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‘Tatiana – My Death’
There is a memory that I used to cling to but sadly it is beginning to fade – I am running in the field next to my house in Czechoslovakia as fast as my little legs can carry me. I am three or maybe four years old and to me the field seems to go on forever and ever. It is as though I am running to the end of the world. I am happy! I am free! I am free! I am not in this vile place where married men with wedding bands on, single men, old men and young men used my body every day. Seven days a week the door would open and a man would walk in at any time of the day and have sex with me. At first I refused, I tried to reason with them, I told them I was only fifteen. I tried to fight them . . .
Once I scratched an old man across his face, punched and kicked him as he undressed. Dazed he stumbled around the room, his fat belly flapping about and his trousers at his knees. He went crazy, called out for help and the next thing I knew, I was beaten, held down and raped by four men. The old man laughed and goaded the men on as he watched; afterwards he slashed my arm with a knife, called me ‘Tatiana the tiger’ and said now that I had been tamed he would come back for his turn the next day. As he walked towards the door he laughed as one of the men urinated on me and another kicked me several times in my stomach so badly that for days I passed blood in my urine and I thought I was going to die from the pain. After this happened I realized it was easier to just obey the men and do whatever they asked me to do. I would look at some of the older men and think, ‘Don’t you have a sister, a cousin or a daughter? Is this something that you would want her to go through? Is this something that I look like I enjoy doing? Can’t you see that I am a prisoner in this house being forced to have sex with you? How can you not see this? My blood is on your hands! You are paying a man who has threatened to kill my sister if I don’t lie on this bed and let you do as you please with me!’ I didn’t voice my thoughts because I knew what would happen if I did. I often wondered what would happen if I had a knife . . .
Rape is a vicious thing. It is not gentle or considerate. To the recipient it is violent and painful. I have been held down like a piece of meat while men violated me again and again. They’ve beaten me, they’ve kicked me, they’ve urinated on me, they’ve forced me to take drugs and they’ve treated me like dirt. Did I deserve this? No I didn’t. No one deserved this. Did I try to escape? Every single opportunity that I saw! I have lost count of the number of times I tried to escape from the public bars they took us to. They took us to these ‘Singles’ bars and clubs, lied about our ages, and men paid for our company or to have sex with us in dirty toilets or in the alley at the back. Every time I tried to escape from one of these places I was always caught and punished. The only reason they took me back was because some customers asked for me personally. You see I learned the fine art of keeping the men in these bars occupied with buying more expensive alcohol while I pretended to hang on to their every word. I acted like they were kings and pampered their egos. This kept me out of the toilets and back allies, it gave more money to Vitto and it gave me the chance to think and plan how I would escape.
The house we stayed in was like a heavily guarded fort. We were not allowed outside of the front door and we were watched whenever we went out the back door to the backyard. We were only allowed to go to the backyard twice a week for ten minutes: our one luxury. There was no greenery, it was just an open space surrounded by high walls with barbed wire looped in a tight coil on top – there was no way out. I would sit on the back step and wish that I could somehow climb to the top of the wall, squeeze between the barbed wire and escape.
One day I came in from the backyard and saw that someone had left the front door of the house open; I looked out and saw a police car drive past the house slowly. The police officer inside looked at the house and for a few seconds our eyes locked. I looked around quickly and saw that no one was watching me so I ran out of the house and followed the car. It went around a corner and I ran faster as I tried to catch up with it. When I turned the corner I saw that it had stopped. I ran up to the driver’s side and banged on the window screaming at the police officer to help me. He put me in the car and questioned me. I explained everything that went on in the house and begged him to come with me and rescue the other girls. I knew some of the men in the house had guns but this police officer’s gun was bigger than theirs and they wouldn’t shoot a police officer. They were cowards, which was why they raped little girls. He told me he would put in a call to his station and they would send some officers to assist him. He spoke to someone on his car radio in some sort of police code then he started the car. As we drove to the house he told me some police officers would meet us there. He parked the car in front of the house and told me to come inside with him to talk to Vitto while we waited for the other officers. I froze. I never mentioned Vitto’s name. How did he know Vitto? He must have seen my reaction and realized he had said something wrong because he pulled his gun out, pointed it at me and told me to get out of the car on his side. He pulled me to the front door and banged on it several times. When Vitto opened the door he pushed me inside and told Vitto that he needed to control his whores. That day I was beaten with a baseball bat until I thought I was going to die. Now I keep quiet and I do what I am told to do. They may use my body but my mind is free. In my mind I escape; I run in the field next to my house in Czechoslovakia and I am three or four years old. These men talk dirty to me, they force me to do disgusting things and they do disgusting things to me but my mind is free.
Something strange happened one night at a ‘Singles’ bar. I met a man called Nigel and pretended to hang on to his every word. I mentioned that I hadn’t been to Disneyland and he said he would take me there. He boasted about getting a lot of money from his wife. One of Vitto’s men heard him and told me to ‘sting’ him. I was to pretend to like him and get as much money out of him as I could. Nigel gave me his home number and told me to call him whenever I wanted. Vitto’s man obviously thought that there was a large amount of money to be made because he allowed me to call Nigel at home – he said I had to keep Nigel sweet because he often came to the bar just to see me and he spent hundreds of dollars each time. One night when Nigel was drunk he told me about a life insurance policy he had taken out on his wife and how he planned to kill her and use the money to spoil me. He was a crazy fool and I felt sorry for the woman married to him. Early one morning I told Vitto’s man that I had to call Nigel to remind him to bring some extra money to the bar that evening. I knew Nigel wouldn’t be home because he had told me he was visiting a friend. I called his house and spoke to his wife, I told her everything. I hope she kills him before he kills her. I hate all men associated with stealing children, selling children, and sleeping with children. I cannot punish them but I hope the God Leona is always praying to will punish them one day.
So many men have used me. I have a disease that causes me so much stomach pain and there is a lot of fluid that leaks like a discharge from my vagina. I have asked some of the other girls and they also have this disease but we have agreed to keep quiet. Some new girls arrived yesterday and we were told that we would have to leave the house and go somewhere else. Hanna said that Tommy told her this meant we would be sold to Asians or killed by Vitto’s men. The Asians did not buy girls who had diseases; they had a doctor who examined the girls and anyone that was diseased was rejected. She said that Tommy had a plan . . .
The Asians rejected both Hanna and I and Gabriela (she came from the orphanage with us) and the other girls who are sitting with us in the back of this truck. The two girls who also came with us from the orphanage then disappeared after a few months are here. They were brought to the Asians by their owner and were also rejected due to their disease. It is strange that the five of us left the orphanage together, traveled through Europe, came to America and are now seated in the back of this truck. How much hope we had had on the day we boarded the bus that would take us to America – the land of dreams and opportunities. I remember we had sung songs on the bus, we had laughed and we had planned our future. What had happened to us was never listed as part of our plans. Americans say that life has a way of throwing you a curve ball. I say that a lack of love and human compassion throw the curve balls, life just plays along. As I look at the faces of the girls here with me I see no fear. We have lived as almost dead for months and now that the reality of death may be moments away it is almost like a welcomed friend.
The truck stops again. We can hear men arguing. Guns are fired several times as men shout at each other. The back door of the truck is flung open and guns are fired several times at us as we cower together in a corner . . . I feel the pain of a bullet; it is hot, sharp and searing, yet it is nothing compared to the pain I have endured at the hands of Vitto, his men and his customers . . . this pain is actually a release.
I am running in the endless green field next to my house in Czechoslovakia. I think that I must be running to the end of the world. I run faster and faster. I am no longer three or four years old, I am fifteen. Suddenly I stop running; the field has come to an end – I must be dead.
Ebooks from GLL Publishing available at Amazon, Smashwords etc – Books also available via http://www.gllpublishing.com
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