My Religion tutor slipped his hands underneath my clothes

Why I do BuSSy? Because it heals me.

Because every story I document, edit, direct and Witness being told on stage, triggers a wound in me and heals it. Every brave moment a storyteller experiences, inspires and empowers me on a very deep level. We all have different coping mechanisms for the traumas and injustices we experience in life. BuSSy is my coping mechanism.

In 2006 I accidentally stumbled upon the project and watched the first performance. It was the first time for me to see women publicly and openly share personal harassment stories.

I recognized myself in several stories. But there was this one story that got me to tears and I instantly felt the urge to shout out ‘Hey! me too!’. Afterwards, I met the founder and director back then, I hugged her and cried.

A year later I sat down wrote my very own untold harassment story and submitted it to the project. Few weeks later I was invited to come to rehearsal and to try out reading my story out loud.

And so in 2007 I went up on Stage and Shared my very own BuSSy story. No one knew it’s mine, except the project members. I never invited my parents for fear it would break their hearts to learn that that had happened to me.

It was one of the most painful yet liberating experiences in my life. I cried after each rehearsal and performance. I had uncovered an old wound but finally I was released.

I felt stronger and empowered.

Then the project kind of grew on me. When shit hit the fan I would take that shit and go on stage. I would take that shit and support others take their shit and go on stage. I still secretly cry everytime I watch a women who had insisted she wouldn’t share, finally step on stage and bravely tell her story.

It’s always a magical moment.

Today and for the first time I disclose the story I first shared anonymously in BuSSy in 2007. I share it again, only this time I do without feeling weak or ashamed.

The Tutor

He used to visit us weekly and sometimes twice a week. I was a chubby child and I didn’t realize what this meant except later on…

At the beginning my mother used to sit at a distance during the lesson. Then gradually she started to leave us and drop by every now and then to check if all was fine. Later on I started to open the door and receive him all by myself.

They trusted him, a family acquaintance and tutored all my cousins. At the beginning his touches were only pats on my back and leg when I did something wrong or lost concentration. Then the duration of his pats grew longer. Then his hands stayed longer on my body and started going over other places. It wasn’t just pats.

First it was above the clothes. Then he would gradually and quietly pull out my shirt and slip his hands underneath it. I didn’t understand what was happening. I thought his pats were just fatherly.

Later on I used to shiver every time the lesson started and he began to play with me. I didn’t shiver from the pats, it’s when his hands went around my body and caressed my skin in such a way. But he used to sense this shiver and tell “don’t be scared”. I wasn’t because I didn’t understand.

All went fine. He came regularly and did what he did and I felt what I felt. But his hands wouldn’t stop going further, discovering my body. They gradually started going downwards. Then they started to move up my legs… till one day they almost reached my panties. Then his hands started to move very strangely all over my body; not as smooth and caressing as before, but with hunger. They were trying to go around the biggest area possible, it hurt.

It was then that I started to panic. This wasn’t very nice. It felt weird and painful. For some reason I felt he wouldn’t stop there.

I just didn’t understand, I wasn’t too young, I was too naïve. And theoretically speaking, I should have already learnt all about it by that age. But I didn’t, just like most of the girls of my generation here in Egypt.

Then one day before he slipped his hand underneath my clothes he started to explain sexual intercourse, as boldly as it can ever be told. But the knowledge at that age and degree of naivety was just too shocking for me to realize where his hands were going.

No they didn’t. All of a sudden he stopped coming, and I didn’t ask why. I just decided to forget all about it. And no it never crossed my mind for a second to tell me my mum that the guy who used to give me Quran lessons told me what you and dad do in bed, nor that his hands, mummy, go over unpleasant not nice areas in my body…

I remember this as if it happened yesterday.

Guilt … shame… frustration…oh that’s ok. It’s only the pain that wouldn’t go away. Sometimes I would try to console myself: “You were too young…It could have happened to anyone..It’s ok…As long as he didn’t …”

But I just couldn’t forgive him or forgive my parents… or forgive myself. Now that I know where and what his other hand must have been doing.

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