Looking back at my sexual abuse it was a miracle I am alive today. Most of the men that abused me were drug addicts. They were all hooked on heroin and most of them were intravenous users. This all happened on my block and it all happened to me before 9 years of age. It was the mid 70’s and though the block was very family oriented it didn’t stop them from coming at me. Some would wait for me in the hallway and then cup my mouth and drag me to the basement. They would be quick enough for my mother not to notice I was gone. Sometimes they would ambush me when I was at a friend’s house and it was the older brother or someone’s uncle or cousin.
The worst ones were the babysitter’s sons. She had 2 older boys and they would take turns and then hit me in the ribs or pull my hair to make sure I didn’t say anything. They would reinforce it every chance they got by always taunting me or teasing me and making me cry. All these men would always end up telling me the same thing- If you tell anyone I am going to kill you! I had to wonder if this was a script they each passed to each other. At my young age that was very believable.
I was a little kid at a the time and though it had happened to me many times over till it became a routine I still was absolutely shocked that it would be my neighbors. That it would be people that I trusted and was supposed to feel safe around. Some of these men stood with their wives on the stoops drinking beers as if they had done nothing. Watching me walk by and acting like they hadn’t taken my virtue and hurt me in ways I’ve yet to know. It was the gangsters on the corner that were all rugged and mean. The epitome of machismo. Always being the last one people expected. It never made a difference whether they were great looking or ugly. I’d always catch these men looking at me in ways that would make me so uncomfortable. It was one of the reasons when I was a little kid I was a bed wetter. It also made me act out in ways that made me the least favorite kid with my teachers. I believe it was also one of the reasons I got into books and writing.
I must say though that it would be close to 30 years before the effects of the abuse would not affect my life. It was the reason why I never loved myself enough in my teens. It was the reason I numbed myself with drugs cause of the ugliness they left inside. It was the reason why I had this belief for the white picket fence and the nuclear family snapshot. It took me years to stop the self-hatred to understand that it was not my fault if after a while I actually liked the sex even though my mind was way too young to grasp what was happening. How this attention starved adolescent confused sex with love for a very long time. This would make me think that the thugs, the rough and rugged would be the man of my dreams. Making investments in people that were just as beat up and broken like me.