Before I tell you my story, I must say that English is not my native tongue so excuse me if some of the metaphors I’ll use sounds weird.
I was born in Africa, but grew up in the Middle East, in Syria to be specific. Believe me when I tell you, that country used to be a very colourful and beautiful country. And I love it more than I love my own country, because the only memory I have from my country was the civil war. When I came to Syria, I felt a sense of security and safeness for the first time in my life.
But , everything was not heavenly there. The Syrian people are amazing in the way they make you feel welcome. But in every place, you meet the good, the bad and the worst people, and Syria was no exceptional.
This happened to me when I was in the 6 grade, so I was about 11 years old, but even though I was a child, my body looked like a 16 years old girl, but I still had that childish facial, so no one would mistake me for a teenager if they looked at me.
. The schools in Syria requires to wear uniforms. And that day, my uniform was missing some buttons, so I had to go to the local shop to by some. I never had problems with owner of that shop before that day, since I never went there alone before.
The minute I step in, I had that dread feeling, and that feeling increased when I saw how the owner looked at me. He scanned me from head to toe. I told him what I wanted and he went back to get it. When he came back with the buttons, I put the money at the disk and reach out for the buttons. As I was taking the buttons, he grabbed my hand.
He said. ¨ Don’t worry, I just want to see if the buttons suits you’’. Then he took one button and grabbed my shirt, as if he was looking if the colour matched. At that point, I was beyond horrified and the fear paralysed me. I couldn’t talk or do anything. But when he proceeded to touch my breast and making weird sounds, I pushed away his hand and ran out of that place. I ran like the devil was behind me, I didn’t even bother to take the buttons or the money, I just ran. I didn’t even look to see if he was behind me.
I reached home out of breath and still shaking. My mother asked me what’s wrong. But I couldn’t tell her. My child mind didn’t understand what happened, so how would I explain to her? I just told her that some kids jumped me and took the money. She believed me, since it wasn’t the first time.
I blocked that memory for nearly 10 years, for 10 years I hated my body and I didn’t know why, and I intentionally gain weight to look less attractive. The day I remembered what happened, I was watching a documentary about the sexual scandal in the catholic church. That night I dreamed about the incident and after that I was depressed for nearly two months.
The only person who knows what happened was my school’s counsellor, I had to tell someone, for me to be able to move on.
I don’t know what happened to the shop owner, I never told my parents or any of my friends, it is 10 years too late now.
Now that Syria is destroyed by the war, I hope he’s dead, or at least suffering somehow. I’ll meet him again in the next life. That, I’m sure of.