by ©Samar Edward
Mona was 14 years old, and the youngest of three sisters. Her mother died giving birth to her. Her family was prosperous and respectable. Her father and uncle were in trade (export and import) and owned land, surrounding a mansion, of more than 2,000 square metres.
Her uncle was 45 years old. He lived in a distant area before his wife died. Then Mona’s father, his elder brother, asked him to move in with him, specially as he had no children and was lonely.
Mona’s uncle started harassing her and touching her body in a way she wasn’t comfortable with, but she didn’t mention that to her sisters or her father. This encouraged her uncle to continue his sordid behaviour.
One day she was in the back yard behind some trees, and her uncle suddenly appeared, and he gripped her hand and touched her breasts. He handcuffed her and warned her not to scream. He forced her against a tree trunk and raped her. He threatened her, saying that if she told anyone no one would believe her. He also threatened to kill her if she tried to speak out.
She was very faint and frightened, first by the scandal in her family, and secondly because of her uncle’s open threats.
She became isolated, introverted and without vitality. Everyone asked her what was
wrong, but she was too terrified and distracted to respond.
Her uncle was hunting her down and made plans to trap her alone. He did this six more times, and every day she prayed. He pretended that nothing had happened. The pain was lurking within her, eating her alive. She began to think that she would confide her secret either to one of her sisters or her father. She was afraid no one else would believe her, and would blame her. They would say she was a teenager, and teenagers have strange illusions, and she must stop fantasising.
Would she put rat poison in his food? Would she become a murderer? She thought others would ask why she had not spoken out the first time her uncle abused her.
Why this silence? Was she enjoying herself? Of course not. Everything that happened was against her will, and under threat. If she spoke of it all family ties would be broken. Her father had heart problems.
One night she decided to confide in her elder sister, a lawyer. She was 32 and the wife of a 40-year-old lawyer. In the end she called her sister, Souad, and told her that she had a serious message for her. She asked to go to Souad’s house and tell her, without fear, what had happened.
They agreed that Souad would come to take Mona to her house and spend the night there. Mona told Souad all the details of what had happened. Souad told Mona that she would tell her husband, a lawyer whose judgment she trusted. Souad told her husband. He remained silent for a while and then said to Mona, “Look, Mona, your case is not easy. It’s your word against his. You have no proof of what you are saying. He’s the brother of your sick father. We should have evidence: a picture or video. You must agree to meeting your uncle one last time, to provide evidence.”
“I’m willing to do anything to get rid of this demon.”
“All right, Mona. Remember this is the only way. Let me know what happens.”
Two days later Mona lingered alone in the park near the storage facility which was a cabin for storing the tools of the trade. When her uncle pulled her by the hand into the garden, she said,
“Aren’t you afraid that my father will find out?”
“He won’t believe you. I’m his brother and his business partner and too old to do such things.”
“How can you do this to me, your niece?”
“I desire you, and I can’t do without a woman.”
“You rape me and threaten me.”
“I do anything to satisfy my instinct and desire.”
Mona recorded the whole conversation. She delivered the recording next day to Souad and her husband. They reassured her and asked her to stay calm and do nothing to arouse her uncle’s suspicions A day later Souad invited her uncle on his own to her house for dinner. When he arrived, Souad and her husband confronted him with the evidence and the truth. They insisted that he must leave the country and never come back, or they would expose everything to the courts, in addition to the scandal which he could never live down. She said to him that the family could coordinate the import/export business with her father. Her uncle was never to return, and should think himself lucky.
After two days the uncle left, to everybody’s astonishment. Mona breathed a sigh of relief but there was something broken inside her. Her hopes were not fulfilled, maybe because reality is not like fiction.
Hope lingers like a twilight curtain dancing before us without music, and we have no companion to join us in the dance. Hope is the only dancer and we are just spectators waiting for the end of the dance to applaud.