It was in January when my mother asked me to go to the supermarket and buy her shampoo.
I was thirteen.
I put on my shoes and went on my way.
I walked through the alleys of the neighborhood taking every shortcut I could find so that I could buy my mother the damn Shampoo and be able to get on with my Playstation game.
One alley was dark, but I’d crossed it a million times before that I knew every stone in it. I turned on my flashlight and went my way. There was someone behind me. I felt his steps speeding up as I neared the entrance of the alley. I slowed down in attempt to get him to pass me by, so that my insecure heart would be comforted. But he slowed down as well. I gripped my fingers around the 10.000 L.L. bill mother gave me. And I swallowed. My heart was beating fast, but I decided to “be a man” about it and get on with walking. My father had often told me a real man should never be scared. A real man would kick another man’s ass if he tried to steal his money.
And for some reason, I felt in my every bone that the person behind me was a man. I felt with my every bone that he was after my money. So I took Daddy’s advice. I shook off my fear. And I went inside the alley with hurried footsteps.
My heart counted the seconds. They were five – I still remember.
My memory goes blank when I attempt to remember the haziness of the moment.
I thought he was after the 10.000 L.L.
I was wrong.
I remember being shoved from the back to the floor. My knees were skinned. My hands attempting in vain to stop my fall. Anger boiled inside of me. My father voice rang in my ears. Get up and fight!
I tried to get up, but before I could move, I could feel the blow when the man kicked me in my stomach.
I remember lying on the floor feeling pain I’d never known. I hugged my stomach as I flailed on the ground. But I held on to my 10.000 L.L. I was surprised he didn’t give a damn about it.
He turned me on my stomach and held my hands tight in his, pinned to the filthy floor, and got on top of my back. I did not get it. What is he doing?
My instinct and my values told me to fight. So I resisted. I tried with my hardiest might to get the man off me but I could not, and I came to face the limit of my strength. I was overpowered.
I started to scream, but the night was not my ally. He pinned both my hands to the floor with one hand and put his other hand in my mouth to stop me from screaming.
I bit his hand, and he gave me a blow to the head that nearly knocked it off.
“3am tenme7in ya louteh? 5allik tenme7in 3al mazbout!”
He took my basket-ball shorts off, and grabbed my ass with one free hand, the other still pinning mine to the floor. At that point I could not scream. I was too dizzy to move or to resist. I remember the feeling of his fingers creeping inside my ass. He bit my shoulder.
Then he took off his pants. My mouth was full of dirt and my attempts to scream were swallowed by my flowing tears: “shou 3am ta3mol? 3mol ma3rouf wa2if. Betrajjek wa2if.”
But he took his fully erected dick and started to put it inside me.
At first, a burning feeling. I remember the smell of his sweat as he forcefully fucked me, the darkness that stretched before me in the alley, the light at the end, the taste of my own salty tears mixed with the dirt, and the sound of his moans as he neared orgasm. I felt them. And I remember each and every one of them. But I remember not how much it hurt. Because it did not. I was numb. I was hollow.
“Heik bienme7no ya louteh,” his husky voice haunts my every dream.
Mine was muffled through the tears: “Plz wa2if. 3am betrajjek.” I was crying like never before.
I could not resist anymore. I saw butterflies and rainbows. I felt my mother’s lap and smelled her perfume on my skin as she sang me a lullaby. I was powerless, and for the one time in my life, I wanted to remain powerless in hopes of staying in that dream-like world I saw in the midst of my rape.
When he finished I did not move. I barely felt his dick out of my ass. And I barely had any energy to pick myself up. I heard him stand up, get dressed. He spit at me.
I cried but my tears meant nothing. I was weak. I was not man enough. I deserved it.
I tried to move, my every bone hurt me. But I felt one final blow as he kicked me on my back. I lay there for an eternity. When I finally gathered power enough to get up, I went home. I told my mother I was bullied again, only to hear my father yelling at me for being too weak a man; that I’d become a shabb.
“Walaw? Ma fik tdefi3 3an 7alak? Ya 3ayb el shoum 3leik.”
My mother told me to take a shower and clean up. It was the longest shower I ever took, but still I felt filthy.
I was not a man. I was ashamed of myself for disappointing my father, for being weak and so defenseless.
That night I slept wishing I would never wake up. That night my nightmares began. That night my childhood was raped. I became an adult.
Seven years have passed since it happened. And till this very day, the face of the rapist haunts my sleep. I often cry to remember what he looked like, but I recall that I never actually saw him.
I have not only sworn vengeance, but I have sworn to give up my manliness if that was its result. I have sworn to fight for every woman and man overpowered by the dominance of the beast called manliness. I have sworn to give my life for every child traumatized by any rape. I have sworn to stand against every injustice, and fight for my own rights and those around me.
Today, I write my story. God knows it took me a lot of tears. But tears are, unlike what my father said, a weapon. And through these tears I will conquer the world, and through the tears I will be there for the world, not as an object of sympathy, but of admiration, and I shall hold them proudly.
I am a man whose “manhood” was taken.
I am a man who cries.