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.
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.
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!