Nano, is what my family nicknamed me because I was the youngest grandchild for a while (and the shortest). This is a story about how I lived through an abusive father, sexual assault, war, divorce, suicide attempt and becoming a refugee in South Africa. It took a lot of courage to share my story with you and my intention is to firstly raise awareness on what is happening in the Arab queer community and secondly to perhaps help QPOC overcome the struggles that we face throughout our lives.
Chapter 4: ripe
Innocence is a flower which withers when touched, but blooms not again, though watered with tears.
“You look ripe.”he said. I asked him “what do you mean?”and without answering he smiled at me and started driving. I had no idea where we were going, all I know was the fear and terror that I was going through. I felt like I was frozen in time, I felt my spirit was slowly leaving my body and as my spirit drifted away I can feel my innocence being erased. Even though he hadn’t touched me yet, I felt dirty. He kept driving and all I was doing was looking out the window looking at people passing by hoping they would save me. I looked into people’s eyes hoping they’d understand what was about to happen. I was watching boys walking down the street and all I wanted was to be them, I wanted to scream so badly but I couldn’t. My voice was gone as if I never learned how to speak. I felt numb, I couldn’t feel my legs and I couldn’t move.
Note: The following content contains sexual violence.
He parked somewhere dark and under a tree – it was night time and I remember hearing the mosques calling for prayer. He looked at me and said “What do you want to do?”
I didn’t respond, I couldn’t say a word.
He said “السكوت علامة الرضا” which means “silence is a sign of acceptance”.
I still did not say anything as much as I wanted to scream. He touched me on my thigh and felt the knife in my pocket. His reaction? He laughed.
He took out the knife out of my pocket and placed it on the dashboard of the car and said
“Do you want to hurt me?”
I said “No – but I don’t want you to hurt me”
He answered “I’m not going to hurt you, we’re going to have fun and you want this”. He continued by saying “The knife is right here if you’d like to stab me – but I know you won’t”.
In these moments when his penis was inside my throat – I started thinking of how ironic and repulsing it was that as this was happening I can hear the mosque calling people like him to go and worship Allah.
He put his hand on my thigh again and started feeling me up – I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I wasn’t looking at him at all which is why I barely remember what his face looks like, I don’t think I ever looked at him straight in the eye. He got close to me and kissed my neck and all I could smell was that disgusting cigarette that he just had. He grabbed my hand and put it on his penis and I felt he was aroused. That was my first time ever feeling another man’s penis. He unzipped his pants and took out his penis – grabbed me by my hair and forced me to go down on him. I started crying and I thought that it would make him stop if he saw how traumatized I was and how badly I wanted him to stop. Instead, he was aroused even more and said ‘I like it when boys choke’. He did not stop – he put his hand down my pants and started fingering me. I thought of reaching for the knife but I couldn’t – the fear that was consuming me made me feel like I was an object and no longer a human being. I was dying, I physically felt like these moments are the last moments of my life and I truly did die. There is something that left me, I don’t know what it is but Nano was gone, I couldn’t see him anymore. In these moments when his penis was inside my throat – I started thinking of how ironic and repulsing it was that as this was happening I can hear the mosque calling people like him to go and worship Allah. Adhan is the term used for Muslim Call To Prayer (which is equivalent to church bells). Part of the prayer translates to “God is the greatest. There is no deity but God” and all I can think of in that moment was where was God to save me? According to Islam, Allah/God can see and hear everything. So why did he not do anything to save me?
I tried to escape these moments by thinking about homework, music, my friends – I did not want to exist in that place so I tried to escape reality by pretending I was not there.
After about 5 to 10 minutes (which felt like years to me) – he finally ejaculated. As disgusted and as appalled I was – I felt so much relief. I was relieved it was over. He cleaned up and said “well done”. He put his underwear and trousers back on. Gave me tissues to clean up and without saying anything, started the car and started driving. On the way back to my place, he stopped at a store and bought a couple of packets of chips and gave them to me saying “This is your treat”. During the drive back home we did not speak at all, the silence in the car was so loud that I could hear my heart beating. All my senses were elevated.
He dropped me off nearby my house and I was so relieved to get out of the car. As I was opening the door he grabbed my hand and said ” I’ll see you again tomorrow “. I left the car and started walking back home. Have you ever started crying without realizing you were? Tears were running down my face as I was walking and I couldn’t stop them. I had to look decent when I got back home so I wiped my tears and went upstairs. Mama opened the door for me and she hugged me tightly, the pain and agony that were consuming my heart holding my tears back was one of the most heart wrecking moments of my life. I couldn’t tell her. I love Mama more than anything in the entire world – if I had the power – I would give years away from my life and add them to my Mama’s. No amount of English, Arabic, French words can describe how much I love Mama. You know how everyone says I have the best mom? Well, I have the best Mama – it’s a fact and not a feeling. I couldn’t tell her, my purpose in life is to make Mama happy so why would I break her heart like that? I decided to deal with it on my own.
I went to my room, got undressed, took a towel, went to the bathroom, grabbed a razor and I knew what I had to do.
to be continued.
© Adnan Al Mouselli