Lesotho: I abused my parents and I nearly drowned

Date: September 9, 2014
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I imagine us that day, with our voices screaming at the top of our lungs, for no apparent reason other than being drunk and wanting everyone to know how cool we were. Why couldn’t everyone get our swag? Splash!!!! Splash!!! We jumped into the pool, followed by the oohs and ayahs encouraging us even more to be as daring as we could.

That is the last thing I remember about that dreadful night. The rest I could piece together from the accounts of different onlookers. Apparently I and a couple more friends jumped into the water (encouraged by false confidence from the drugs and booze) forgetting that we could not swim. Sadly though, three drowned and I was among them. Two of them lost their lives and I survived. Why me? This was a wakeup call.

I have to face up to the chain of events that brought me to where I am. How did I get here? Clearly the decisions I made somewhere along the line got me digging my own grave and evidently now a few others along with my own. If you knew my family, you would be trapped in a maze trying to figure out how I got here. I have parents who are renowned for lavishing me with love and all the other necessities of life. They are law abiding teetotallers who have never, even to date, used (let alone abused) any substance. How could I have possibly gotten myself in this mess?

People are social beings hence their reliance on others for approval. I was no exception. I looked up to my peers for acceptance. I wanted to be loved. It started first as a dare: I had to wash down a Disprin tablet with a glass of beer. Like any thing in life the dares gained momentum and before I knew it I had developed a bad habit. But if on the other hand I had refused to play along I knew I would turn into a social outcast. My name and stature would have been marred for life. I was trapped. What could you have done? I am not a strong person, like I said I am dependent on my social circle.

There were times when I stayed at home but would soon grumble because they would shatter me by picking on me. I would be called mama’s baby, sissy, or even gay. What man could stand such belittling and humiliation? Surely you understand that I had to defend my manhood. I hung around my friends like glue because as long as I did their bidding I was in their favour and hence I would be showered with courageous words which did my ego a world of good. It was me on top of the world. However, my parents were getting the raw side of the deal and were becoming victims in their own home. I would do anything imaginable to get money from them and it went from the first to the last spectrum of emotional abuse. The seed had been planted and the plant was bearing fruits. Only God could declare a fig tree barren, in my case could that stop me?

I had changed from being a victim of verbal and emotional abuse to being an abuser myself. How could I do this to my parents, I being their only child!!!!!!! But how could I stop? I was trapped. It is now over a month since the pool incident and I am freaked out. I do not sleep well, knowing I am the reason my parents go to bed at night with tears in their eyes. I own up to my actions, I need an exit. I realise I might be HIV positive because of how reckless I have been, but that remains to be seen until I have faced up to it and made my journey to the voluntary testing clinic in the city tomorrow. Wish me luck.

This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.


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