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Jesse & "Uncle Tank" (Hidden Crimes Against Children) (1697 hits)

Twelve year-old Jesse was afraid. She sat, transfixed to the little spot on the edge of the king-sized bed in her sister's bedroom.

Lurid sounds poured from the floor model television of the cramped bedroom. The man she called her "brother in law" had closed and locked the bedroom door after interrupting her favorite after school program to show her one of "his" favorite video tapes. In between scenes, the 28-year old, six foot tall man would pause and explain - in great detail - what was taking place while inching closer and closer to her.

He's supposed to be looking after me, Jesse thought as she watched him pause the video and ask if she had any questions. He was smiling, and talking as if nothing was wrong with what she was seeing. In fact, he was confident with his comments and seemed to want Jesse to agree. The only real question in her mind right now was this: "Will he let me leave the room? How can I get out of here?"

Jesse closed her eyes as her stomach churched. She could feel her heartbeat, count her breaths and smell the sour taste forming in her mouth. What are these people doing? Why is he showing me this? She thought as her small frame became rigid and motionless. He was so close to her now that his shirt sleeve was brushing her arm.

"What do I do?" Jesse screamed inside as she tightened her arms around her stomach.

Despite all the other things she'd experienced in her young life, this video was taking things to a new level. She didn't know that it was even humanly possible to do the things her brother in-law, whom she called Uncle Tank, was showing her. "I don't want to see this! I don't want to see this! I want to get out of here!"

"When's Tracey comin' home?" Jesse whispered without looking at him. Normally, her oldest sister would be home by now. Tracy and Tank moved in about four weeks ago just after getting orders from United States Army that they would be deployed to Germany as part of Tank's new assignment. Jesse's mama was out shopping and Daddy hadn't been home in days. Mama said he was with his girlfriend.

"What did you say?" He asked dropping his head down to her level. Nervously, Jesse found herself focusing on a spot on the floor. Her hands were shaking and at any moment she knew that her school lunch would be coming back up.

"I... I... just want to leave the room Tank ... when's my sister coming home," she whispered with her eyes focused on the floor. "She's supposed to be here when I get off the bus."

"She had some stuff to do today," he said. "Plus, she gotta pick up your mama. They'll be here before dark."

Before dark? Jesse thought. That's hours from now!

" Com'on Jesse! The best part of the movie is just beginning," he said as he quicklyreached over and lifted her chin up with his hand. Jesse could see that look in his eyes that always made her nervous, then turned back to the television. "Open your eyes so you can see this part."

Jesse shook her head. "I'm feelin' sick."

"It's going to be okay," he said placing his hand on her lower back and bringing her toward him in an eerie attempt to comfort her.

"I'm feelin' sick Tank!" Jesse jumped up from the bed and nervously darted toward the door. Tank quickly stopped the movie and rushed to the door.

"It can be hard seeing something like this for the first time lil' Jesse, but you'll get used to it," he smiled as he she reached for the door knob. "You'll find that what you saw isn't half bad."

Jesse clutched her stomach. "I gotta go... can I go now... please."

"Don't you tell nobody what happened today do you hear me Jesse!" He shouted, while grabbing one of her arms firmly. Jesse didn't fight him. "No one would ever believer you anyway. Everybody knows you're a liar..."

Just as quickly as he'd grabbed her, he released her. She snatched open the door and ran down the hall to the bathroom. She lifted the toilet seat and let it go. Within seconds Tank was there leaning against the door post as if everything was alright. "Remember what I said! You hear me?"

She didn't answer.


Looking up from the toilet bowl and fighting back tears, Jesse shook her head and shouted, "I hear you ... I hear you Uncle Tank!"

With that, he chuckled and walked down the hallway. Relief overtook her as she flushed the toilet, rushed to rinse her mouth and wash her face in the bathroom sink. Without hesitating, she ran to her bedroom and locked the door. Putting a chair up to it like she's done so many times in the past. Is something wrong with me? She thought. What's wrong with me?

Without a second thought, she fumbled through her backpack looking for that piece of paper with the bible verse on it that her Mrs. Broom, her best friend Alicia's mom, had given her just a few weeks ago after she led her to Christ right there in their living room. She told Jesse that whenever she was afraid, she should read it.

Jesse was afraid a lot, but she knew she could never tell Mrs. Broom or even her best friend Alicia why.

"No one would ever believe me," she thought. "They'd say I was lying about everything!"

"Here it is," Jesse said to herself. She quickly tossed the backpack aside and grabbed the King James Bible from a small stack of books on her dresser. Returning to her bed she searched the table of contents until she found the book of Luke again and moved to the 10th chapter. Intently, her small fingers diligently searched until she found verse 19: Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Jesse began to weep as the fear on the inside of her subsided. Though she didn't understand what the words she read meant, she felt as thought they were enough to keep her safe... at least until Tracey came home. Perhaps those words were even strong enough to make Mama take her medicine. Without it, the doctors might have to lock her up in the hospital again. Reaching under her pillow, Jesse pulls out her most prized possession -- her journal. She begins to write:

"God... I'm scared. If you're really there .. can you, can you please help me. It's ... it's .... Jesse."

***We have a responsibilty to protect our children. As you read this article, I pray that it sends you to your knees in prayer. I pray that it causes righteous anger to rise in your heart! I pray that you are moved by GOD to learn how you can help OUR children! What happened with Jesse happens in homes all across America everyday. http://www.preventchildabuse.org)
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Thursday, September 25th 2008 at 9:03AM
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When reading this story, it reminded me of the scene in "Woman, Thou Art Loosed"...although it made me weep, this is a story that cannot stay behind closed doors...it must be brought to the forefront, & justice must be rendered to the "Tanks" of society.
Wednesday, October 1st 2008 at 9:35AM
Friday, October 10th 2008 at 12:11PM
r.e jones
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