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Please sit back and close your eyes while I walk you through my life. The “life of a sexual abuse victim”. I say “life” only because I’m physically alive but in truth, a more accurate term would be “the death of a sexual abuse victim”.
Let’s take a walk to the school in which I attended. Look at me sitting so obediently and doing everything right as to not call too much attention to myself. I didn’t like being rebuked as I was a vulnerable and sensitive child. I was a bit shy although I did have a nice circle of friends.
Half way through the school year, a new Rebbi was brought in. He was the dream Rebbi. He was caring. He was kind. He was charismatic. The boys all adored him. They simply couldn’t get enough of him.
Let’s pause the story and allow me to tell you that there were rumors about this Rebbi being a little socially off. The school in which he was coming from, fired him due to many complaints that he was getting too close to the children and acting very inappropriately towards them. I can’t help but think IF ONLY he would’ve been reported and dealt with correctly.
Let’s return to our story. This Rebbi immediately saw my vulnerability and he was extra kind to me. He showered me with extra love. He gave me special treats. The class called me “Rebbi’s pet”. They were jealous. Very jealous.
As time went on, and he finished his grooming process, I was all his. I completely belonged to him. He then slowly and methodically entered my life. My personal life. My physical life. The life that is to remain untouched by no one until I decide to use it in the right time and the right place.
He would bring me into his car, and would drive away to a secluded park. What went on there is beyond painful to write. I’ll just keep it generic and say that he did the most horrific sexual acts to me and my poor body and forced me to do it to his body. I’ll never forget how his face lit up from the pleasure he was getting while murdering the spark of my soul.
Let’s pause again. IF ONLY he would have been dealt with correctly and been reported to the authorities before he reached my body.
When my Rebbi finished his “session” we drove back to school. Everyone was so jealous of us. I was his favorite student. I was so lucky, or so they thought.
I came back to school in body but my mind was numb. This wasn’t right. This wasn’t okay. Nobody “normal” does this. There must be something integrally wrong with me. I needed his love but I hated the way he gave it to me. If I didn’t run away or fight back, it must be all my fault.
This went on all year long. Each “session” was something else. Each one had a different painful twist to it. Each one was horribly damaging in so many ways.
That year was the last year of my life. Wherever I went and whatever I did, it was only my body doing it but emotionally I was dead. My mind was racing with thoughts of guilt, shame and so many other horrible negative emotions about myself. My grades dropped drastically. I lost my friends. I still remember sitting on the side of the playground, watching everyone play baseball. I couldn’t play because I was dead. Dead people can’t play.
The year finally came to an end and I naively thought that the new year will resuscitate my dead heart and soul. Although this Rebbi finished his sessions with me and went on to his next corpse, it didn’t help me feel alive.
I remember watching a boy enter his car and again everyone seemed so jealous of him, yet I knew the truth. This boy was starting his slow death. Watching this young and pure boy enter his car, I couldn’t help but think, IF ONLY this Rebbi would’ve been reported to the authorities and put away where he belongs.
I made it through elementary school and high school. It was hell on earth. I suffered from extreme anxiety, depression and social phobia. I was a walking shadow. I felt this deep and dark void in me that I thought will never fill up again. Although It was filled with nothingness, it was so excruciatingly heavy and debilitating. I was stuck with horrible shame and guilt that I couldn’t let go of. It was as though everyone was on one side of the world and I was on the other. I, alone, because no one else does this.
My parents had no idea what was wrong with me and sent me for testing and therapy but I couldn’t divulge my secret. I was so internally flawed and horrible that I couldn’t allow someone else to see that in me. It was a secret that I thought I’ll take to my grave.
Again, I naively thought that marriage would solve it all. I somehow got married and was so genuinely happy knowing that all my issues will disappear after getting married. It was the “miracle cure” for my extreme shame and guilt that I carried with me, or so I thought.
From the very first night, I realized that my problems have only begun. Having to preform similar acts in which my abuser did, threw me into severe and debilitating anxiety. I went into a very deep depression. I became suicidal and the first year of marriage which is supposed to be so serene and peaceful was a living nightmare for me and my poor wife.
IF ONLY, IF ONLY, someone would’ve reported him to the authorities and lock him up in jail before he got his hands on me.
When I finally couldn’t take it any longer, I sat down with my wife and with heart wrenching sobs, I told her everything. I said that I won’t be upset if she leaves me. It’s all me and not her. This was all my fault. I “allowed this to happen”. I “enjoyed” his sessions back in the day and this was all on me.
My wife eventually fell asleep but I was up crying all night. I cried more than I ever cried in my life. I cried over the last 15 years of my life. I cried over the end of my marriage. I cried and sobbed bitter tears thinking IF ONLY someone would’ve reported him to the authorities.
The next day was the first day of my new life. I started therapy. I went on medication. I worked and worked in therapy undoing all the damage that was done to me. It’s a long and arduous journey with many ups and downs. With many different side effects from my medication. With days that I thought I’ll never see the sun again and with days that were a bit more sunny. With days that I felt so suicidal that I needed to give my wife my keys as I wasn’t allowed to drive. With days that I was so full of shame of my body that I cut with a razor until I bled as a way to punish my body.
I write this after yet another grueling therapy session trying to heal from the hell that he put me through. Walking the thin tightrope of going back there and reprocessing the trauma without getting thrown back into it. I’m crying again in my car in the parking lot of my therapist, thinking, IF ONLY, The school that fired him would’ve reported him to the authorities instead of just brushing it under the rug. I’m sobbing over all my pain and the pain of that other boy that I saw going into his car so many years ago.
In closing, I beg of you, whoever you are reading this letter, if you are faced with a situation where you can either pretend to ignore an abuser or report him and put away where he belongs, please report him. Please please, don’t allow him to kill another innocent child. Don’t allow him to harm a young and pure teenager. My abuser ruined my life, Please don’t let it happen again.