He called Me Jezebel
Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness. — James Thurber
The descriptive words associated with this stereotype are singular in their focus: seductive, alluring, worldly, beguiling, tempting, and lewd yet one word sums it up Jezebel. Imagine being a little girl innocent called that named?
December 31,1985, an eleven year old girl, who played with Barbie Dolls and dreamed of marrying Michael Jackson. At a time where my eyes could only see the good in people. She could never see the monster in the man who preached the Gospel, carried around a bible and the father figure she so desperately seeking. He was supposed to be the man who would take the place of her absent father and a man of the cloth who teach her the word of God.
I loved him like any little girl would a father. I trusted him and I could never for-see the harm he would cause me to change my views on love, on trust and most of all how I saw myself.
Some stories are better forgotten but this particular one will never erase from memory. The night I was molested is as vivid as the events that happen ten minutes ago. The night was cold, small snow flakes fell but didn’t stick, the trains in New York City were free and what I was led to believe was I getting something to eat. He spoke to me about the meaning of Jezebel, that she was a wicked woman who led men to do bad things they didn’t want to do and that she was a whore, a slut and wicked. As naive as I was even I couldn’t understand why he said those things. A man who pretended to be kind, to be a man who so deeply loved God was now revealing the Wolf in sheep’s clothing.
We enter the dark apartment, cold and the moment he kissed me like a grown woman, the moment he touched my breasts and threw me on the bed and molested me. He kept repeating, “that like my mother I was Jezebel. That I was a pretty whore with a big butt.” He took what wasn't his my virginity. He took away my innocence, my ability to trust and love a man without fear. He etched an image all pastors were bad men and that I was a Jezebel.
Silently, I was angry at God and even at the day December 31st wishing it didn't exist. For years, I would find ways to avoid going to church because I despised Pastors.The word Jezebel rung in my ears and awaken memories of that awful night.He instilled that I was a dirty person and being the reader I was I feared dying like her.
While many of my friends would rejoice in their New Year’s eve I made the choice to sulk.I refuse to celebrate the day because for me it was celebrating what he did and I couldn’t. It was the day that I was no longer a little girl. It was the day he killed my trust, my faith that I would ever have a man who would see me honorable. I couldn’t look another man in his eye and not see his face for a brief moment. As hard as this is to write I needed to for ME.The end result drifted in misery, tears, and anger because I suffocated with nightmares and shame of this ugly event that happen to me.
My fears sat in me for a longtime that God didn't love me no more because I was a naughty little girl. That I would go to hell for not being a virgin and married. I remember he always called me his Jezebel. The name itself means “there is no prince/nobility/husband,” suggesting a lack of character (i.e. implying lack of royal sensibilities) or of morality (i.e. unmarried, implying adultery or fornication). Jezebel became associated with false prophets. In some interpretations, her dressing in finery and putting on makeup before her death led to the association of use of cosmetics with “painted women” or prostitutes. It was what I felt like a whore or dirty no man would marry me.
It was my eleven-year-old mind that he filled with words that I shouldn't have been so pretty and a body of a grown woman. I shouldn't have smile like I did. He walk in my room reminding me my mother loved him too much to believe he would do such things to me. I was scared of my mother thinking it was my fault.I afraid of the beating that would come if I told the truth.
I questioned myself for a long time on why did this happen to me? Did I hug him too much? Maybe I shouldn't have kiss him on the cheek. Was my nightgowns too short? Why didn't I see the evil in him? Why did I wait until four days later to only tell my brother and not my mother what happen? My brother at the time being so protective of his sister trying to beat him up. My brother who slept in my bed with a bat. My neighbor Blanche keeping me at her house so I was safe from harm.I torture and chain myself to the whys and what ifs of that night. I did for so many years and punished myself believing it was my fault. It altered me and no child should ever feel this way. The fear of the word Jezebel and the fear of pastors. The fear of her innocence being stolen and her soul tainted to distrust God.
It was the neighbor who saw the change in me because of my talkative nature I sat in silence and cried. When I begged to sleep at her house and not my own home because he was still there.The way I would sit in the cold until he left because I thought it would happen again. It was her who told my mother not me after I told Ms. Blanche what happen to me. Telling my story over and over again. The police, the rape kits, my mother’s refusal to take me to counseling, the grand jury stand looking at strangers telling what happen and him not spending another day in jail because my mother missed court dates. My journey, yes, painful and rough with all those shackles and feeling as if he own the key to unleash me and the pain.
He had a power over me without ever touching me again and those chains where heavy to carry around. I lived in depression, doubt of love, a pain so deep inside of me. It was my ghost and I lived in a haunted house of that memory every year the clock struck twelve and New Year’s Eve appeared. That rape was not only physically damaging but mentally. I made a vow to never celebrate the coming of the New Year again. I stay true to my word for twenty-six years. Today I break that bondage and he will never have that hold on me again.
That same man who molested me was later arrested and convicted of raping two little girls years later. He contacted me via a letter apologizing and asking for forgiveness. I was paralyzed by anger at first and then fear. I held on to that letter for a year.Re-organizing my junk drawer there it sat with his name on it and finally I found the courage to read it. I read it over and over again as he pleaded and begged for my forgiveness. Something said to let go of all that he had done to me. That I had to forgive him so I can look and see the light. So he would no longer creep in my dreams and disturb my slumber. I had enough and wanted a deeper relationship with God.
I had to look at December 31st not as a day I got molested but another day that God gave me a change to live. All those years, I was just existing instead of living carry around guilt for something that wasn’t my fault. It was his burden to bear and not mines. I gave up the anger and put pen to paper last night and wrote him.
“ You are forgiven.”
It was all that I needed to write to break free.