If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go, you would hear love that never gave up, you would hear victory over the enemy, you would hear freedom that was won for me.
Childhood In A Polygamy Hebrew Israelite Community
Living in Israel with my stepdad, 4 moms, 10 sisters and 7 brothers in a polygamist family and community was an experience of a lifetime. Growing up in the African Hebrew Israelite community was not always fun times, it was more rough and sad times than happy, I remember like it was yesterday, looking back at how the community seemed very political, surrounded by so many people including my family and still feeling so alone, unhappy, and empty. Because my parents weren’t part of the leadership in the community I and my siblings got crumbs, always got left out, mistreated, and couldn’t speak up because kids weren’t heard at all, and were always left by the sidelines.
Rules Of The Community
We as kids couldn’t speak, like or be friends with anyone outside of our community, weren’t allowed to eat any food from the outside, buy or wear clothes from the outside, listening listen to music from the outside or watch certain things on tv. We had to walk to school no matter how hot or cold the weather was, and when we were late, or got caught talking to outsiders, eating from the outside, wearing clothes from the outside, watching tv or listening to music other than our community music we got whipped with switches, belts, paddles, canes, etc. in our community cellar, and locked in it until they decided to let us out, and weren’t allowed to leave the house.
The Community Dirty Secrets
In our own community there was no protection because even there a lot of us got raped, molested, mistreated, abused mentally, physically, and even my mom was raped when she got pregnant with me, and when she tried telling the leaders of the community they threatened her, and told her that if she told anyone they would take us from her, and ban her out of the community so she kept it a secret because back then they were just considered “Ni*****” who migrated from America and wasn’t wanted there by the Israelis or Jews so she had nowhere to go, no one to tell, and no one to help her even if she tried leaving or getting help. My father (stepdad) would always beat on his wives including my mom, my siblings, and I, and even his other 3 wives would abuse, and assault us, and no one ever did anything about it. Never knowing why but every time when we were young, and one of us would wet the bed we would get beaten, and put out of the house, and forced to sleep behind my stepdad house no matter the weather, and everyone would pretend not to hear us cry, sometimes we would even have to stand in the corners in an ironing chair overnight holding books over our heads, and a few times my grandmother threatened my stepdad that she would kill him if he touched me again with all the whips and blood marks I had on me, and because he told me he would kill me, and my mom, and he never stopped trying to!
Growing Up, Tough Times & Separations
Life in Israel was rough, but a learning experience I will never forget, then one day one of my stepmoms took my brothers, and sisters (her kids from my stepdad), and said that they were going to their cousin’s birthday party but instead they left the community, and Israel heading to the USA and we never saw them again.
The Divorce, Neglect & Troubled Teen Hood
Then a year later my mom left us with my stepdad, and didn’t come back until a year later and moved us to another city in Israel called Be’er Sheva (The Old City/The City Of 7 Wells). After my mom divorced my stepdad she was always gone partying, drinking smoking(drugs) so I had to play the mom, and dad role and fend for me, and my youngest brother from the age of 13 because all of my older brothers, and sisters went their separate ways. Then we moved back to Dimona lived there for a few years where I was enduring more nightmare there getting into fights and arguments with my siblings, and it got so bad that we use to try to really hurt each other, and my oldest brother started acting, and treating us how my stepdad would, abusing us, beating on us, working our fingers to the bone, and locking us in so we couldn’t leave.
The Abuse & Pain
The beatings never stopped there so one day my oldest brother started a petty argument for no reason, I was beaten by him, and he hit me so hard against the wall that I hit my head on the wall, went into a seizure, broke my arm, had big gash slit down my face, and my entire face was swollen, and I could barely see. I tried calling the cops but of course my mom took his side, and told that she would kill me if I did, and she instructed me to lie when people asked what happened to me. One night I waited till everyone went to bed and went, and got a knife, and stood looking in the mirror at myself full of rage I was planning to stab myself to death but something came over me, and told me to leave, I packed my bag, and left the house, I was 16yrs old, and it was 2 AM, I was walking the streets looking for a place just to rest my head at least, my body was in so much pain. I couldn’t stop crying, and I was so confused, and trying to remain calm In so much despair but thru it all I was still desperately missing my mom and sisters so I went back, and my picture and info was in the news, in the papers, and my school that I was missing. I went home, and couldn’t stop hugging my mom, and crying how much I missed her, I told her I was in so much pain, and that I was sorry for running away I was just tired of the abuse at home, but unfortunately she was still drinking, and on drugs with my oldest brother and sister.
Going To School & Raising Myself & My Younger Brother
The entire time I was enrolled in school in Israel I was always sad, and getting bullied, and because I was so full of anger from the wars, and family problems I was always cold, and ready to fight anyone that tried to bother me, and my younger brother, then as time passed things got worse for me! my mom divorced my stepdad she was always gone partying, drinking smoking (drugs) so I had to play the mom, and dad role, and fend for me, and my youngest brother from the age of 13 because all of my older brothers, and sisters went their separate ways. I started getting my own money from the Israeli Government, and every time I got my money my mom took it and spent it on drugs, alcohol, traveling, and partying, and whenever I would say something about it my mom would punish me, and take my things away from me, so I started being more angry, and confused, and with my mom gone all the time, and never seeing her, left me always feeling lonely, hurt and just angry because I was still deeply, and mentally traumatized, and never got help or a clear understanding about what was going on.
The Trip That Turned Into Chaos
One day my mom sent for me, and my brothers and sisters to come see her on Israel’s independence d so we all piled into a bus with all of our belongings, and when my big brother sat me in a seat to pay the bus driver an older boy sitting in front of me started arguing with me telling to get out of the seat and because I didn’t he started hitting me, and my brother started fighting him then the boys dad also interfered and the bus got stopped, and my oldest brother was taking off of the bus beaten and cuffed up, and taken away. I was praying, and crying as we had to leave him behind.
Fighting To Survive
Throughout the year’s wars broke out on, and off, bus stations, daycares, schools, hospitals, homes, etc. were all being bombed every day on the news, then civilians were getting killed, and next thing I know me, and my brothers, and sisters were all getting sent to the army because it was mandatory. We were all staking out on the Israel border sleeping on mattresses and on the ground guarding, and fighting, and praying we didn’t die, our army bases and houses near our house were getting bombed to the ground, we had little to no food or water to consume, we had a bucket of water each to bathe with, crying day, and night because missiles and bombs, and gunshots was all we heard, and witnessed every day and night. It was a war that I will never forget. As a child at the tender age of 7 years old seeing a suicide bomber blowing himself, my uncle and other civilians up while I, and my class were crossing over dead bodies in the street with blood everywhere including on me with his head on the ground by my feet. Growing up I was scared to touch anything I saw or talk to anyone outside because any object could’ve been a bomb and any person could’ve been a terrorist. It was rough and certain families were lucky to leave yet a lot of them weren’t.
Life As A Soldier In The IDF
In 2014 Israel war continued and families started to separate and I remembered being sent out with other soldiers to search for 3 teenage boys who were kidnapped by Arabs while walking home from military training which was the reason why the war broke out again. After days of searching for them, we found their body’s decapitated, it was a very dark place to be at that time, nobody was safe. Not one person knows how traumatizing it is for me as a young girl going through that war, and everything else that I’ve been through ever ask how am I or even gave me time to heal. Yes, I’m physically here but mentally empty, scared, unhappy, drained, and very depressed. I wanted to leave Israel so bad because it was too much uncertainty going on around me!
My Testimony & New Beginning
This is just a little bit of what I went through while living in Israel, it truly taught me love, respect, and forgiveness! I got a second chance at life and I’m beyond grateful, very humble and have so much to be proud of in myself because it was more than I thought I could handle! God had me through it all, and this is why I don’t take being alive lightly at all! This is why I fight hard for my own and just for any, and everybody. My life is all for a greater purpose that’s why I’m focused on love and forgiveness, and try to understand another person’s pain without judgment!