My younger brother seemed to know more but didn’t want to push anybody and talk more. When the two of us were alone, my younger bro said, “I know who he is.” I know we all are going through this. Everybody is not getting a good sleep. We named it a Caresser. I know it’s him, the big brother. If we tell our parents, they will never believe us. Especially Mom, she’ll never accept it. But we have to do something.
“What can we do and how can we stop him?” I asked.
“We sit and tell all the stories to him, then let us hear what he’s going to say. After we see his reaction we’ll do what we can do. If he tries to make it a jock, we’ll punish him. If he feels regret and stop it, it’s ok.” Said my younger brother.
The only child girl who was not interrupted by him was, my elder sister. My younger bro, Mom’s cousin, elder sister and me sat for a meeting and made the decision. The others were very young, we didn’t tell anything to them. the next Saturday morning we surrounded the big brother table as we did long time ago. We gave a lot of stories of the Caresser. He started laughing at the story. He was telling us, it might be our imagination. He told us it might be a spirit. As a child, I was confused, but my younger brother was not.
After the meeting, we discuss alone. You know Lily, this guy is very shameless. I’ve evidence the Caresser is him. He showed me a green soaks of the big bro. that green soak was used by the big bro, when I was in class five.
“What about the green sock?” I asked.
“He used to come and Caress my face my nose, and you know his hands are too soft. I grabbed him once and he run away. Next day, he came and started to check on me, I hold his hand in the darkness and he fought to escape. I removed this sock from his hand. That day, I thought he was a devil. I put on the light and saw the green socks. That was the day I confirmed that our brother was the one who is busy disturbing the family and , I’m not afraid of him. He’s very mean to us. I don’t respect him the way I did before. You saw him how he’s laughing at us. He didn’t care even for the 4, 6, and 8 years old girls. I’ll keep the whip of the grandpa next to my pillow. Let him come and try to touch anybody, I’ll whip him. Then, he’ll never show up.” Said my younger bro.
We started sleeping very early. The big brother did the same. He slept early or pretends he was sleeping. When the younger ones fall asleep he’ll come to try to touch anyone who slept deep. He is caressing faces, to confirm if we are up.
My Mom’s cousin, my younger brother and me were just covering ourselves. The Caresser entered the bedroom. He walked straight to the little one’s bed. My younger brother whipped him bad with the dry leather whip. The big brother shot like a bullet towards the sitting room. We heard him stirring in his bed. We know the sound of the bed. My Mom’s cousin started laughing. My younger bro burst into laughter. The three of us were laughing inside blanket. Next day was fun. We though he’ll never come to disturb us. But he never gave up.
One day, my sister who’s four years younger than me said; “I was looking for a book in the bedroom. Mom was outside. The big bro came and hug me near the bed. He kissed me until my mouth was inside his….etc.”
My younger brother was annoyed. He left the room. I followed him. “What’s wrong with this girl? She is shameless!...he spat…” I was sad. Good she told us.
“That means, this guy will not stop this evil thing.” I complained.
“We’ve to be mean to him, so he can leave this house. He graduates, and he has a job, he built his house. Why is he staying with us, To chase his sisters? He doesn’t love us, he must go.” We both got angry.
On the year we were taking school leaving exams, we had to be a keeper of each other. One sleeps, one should watch over the other sibling. Instead of studying, I was watching over my younger sisters. I didn’t know by then, men use to rape boys.
I pray God, to tell this brother to go to one of the houses he built. He left us, with one of my sister. The same sister who is four yrs younger than me moved to his new house. After two months, she was mentally disturbed, slightly…left him and joined the family.
He came to our house and told my Mom, to tell one of his sisters to stay with him. I cover my face with a curtain, I told my Mom with sign language “ Don’t tell me to go to his house and stay with him.”
But, I was the one at home by then. My mom said, I’ll go to his house and stay with him until she find a maid and give him. I begged and begged her not to send me there. But, I had to go.
Same drama happened, I’m alerted, a struggle not to fall asleep. There is a king sized bed. Only one bed, I slept from the bed’s bottom…on the edge.
I opened the room, sat in the char for the whole evening. Next evening, I removed the cushions from the dining set. Placed them on the sitting room floor, and covered myself with bed sheet. I stayed with him nine months.
One day, when I came from outside I found him walking in the compound. He stared at me in disbelief. He opened the sitting room, and bedroom was locked. When I put the kea, it fall down in the bedroom. We kept the other room’s kea on top of the bedroom door. The glass was not fixed.
“Bro, I came late because, the kea fall down. I can’t go to bathroom, rest room or kitchen. I was at Bethy’s place.” I said.
He entered the house and opened the bedroom.
“Why didn’t you open it if you had a kea? Why wait until I come?” I asked him.
“I thought, you were in there with someone.” He said.
I lost it! I had no word to say. I saw how he thinks of me, or about all his siblings. We were girls, busy in school, church and community works. Never had time for boys. he was thinking of me to be…I hate him deeply that day.
He went to my parents’ house and accused me for bringing men and sleeping in his bed. He told them his house is full of dust. He had no food to eat, because I was busy with men, didn’t have a time to cook for him and to clean his house.
It was my Mom, who came and narrates his ugly story for me. He arranged with my Mom, the early morning meeting and left the house early.
She rang the bell, I run and open the compound.
“I came early morning, because you are not available after 8 am.” She said before she greeted me.
“Who said that?” I asked.
He forgot a file and came back home, before she sat.
“Which day did you miss food on your table, and where is the room which is filled by dust and gave you a cough?” I asked him.
“Mom, I don’t want to see this she devil in this house when I come back from work. Take her wherever you want, I don’t want to see you here.” Shouted the big brother and left for his office.
I didn’t care for what he said. I told my mom, I’ll go home with you.
“Your father is very angry after he talked to your bro. He said , he won’t accept you in the house anymore. Your little sister will come here and try to stay here with them.”
This sister is 8 yrs younger than me. she’s the second last for the family. When Mom left, I went to church. I meet the pastor on the road. He didn’t mind to hear my problems, he had a book on his hand, that day…he will never be available.
I went to Bethy, I told her everything. I slept there for few days. For about four months, I was spending the night in different girl friend’s house. My sisters were taking rumors, about my being bad girl and running away from home. They were not there when my Mom told me, I was not allowed to go to the family’s house.
I was sexually harassed, I was false accused, I was rejected, and again, my sisters were campaigning around my friend’s until I’d nobody to lend a hand for me.
The most place I hate was- the church
The most people I lost my trust in- my families
My late teen and early twenties, I was in agony. When you have problems outside, you go to your house and rest. You tell your families and get help to solve your problems. My problem started from the family, and I was abandoned by Bethy and all the girl friends who used to come at her place.
They ignored me. I travelled to Egypt and came back in 75 days. I got one good girl friend, and the lady who knows my sisters told my friend’s brother; “Save your sister, she became a friend of Lily. “The lady and her husband was calling my friend’s brother from distance, to make me friendless.
The other friends, my playmate, high school friends were in Europe and America.
But, the family had to stand for me. The new friend, ignored me , run away fro me. After I was lonely for some years, she came to our house and asked me for a walk. That’s when she confessed why she left me.
“They told my brother, you have really changed , you became….”said my friend.
“If I became prostitute or street girl, is that the way for a friend to deal with me? You dressed up mean, you go see a man or to sleep with a man? Nobody knows me. I wish everybody knows, …how I hate Ethiopian men.” I whisper.
“What did you say?”
“You said you hate men?”
“I hate all the guys around. I hate them.”
“I’m avoiding them. We can be good friends.” Said the new friend and apologized.
My big bro made me grew up hating Ethiopian men.
He built a huge wall between me and my families. I never struggle to be loved back or to be the favorite sister again. Our work will reveal us, someday at a time. Why should I fight? I see the world favors, liars, thieves, corrupted people,…etc. in your own family, you can check that. In your local community, or your own church, you can approve it. I never fight for recognition. I don’t like to show off. I’m living a very clean life, far from the cheater boyfriends, funny husbands, crazy family members, people who hate the truth and love to hear lies. I’m always happy the way I live. I love myself, and like the way I am. I never try to make anybody happy with lie.
These days, life is almost cheating your own self. I can’t try it.
The big brother got sick. My Mom and I went to visit him, he looks like a ghost. He was admitted to a hospital next day. Two sisters for three days….and the other two sisters for three days used to sleep under his hospital bed. He said, he doesn’t want to see the other two sisters. My sisters who stayed with him in his house were not allowed to take care of him. He said, he doesn’t want to see them.
My other sister and me, became the tenants of the hospital. We had a small women’s store by then. My sister 8 yrs younger than me and I owned it. Mom used to come every morning to see him and deliver the food for us and for him. After 56 days, he was gone. I call the nurses and told them he died. We followed his body to the room where they keep bodies in the hospitals. He died after midnight.
He died of gangrene. His face was full of blisters and one day the doctors were discussing something. Everybody knew he was HIV positive, except my parents and me. Ten years after his death, the last sister who stayed with him came from abroad. She told me, he tried to rape her after he found out he was HIV positive. That is why I moved my bed to the kitchen and made sure he had no spare kea.
The respected big bro was a child molester, he had an evil agenda to destroy all his sisters, he never succeeded. I’m proud of my God, He is the only protector.
By any chance today, if any family member read this story, I know they’ll oppose me. But, I don’t care. I’m not that little girl who was afraid to face the world. When I was staying in abroad, the family opened a school after his name.
The late big bro’s signature was the name of the school. I worked as principal for one year. One little girl was raped by two teachers and my brother who was the founder of that school, run to cover the story. But he wanted the teachers to be punished. This was the younger brother who whipped the Caresser. I went to and visited the little girl. I went to police station to give my testimony about the two teacher’s behavior. The little girl quit school. Her parents divorced. The police was negotiator to drop the case and to take some money with the little girl’s mother.
I said: “A school named after the rapist, can’t have a good teacher.” …A whisper for myself.
I saw my younger brother has forgotten what we had been through.
The girls’ll never forget.
One man was sexually assaulting six girls. Their age range was from 1 year to 16. I could guess my Mom’s late cousin could be 16 by then. We were very little girls.