The shame is now his, not mine. A story of abuse and healing.

By Zalmi Orimland

I was once a victim of sexual abuse. This is my story how I am now living as a survivor of sexual abuse.

I grew up as an orthodox frum boy and was extremely conscientious about the laws, always wanting to do what hashem wanted of me and what I was told was the “right thing”. I did not know much about sex and for a long part of my childhood, I was very innocent and naive.

Here is the story of how that all changed:

I grew up in Israel but went to schools that were mostly attended by Americans. I was sometimes mocked for being an Israeli and felt very left out. There was an older boy in the school who always made me feel special by giving me attention. One Friday night after the Shabbos meal, he asked to speak with me. I walked with him and we ended up in my room. As we spoke, he began to introduce sex into the conversation. Asking me if I’m ever aroused and questions of that nature. Next thing I know, he placed his hands on my private parts – I froze. I was so nervous, my heart began to beat but I was unable to move. He told me this is very normal for people to do, they just don’t talk about it. I guess that was my cue not to tell anyone.

The next Friday night, the same thing repeated itself only this time it escalated even further. This time he gave me oral sex. I had known nothing about sex until the week before and here he was introducing me to it in the darkest way possible. I demanded to leave and I returned to the meal. Again he reminded me that I was not tell anyone about this.

The next week it continued even further. He took me back to my room after the meal and this time forced me to perform oral sex on him. I told him I couldn’t breathe but he wouldn’t stop. This went on for some time but it is difficult to continue writing this out. As I am writing this, I can’t stop crying. I was never the same after what he did to me. I became a stranger to myself. My life changed forever. I can’t even remember the last time I was able to sleep without having a nightmare about this strange man forcing himself on me.

I began to drink and alcohol became a real escape for me. I attempted to commit suicide multiple times but was unsuccessful.

Every Friday night, I am reminded again of what he did to me. I can not enjoy a Friday night anymore. Impossible. It’s always filled with memories of the abuse.

For years, I’ve asked myself “why me?” What did I do at such a young age to deserve the hell? I want to feel like a normal person. I want to feel loved.

All this changed thanks to JCW. Victims began speaking up and I started realizing that I am not alone. I saw others trying to live a better life and I too wanted to become a survivor.

At around the same time, someone finally had the guts to ask me what is wrong. They said they knew I was hiding something from them. I had so much anger and so much hate – there must be something they don’t know about me. Thank G-d for this man! I began crying and couldn’t stop and I let it all out. I told him the story I just told you.

He encouraged me to get help and I began doing so. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to JCW and shared my story with them. It took them 2 hours to get hold of my abuser. He admitted to everything and I felt tremendously vindicated. I started crying like a young child. At that moment, I felt like my life changed forever. I was scared for so long that my abuser would deny what he did to me. But he did not. 2 or 3 weeks after JCW spoke to my abuser, he came to California, where I now live, and I met with him 1 on 1.

Leading up to that day, I was so nervous but I was ready when it came. I let everything out on him. All the hell he put me through; the baggage he forced me to carry for so long. It is now his to carry. The shame is on him – it is no longer on me.

In short, I walked into the room a victim and walked out a survivor. I felt like a bomb that was inside me finally dropped. I left that room determined to change and not wanting to run away from life anymore.

Thankfully, I was introduced to JCW and they helped me to get justice from my abuser. I have no words to thank JCW for literally changing my life forever! I no longer feel perpetually lonely, judged, hated and shameful.

They gave me the hope that I can get better and become a normal person again. I no longer need to lead my life feeling hunted.

It is now time to put the past in the past and let it go. I can help myself; I can help others. I will not let anything get in my way. It is no longer “why me”, it is “Try me”! Bring it on! I am ready to face the world.

Life can be beautiful but we need to change our perspective sometimes. Peace and love to all victims of sexual abuse. We can become survivors and live a life we never thought possible. I am proof of that.

Thank you JCW for giving me and so many victims another chance at life.

To all victims: Please share the pain that you have with someone else you trust. It is crazy how much some people really care. Call JCW. They are amazing. It took me a long time to open up but once I did, I feel like I am out of a cage

I was locked in for years. I wish I came out of it earlier but it’s never too late!

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