Lesotho: I was raped mercilessly

Date: September 9, 2014
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My name is Linky. I am a Mosotho girl aged 17 and I live in the District of Mohale’s Hoek. The story that I am about to tell happened when I was doing the second year of my high school, in a boarding school run by the Roman Catholic Sisters in Leribe district.
As a child I always admired other children who would come the following day after the school closed and when the schools opened they would go back before the others. There used to be stories that there are rapists in the nearby village as there was a forest close by to our school. As a student, our matron and our sister in charge always told us to arrive before five o’clock and never to make a mistake and walk through the forest. I never did until one fateful day when I met a monster in the form of a man during broad daylight and it was not even winter.
It was on the 23rd January when the schools were re-opening. I did not leave home late, as usual as a girl from hardworking parents, my father accompanied me to Maseru and he made sure to leave me sitting in the bus ready to go to Leribe. The bus left and it left me at the bus stop where I usually stop. Something unusual happened for the first time, but I thought he was a person only to realise that he was not human. It was exactly five o’clock when I arrived at the bus stop, since I was late and was scared of being punished by the matron, the man who was about 26 years of age offered to help.
The brother knew that I was late and insisted that we go through the forest; we had a long quarrel until I gave up. I trusted him because he was old, he looked very friendly and our conversation from the bus stop was all about me being late and that I was going to be punished, so the only short way was to go through the forest. He was carrying my luggage and walking very fast. When we were in the middle of the forest he asked what I was going to pay him with for carrying my heavy luggage, mmhh….. I laughed thinking that he was joking and told him that I would give him money, only to realise that he was serious when I raised my head and he had put down my stuff. He looked at me with a very hard face and told me that he did not remember telling me that he was hungry and needed my money.
I looked everywhere, and saw that even if I shouted no one would hear me, it was a very deserted place; the school was inside a lot of trees. This person was a man and would definitely outrun me even if I could run; he would catch me before I took a step and besides we were deep inside the forest. He told me to get down and pay him appropriately, I was shocked and I was already crying knowing what would happen. I cried like a small baby but I was already down and he was paying himself through rape. He forced himself on me, pushed me and closed my mouth with his hand. After he was done he told me to go before he called his friends, I picked up my things and left, walking slowly because I could not even walk well. I arrived at the school gate crying, there when I looked down were others who were being punished, when they saw me they came to me together with the matron. I told them my story.
I felt dirty inside and outside, I stopped crying and did not know what to do, my eyes were shut but were still open. I could not see my way; I was ashamed and felt so humiliated. The matron sent me to the hospital; luckily I had not contracted any disease from the man. I felt like the world could part so that I could enter. What hurt most was that the police in charge said that it was partly my fault because I knew that there were rapists there and I agreed to walk through that black forest with a total stranger. Even now when I write this story the culprit has not been found and I do not think that he will be found, but as for me I went through counselling with my supportive parents and am now healed and I forgave the rapist wherever he is, because life goes on with or without him being arrested.
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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