Lesotho: I was raped and infected with HIV

Date: September 15, 2014
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It was on the 28 November 2000 when my life changed and changed for the worse. It was in summer and in the rural villages we normally go to the rivers and try to clean our feet so as to prepare for Christmas, so that when the 25th December came we would look beautiful and clean especially because we wore new clothes. It was very hot and I decided that I should go and clean my feet, I asked my friends to go, but they were all busy and I still wanted to go because I had already told myself that I was going there. I just decided to go and besides it was not far from our village and we often went there and nothing happened to us.

It was very hot and I was excited about Christmas because when we did that it was a sign that Christmas was near, we would be wearing our news clothes and eating nice food. I sat down and washed my feet, the water was really nice and I was really enjoying the natural beauty. There were some shepherds near the river, I am not sure if they could see me, but I was able to see them. I did not hear that scum when he came; I only saw him when I looked up because I had been looking down and singing. He greeted me and asked me if he could join me, but I refused and he said what if he joined without my permission, what would I do and I did not answer that.

He came to me and asked me why I did not take off all my clothes and I told him I took off my clothes only when I bathed at home and then I was not bathing I was only cleaning my feet. He told me that he was going to join me so that I could clean his feet, but I refused, he came and then took off his clothes and told me to take off mine. I started to panic because I realised that he was very serious and I tried to see if the shepherds could see me, but they had already move to another place, it was a bit further than where they were when I got there, but I could see some of their animals.

He told me to take off my clothes so that we could have a bath together and he pushed me into the river, he got in and had sex with me in the water. When I called for help he put his hands on my mouth so that I would not be able to speak and when he was done he told me to wear my clothes and he carried me and walked with me, I did not know where he was taking me. I was very tired, when we got to a place where we stopped he raped me again and told me that he was going to give me a present, I did not understand what he meant. After he had finished he told me to go. I did not know where I was and I had to find my way home. When I got home I cried like a small girl, and tried to explain to my parents, but I was not able to as I was crying. In the morning I told them everything and they took me to hospital and we went to the police station. The police could not find him. In the next year I was very sick and we did not know what was really wrong with me and my parents decided to take me to the hospital and I was diagnosed with HIV. I just could not believe it, I could not stop crying. I remembered that he told me that he was going to give me a present and that is the present he gave me, HIV. I still cannot believe it, but I am living with HIV and I am taking anti-retroviral treatment.

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*Not her real name

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



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