Ruptured (First 3 Chapters)
(PDF Ruptured Sample 2)
Raped with an untouched soul
She sat there watching the flashing blip on her home computer as her fingers tapped on the desk. She stayed like this for almost five minutes before finally deciding to write something.
She started it off with, Yes, I was raped! She took a deep breath after writing that sentence. Even though it was only a four-word sentence, to her it was like breathing death.
The past year had been a tormenting experience since the night she had been raped by a man on her way home from work. For what it’s worth, the man is now behind bars. The trial took six months and it took her about another year just to be able to put the pieces of her life back together.
She looked again at the blip on the screen. Her body was trembling from all the thoughts and screams running through her mind. She had finally reached a stage where she was able to come out of her own headspace and move forward. She had trapped herself; but what had made her trap herself was not just the fact that she had been raped.
What was more shocking to her was how people had started to look at her and how she heard them whisper behind her back.
“Oh… isn’t she the one who was raped? Look at her, she must have asked for it!” “Poor lady… she has no life. No one would ever marry her now!” She heard these and many other comments, and even the burning looks she was given were enough to set a person on fire where they stood.
The look of utter disgust that filled the eyes of people upset her, of course, but what she found most surprising was that this was the reaction not just of some men, but also a lot of women.
She looked at her computer once more. She was fighting herself so hard to get it out and she knew that once she did, it would mean a new beginning for her, a new beginning that she so desperately needed and longed for.
But it was as if some invisible force was holding her hand back and preventing her fingers from reaching the keyboard buttons.
She lived alone. Both her parents had passed away and she had gone through this entire experience on her own. Despite everything, she hadn’t changed her address or her phone number. She was afraid of death, but was not willing to become invisible and was not planning to give up without a fight.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, looked at the screen again, and began to type.
Yes, I was raped! This is a fact, and the effect that this event has had on my life has been incredibly life-changing, because it has opened my eyes to so many things.
I took a step forward and put the man who did this to me behind bars, and instead of being embraced by a society as a girl who was a victim of a despicable man, I found a society that turned the other cheek and looked at me as if I was some used piece of furniture or used goods that no longer has any value.
I object! I strongly object! I’m a human being just like any of you. If you think that what happened to me makes me less of a person or of lesser value, then you are greatly mistaken.
You have no idea what it is like to live for over a year in constant fear because you feel that you are being watched or followed, or even the feeling of having people speak about you behind your back while you can hear them whispering and murmuring.
You cannot feel the sense of humiliation and disgust I felt towards my body, as if it was stained with the most disgusting and ugliest of substances… to the point that I sometimes thought of setting myself on fire and releasing myself from this misery.
Even though we are in the 21st century, we live as though we are in the Middle Ages. Women are still regarded as objects, and not just by men, but by other women! As a matter of fact, this is where the real problem lies.
I’ve heard several of my friends’ mothers telling them not to talk to me anymore. They do not want their daughters to be connected to me in any way! They do not want them to be a source of suspicion. Am I a victim or am I a source of suspicion?
Even though I crashed many times in the process, I stood up and fought for all that I am worth. The faith I have in God, my reason, and my thoughts are what persuaded me to write these words to you today.
I know some women will think I’m crazy for going out in the open and posting this article, but we have to make a noise because we are made of flesh and blood. We are not pawns. We are not toys. We are not objects of beauty. We are human. Even if some of us are stupid and others are shallow and naive, in the end we are all human.
Dear Reader (whether you’re a man or a woman), no one in the entire world can take away your humanity; no one in the world can say you are not there – because you are.
Do not let anyone try to take from you what is rightfully yours.
Your life is yours. Live it, no matter what the rest of the world thinks. As long as you stand by your beliefs and they are based on ethics and morals, then support them and never let them go.
By the time she had finished writing the article, Farida’s face was red and covered with tears.
She got off her chair and went to the bathroom, where she looked silently at herself in the mirror, then said, “I will not let anyone destroy me! I have a right to live, and by God I will!”
She turned on the tap and as the water began to flow she cupped some in her hand and splashed it against her face a few times before turning off the tap and picking up her towel to dry her face.
Her breathing got gradually steadier as she walked back to her desk and sat at the computer, re-read her article, and fixed the mistakes.
As she sat there trying to think of a title for it, she signed her name: Farida S.
She had to think for a while before finally finding the title: Raped with an untouched soul.
Farida sat there for a few seconds after writing the title. Then she closed the page and opened her e-mail, typed in the address of the magazine in a new message, and attached her article.
She was extremely reluctant to press the Send button; emotionally, she felt she was too weak to reveal what had happened to the whole world like this but, although she might not be well-prepared, she felt she had to. She simply had to.
Farida took a deep breath and clicked Send, then lent back in her chair and closed her eyes. When she sat up again she picked up her cell phone off the desk and dialed a number. It only took a few moments for the other party to pick up.
“Hi, it’s good to hear your voice again. How are you doing?” The female voice on the other end of the line was calm and warm.
“Hi Sara, I’m better I guess. Moving along. So how have you been? Husband and kids and all?”
“They’re all fine, all the same,” Sara replied.
“Good to hear.” Farida went silent for a few seconds and then added, “Listen, I’ve sent you the article we talked about a few weeks ago. I’m sorry for taking so long, but you know it’s difficult for me.”
“Of course, I understand dear, there’s no need to apologize. That’s why I told you to take all the time you need. I’m in no hurry, and remember, your place here at the magazine is very important to us, and we would like you back with us. And girl, you need to go out!” Sara added, trying to make Farida feel at ease.
“Yeah… I guess I do. I’m not too sure I want to, but I suppose trapping myself at home won’t do me any good,” Farida said. “Call me later or e-mail me your thoughts about the article.”
“Will do,” Sara promised. “I’ll talk to you later, and if you need anything, you know you can call me. Anything!”
“Of course I know, thanks a lot, I’m all good for now. I have to get going now.” They exchanged goodbyes and hung up.
Farida laid her head back and closed her eyes. Every time she tried to relax, she was haunted by that day. The vision of the man who raped her and the whole scene kept running through her mind.
Farida couldn’t figure out why this had happened to her or what she had done to deserve it. She wasn’t the kind of woman to wear revealing clothing but she didn’t dress like a nun either; her style was casual but conservative; she was a rather beautiful, tastefully dressed young woman.
What have I done to deserve this? This was the question that never left her head.
She lost a lot of things the day she was raped, but the peak of her loss was her sense of pride. It had taken her the last year to put herself back on her feet.
Farida shook her head, trying to get these thoughts out of her mind. Every time she got them, a disgusting sense of filth covered her. I need to have a shower, she thought.
A few seconds later, she slid under the warm water and let it cover her. She felt as though she had entered a place she never wanted to leave. The warmth, the water flowing down her body… this was the only place she felt safe. Under the water as it washed away her pain was where she felt pure once again, where she felt unstained.
Farida closed her eyes. As she stood there, the sound of the shower took over her surroundings and she began to cry, her salty tears mixing with the trickling water as they ran down her cheeks.
She cried for about ten minutes, letting her tears flow incessantly until all her emotions were out. This was the one place where she could let herself go and let out all the pain.
It happened every time; when she finally began to regain her composure, she would pick up a bar of soap and a sponge, rub the sponge against the soap, and scrub her body so hard that she would often accidentally scratch herself when her fingers slipped from the sponge.
She remembered the feel of his grip and where each finger of his hands had been, and she would rub her neck so hard that it turned red as she tried to remove any traces his hands might have left on her neck.
A few minutes later Farida got out of the shower and put on her bathrobe. As she looked at herself in the mirror, she remembered when she first came to Cairo on her own to conquer the world of writing with her articles. Now, two years later, she was twenty-six years old and struggling to conquer her fears. She picked up her hairbrush and began to stroke her hair, still looking silently at her reflection in the mirror.
Farida fainted and dropped to the floor of her bathroom.
Stairs to light
It was quite a while before Farida regained consciousness. The last thing she remembered was taking a shower before everything blacked out.
She picked herself up from the ground, holding her forehead and feeling a bit dizzy, and shook her head for a few seconds. She’d had these blackouts several times since the day she was raped.
Farida headed into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of juice from the box in the fridge, drinking it slowly.
Starting to feel better, she looked silently around the apartment, clearly hearing the laughter of her friends when they used to come over. But now she wants to be alone most of the time; no matter how hard her friends tried with her, she just wanted to be alone, and now her apartment felt too big for her.
Before the rape, her co-workers and schoolmates would be at her place almost every night, having fun and talking about life and different issues. Now she felt like her world was empty. Sometimes she asked herself why she didn’t just commit suicide and get it over and done with.
But she didn’t believe that suicide would solve anything. Not just because her religion banned it, but mostly because she felt it meant running away from the problem, and Farida had always faced her problems head on. Getting past this had become an internal challenge… a challenge that was proving to be the most difficult one of her life. Farida usually fixed other people’s problems, but this time she had to glue back the pieces of her own life and rebuild herself to be able to face life and the society she lived in.
“I need to get out of here,” she whispered to herself.
Farida went into her bedroom and picked out a few things from her wardrobe. She could see the clothes she was wearing the day she was raped still hanging at the far end of the wardrobe, the dirt and rips showing on them. She wasn’t sure why, but she couldn’t bring herself to get rid of them.
She got dressed and looked at herself in the mirror, satisfied with her simple outfit of jeans, short sleeved shirt, and light jacket.
She walked out of her room, picked up her car keys, and checked herself in the mirror one last time before heading out.
“I’ve got to get out there. I need to… I must! I need AIR!” she mumbled to herself as she opened the door. It seemed that her house was the only safe and comforting place from the frightening world outside, but she was not willing to back down.
Farida took the elevator down to the ground floor, where she met Basem the doorman and his wife. She could clearly hear them whispering about her.
“Poor Ms. Farida,” Basem said.
His wife hit him on the shoulder, saying, “You feel sorry for her?! Why not go and comfort her then?! I know you! You always had your eyes on her! That witch!”
Despite this slightly heated conversation, they both smiled at her as they wished her a good day, thinking she had not noticed or heard anything.
Farida headed to her car and slid into the driver’s seat, then closed the door and fastened her seatbelt.
She started up the car and flipped through her CDs. She chose Abd El Halim Hafez and placed it in the CD player and the music began to play the first song, ‘Gabbar’.
Farida lived in the Manial district and decided she wanted to drive by the Nile for a while, so she lowered her window and silently observed the horizon as she drove. It was around five in the afternoon and the sun was preparing to set for the day.
After a while she turned her car around and went in another direction, driving straight towards Heliopolis.
She kept driving until she reached a building with a huge billboard sign on the top. She found a parking spot and walked to the foyer of the building where she stood for a few moments until the security guard came rushing up to her. “Ms. Farida! Ms Farida! Welcome back!!! Please, please come in!”
Trying to smile, Farida replied, “Thank you Ashraf, but I’m…”
But before she could continue her sentence, Ashraf insisted, “Please Ms. Farida, we have all missed you greatly! Everyone will be so happy to see you! Please go inside.”
Farida was a bit surprised, but she also felt a slight sense of joy. Ashraf, the security guard, was an extremely kind person.
Farida nodded silently and said in a low voice, “Okay, Ashraf.” She took a few steps inside and took a long look at the stairs.