Breaking All The Rules: Breaking Silence
by Colleen N. Race
He said: I'm going to teach you. I'm going to teach you how to be a young lady." He taught me how to masturbate him. I was three years old. And he taught me not to tell.
I am moving away from that man next door; I cannot wait to get away; I cannot wait to start school; everything will be new, again. One fieldtrip afternoon, the husband of my teacher caught me atone in a bathroom, and he taught me some even newer games. He peed on Primary. ABCD EFG H---I Don't Remember Grade One. He taught me fear and shame. He taught me well; I don't remember Grade Two. (Only the faded ink on those brittle report cards tells me I was an A+ student. Obviously, there are worries about any child with a row of D's; personally, I worry more about children who have row after row of nice neat A 's.)
By Grade Three, I am perfect. I am less terrified of death than I am of being less than perfect. Every morning, I listen perfectly to the words: " O Canada, in all thy sons command." I cannot sing. I dare not sing. Two of my brothers are preparing their ways to incest me: one by coercion, one by seduction. I am taught by my family not to trust anyone outside the family; this I already know. And only I know, I cannot trust anyone inside my family. I go to school, and I go home. I am, literally, studying and applying my Boolean math at both ends.
And in between, I mate a pained escape into books. I want to hide forever. But the I teenaged boy next door finds me; he is sure to find me--I am eight years old, and I am on my knees in the dirt. I am on my knees in the dirt : because that is where he has shoved me. "Open your mouth. Open wider you bitch; you like it." Over the course of a year, he would teach me to obey, but he could not teach me to like it. My family and I are moving away, moving again. I am nine years old.
I move on to the next school. I decide that, even with all the inherent dangers, it is still and always the safest move to become "teacher's pet": I am reading "at a level years above my age"; my comprehension and my spelling skills are "exceptional"; (I can, in fact, comprehend and spell words and phrases I dare not put to paper: fellatio, cunnilingus, insertion of clothespins and bicycle pumps); I have "a wonderful imagination."