It Did Not Stop

When I was a 13-year-old girl,
My parents were a little strict with me.
But they’re my parents,
And I could never let go of them.
When I grew up,
I knew that we couldn’t function as a normal family.
I was subjected to violence by my mother and father.
My siblings too.

I remember the first time he hit me.
I was 12 years old.
I was beaten because I talked to a boy on Facebook.
When mama asked me about him,
I told her the truth.
She promised not to tell baba,
But she told him anyway.
He waited until she went to work,
And grabbed a belt, cups,
And anything you could imagine,
To hit me with.
He even sat on me and beat me.
Baba is very fat,
So I couldn’t breathe.

I still have scars on my body from his beatings.
My mother’s reaction when she got home from work was,
“Shame on you.”
That’s it.
She didn’t yell, fight, or do anything.
Later that day:
“Eat,” she told me.
“No, I don’t want to,” I replied.
She hit me and said,
“You deserved it,
So you’d stop being a bitch.”
That was the first time I was beaten,
But not the last.

I was beat up again many times.
Once because I didn’t tidy up while I was studying.
Other times, because I got home late after my private lessons.
And many other times for no reason at all.

He used to chase me around the apartment and beat me up.
He used to pull my hair,
Tearing out some of it.
One time,
I had to stay at home for 20 days.
I didn’t know how I could attend classes looking the way I did.

But there was more.
Baba would sometimes sneak into our room,
Where my sisters and I slept.
He would make up an excuse to sleep next to me.
I would wake up at night,
To find him caressing my body,
And rubbing his body against mine.
When I told my mother, she said,
“You’re disgusting,
And you’re trying to put the blame on your father.”

My mother used to always take my bedroom key away,
Because I used to lock the door at night while we were sleeping.
When I made a new key,
They thought I was being disrespectful.
How could I make a new key? —to protect myself—
Without telling them?
I took a beating that day.
When I got a lock,
And was about to install it,
My father swore that if I installed it,
He would kick me out.
“If you install it,
I’ll kick you out of the house, naked,” he said.
I installed it anyway when they weren’t home.
I took a beating,
But I didn’t care.

He hasn’t come near me since then.
But I learned recently that he touched my 13-year-old sister’s breasts.
My sister told me what happened in tears.
I couldn’t say anything.
I didn’t know what to say to her,
Because we were both in this shit together.

We’re beaten and scolded over any problem.
They grab a knife and threaten us with it.
When I push my mother away while she’s beating me, she says,
“Have you lost your mind?
You’re laying a hand on me?”
I’m only trying to defend myself.

I’m grown up,
And I’m in university now.
The fights haven’t stopped.
I don’t want to live in this house anymore.
Seeing my siblings being treated like animals every day,
Breaks my heart.

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