My life, my journey. My tears, my strength. Life is exciting yet so cruel.

Date: November 1, 2019
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My name is Mrosa*. I was raised by a single mother together with my four brothers and a sister. My mother had to work hard for us and far away from home in order to put food on the table. She would visit after 3 months. My brothers were barely home most of the time.

I was eight years old turning nine when my sister had her first baby. We lived in the shack, girls were separated from boys. I slept with my sister and her baby. One day my sister visited her boyfriend, leaving me behind with her son in the shack. That night was the turning point of my future. Little did I know that my virginity would be taken by force that night by the brother to my sister’s boyfriend. He was over 35 years old. He saw an opportunity to satisfy himself. Like a thief sneaking in the night, he pushed the door of the shack.

He closed my mouth with his hand, opened my thighs separating my legs. Within seconds, I felt something so big forcing itself into me. I cried so hard the whole time. He kept saying, “You are my wife from now on” in the morning I tried telling my sister but because she did not want others to find out, she beat me up and said I am a liar. He came back anytime he wanted because he was seen as a family member.

I loved watching television at home, we did not have one so I watched at our neighbour’s house. That is when the abuse got worse, people I trusted to accompany me home that night they were with him that night and they took turns raping me. I went home when they were done. My sister was married then and I could not say anything. The abuse stopped when I was 17 years old. I never had the courage to speak out and I regret it.

My mother passed away when I was 21 years old. My three brothers stayed in Durban and after the funeral my big brother stayed with me, my son, my brother’s son and my sister’s son. The father of my son committed a dangerous crime and was hunted by CID. In early January 2010, I was 22 years at the time, he got arrested and I was called in for questioning. The officer in charge told me that I am going to get arrested because I am involved with a criminal. I started crying telling him my family situation that I was the breadwinner taking care of five of my family members. He took me to a room and took off his pans and told me if I love my son I will prove it.

Again, I was raped and I felt so numb and told myself that my job is to satisfy the evil thirst of men. That is when I started drinking a lot and never told anyone at home but my boyfriend when he came back.