I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.
A while ago? Anaxantis asked. Yes, he raped me a while ago. Exactly nine months and two days ago. What's that? Nine months or nine minutes. It's the same. And it is in the past, you say? Then why is it still happening, every day, every time I close my eyes? Every time I hear someone behind me, and I don't know who it is? How is it that I get an almost irresistible urge to kill anyone who happens to touch me unexpectedly? Tell me, Hemarchidas, how do I forgive, let alone forget, something that is still happening, that keeps happening over and over? How? How do I do that?
So I let my shame own me, kill me, wilt me away into a thousand dead flakes, knowing if I kept it all in, she would never have to learn the dirtiness that was forever inside me--the bad, the ugly, the twisted. She could go on living her life happy, just like she deserved.
Imagine the message that sent to my sister and me. A cousin violates us, confesses, and walks away with barely a slap on the wrist. I learned at a young age that if I was ever going to see justice for the wrongs done to me, I had to find it myself.
Raped at age nine by a relative and pregnant at 14 Oprah Winfrey, like many others have experienced the wickedness and brutality of our society. Sadly, it’s an environment where blood lines no longer hold.