Thursday, February 02, 2006

Haunting Me

Everywhere I go I see your face
Every sound I hear is the sound of your voice
Why are you haunting me?
Why can't I let you go
Why are you haunting me?

What does it matter?
What's done is done and I should get on with my life
Why are you haunting me?

Well, I don't know what it means
But I can't seem to make myself forget
Why are you haunting me?



It was my bi-yearly visit to my family Doctor. I was coughing a lot and was complaining from a sore throat. My Doctor suggested that I take a throat culture. “I guess that would be okay if it will make me feel better, but what exactly is throat culture”, I asked? “Oh, it’s nothing. I will take a little stick and put it in your mouth. The stick will be put in your mouth until it gets to your throat. At that point you will feel a little uncomfortable and will feel the need to cough a few times. I will then take the stick out of your mouth and the test will be over before you know it. No big deal.” he replied.

I started to sweat. My body started twitching. Please no! I changed my mind. I don’t want a throat culture. “I know some kids are a little bit scared at first, but I promise that it will be uncomfortable for only a few seconds”, he said…The doctor told me to open my mouth, but I refused. This was something new to him. No child had ever refused to open his mouth before a throat culture. How odd...He forced my mouth open, and I began to scream. I guess he felt that I was scared because I was only an 11 year old kid. He didn’t realize that there was a lot more behind my reaction.

“It’ll be okay, it’ll be over in two minutes”, he said. But my body was shaking furiously. My Doctor held me down. But I wasn’t going to allow him to put that stick in my mouth. So I started kicking. He called his wife; the nurse, into the room. She held down my legs so that I wouldn’t be able to kick. The Doctor called the secretary in to hold down my hands (hey, this sounds a little familiar). My mother, who brought me to the Doctor, held the rest of my body down while the Doctor stuck the stick in my mouth. I was screaming on the top of my lungs. I was gagging. After I coughed a few times I threw up and started to cry.


My Doctor said that he had never before seen such a reaction from a patient. I mean what can be so traumatizing about an innocent throat culture. What was the big commotion all about?

I guess he never had a large penis shoved down his throat. He never experienced being an 11 year old boy choking and gagging on a penis that was forced down his throat, when there’s no air left in the world for you to breathe from. And he doesn’t know what it feels like to know that the only thing my abuser would tell me to give me any hope was that “it would be over in two minutes”...My doctor gave me a lolly pop and told me to cheer up.

(Note: A "flashback" is a common phenomenon among survivors of sexual abuse. It can happen at any time and in any place. It is especially frequent when an event that is happening to you in your life, triggers you , and reminds you of similar situations that you experienced in your past. There was really nothing to be scared of at the Doctor's office, but it flashed me back to similar situations that were painful to me in my past [i.e. sexual abuse revolving around the mouth]...Many times flashbacks and exact memories of traumatic events arent 100% accurate, and very often survivors of sexual abuse may not be 100% clear and accurate as to the exact details of the abuse - which is normal and understandable. Needless to add that abuse is still abuse regardless of the exact details).


I speak to Rabbi’s and different religious figures about my life. I ask them for advice as to what I can do to improve my life. How can I heal? How can I make peace with God and religion? How could God have aloud this to happen to me? Why did he screw up my life?

I usually get the same type of responses. “Learn Torah (even if you don’t want to). Davening is crucial and important. Even when you don’t want to – pray , and pray with a lot of Kavanah. Make sure to make brachos before and after you eat…This usually gets me angry…Hey Rabbi; I have a question for you… “I recently went to Eichlers and bought that new Brachos book. It tells you what Brachos to make on what foods etc… But there was something missing that I wanted to know about. What Bracha do you make on an older mans dick? And do you make a “Borei Nifashos” or an “Al Hamichya” afterward”?


Blogger batdina said...

hi there, i don't know if you saw my blog before i took it down, i'm a survivor too. i have been reading your blog and feel for you. i understand your reaction to the rabbis, when they tell you to just do the motions. i have been there; i am there. email me if you want.

10:26 PM  
Blogger turquoiseblue said...

I feel SO so sorry for you and what you went thru as a little child...

And as a mother of my son - I am soooo scared chas v'shalom this should'nt happen to him.

I don't think these rabbi's know how to deal with this - the answers they gave are by far the WRONG answers.

A story comes to mind: After the holocaust - someones friend decided to became non-religous, stop believing in G-d (cv), because of all the horror he had witnessed and lived through. This friend begged him to come just once to the (Klausenberger?) Rabbi that was in town - and AFTER that he should make his final decision.

When he came to the Rabbi - he started crying: Rabbi - the cold-blooded Nazis killed my dear father, kind mother, dearest brothes, and sweet and gently baby sister... and all they left was this lowly me. WHY? I guess there is no G-d (cv).

The Rabbis reaction? He started crying right along with him: I know, I know - me too - they called all the good ones and left only the lonely me.... And so they sat there crying for hours together...

And this guy remained frum. Because of the EMPATHY that this rabbi showed him - instead of preaching to him.

I think that would be a more appropriate reaction from the Rabbis you ask for help with.

May I take the liberty to suggest something to you? Perhaps, you can think of a way to help IDENTIFY and PREVENT such perverts within our frum community, support innocent and helpless child victims, and adult survivors... set up an organization? or even start small. Maybe this can help give you the solace you seek. Just a thought.

SO MANY MANY children were hurt during their most impressionable and helpless years... there's GOT to be a way to stop this perversive criminality!! Raping children is the lowliest of lowliest crimes!

(Do you think therapy would help you cope with these awful, awful memories?)

10:35 PM  
Blogger turquoiseblue said...

a link you might appreciate (cut & paste) that ponders similar questions you ask - Does Hashem care?

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Rabbi Yosef Blau said...

Your writing is so powerful that it is impossible not to be affected by your pain. Rabbis are not trained and they can be insensitive. So many people are incapable of feeling guilt for the wrongs they have done and you are filled with guilt for being abused as a child. May the act of writing the truth be healing.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

this si really some very strong material here
I am in total shock and I thought I was too much

8:31 AM  
Blogger Bughouse Square said...

I can relate to what you said too. I am also a survivor. I hate flashbacks with a passion.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Vicki Polin said...

Just wanted to send a note to thank you for your courage to start this blog.

Healing from sexual abuse can be extremely challenging at times. Coping with flashbacks, and trying to find understanding doctors, rabbis and friends can also feel nearly impossible.

Your reaction to a throat culture is a common reaction that many survivors of sexual abuse experience. It saddens me that your doctor is unaware of the reactions of someone who was abused in childhood. I am so sorry you had to go through what you did, and continue to. I'm sure you know you are not alone, and that there are people (survivors and non-survivors) out here that care and want to help.

I'm also so disappointed that the majority of our rabbis are not educated in how to deal with survivors. It's so frustrating to know that very few have taken the time out to learn. Your questions about God, healing and religion are all so valid. They are the questions asked by so many survivors I speak to on a daily basis.

Thanks again for starting this blog, and for sharing such personal information about your life.

10:14 AM  
Blogger nobodyshome said...

whilst reading your blog, even though i knew most of this already, i felt my heart stop beating for a few seconds and i almost hurled. i wish there was a way that i could help you. it sounds like u have not made much progress since we last spoke.

side point: how is it that at your age u have never had to have a throat culture before?

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

believe it or not, there are times I am pefectly fine when I see my doctor. There are other times I'm not. I could have a throat culture done a zillion times and be fine. But then there is that one day things are just off. Poof, I'm in flashback city.

I don't know if that's the same for AngrySoul, but it's been my reality.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

By all means continue blogging, provided you feel it helps. Do seek an empathetic rabbi to help you keep your beliefs. The Yeshiva University School of Social Work in New York might be a good place to look.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Jewish Survivors Of Sexual Violence said...

Because of the discussion going on in this blog, I thought the following article that I just posted on my blog would be interesting to discuss.

Rabbis Investigating Allegations of Sexual Offenses (© 2006) By Vicki Polin

11:48 PM  
Blogger Chana said...

I have been reading for the first time with revulsion and much sadness. I finally broke down sobbing when I read "what bracha do you make..."

May HaShem heal your soul completely and soon.

2:18 PM  

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