Thirty Five Years of emotional imprisonment

Thirty Five Years of emotional imprisonment

Date: November 28, 2011
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I was repeatedly sexually abused at the age of seven by my stepbrother who was around 16 years at that time. My mother would send us to a neighbour’s home and on our way back my step brother would push me into the bush and rape me. Oh my God as I write I remember the exact scenes ….God help me narrate the story for tears are wetting my would be beautiful face…

IT happened several times, and I could not tell my mother because I did not understand what was happening to me. I remember I started fainting and my mother thought I had fits, but now I know it was the trauma of the abuse.

Later, I became a victim of a series of abuse from boys next door and home-helpers. It hurt me each time I would see the people who abused me, particularly because I could not tell anyone about my abuse.

When I reached high school, I started feeling a lot of emotional pain because my friends would speak about virginity. That hurt me so deeply, because I knew I was not a virgin and that was not out of choice but through rape.

Life went on and at the age of 15, one boy told me he loved me. He was serious and we ended up in a relationship. It came a time where we had sex. In the morning as we made the bed he looked surprised that there was no blood stains on the sheets. He did not comment, but I knew he was shocked that I was not a virgin and again fresh memories of my painful abuse experience resurfaced.

We proceeded with our relationship until today, but I must say my man is being robbed of romantic sex. I can’t enjoy romance before sex, so much so that I get irritated. The most painful thing is that he is not an open person so I can’t explain my past life to him, even though in his heart I know he must question why I lost my virginity at such a tender age. He doesn’t ask me and I have never told him anything, for I fear that if I tell him he might never pay lobola because it was my step-brother who broke my virginity.

I have prayed to God to help me forgive the brother and I have, but I no more regard him as my brother but a monster who ruined my body and life as a whole. What I hate most is that I feel that my body is not as firm as it would have been had I not been sexually abused as a child and each time I look at myself my heart bleeds.

Now I am a mother of three girls aged 15, 10 and 8 years. When I look at my eldest daughter, I envy her for she has not seen what I saw, and that makes me happy at least. For the 10-year-old-daughter, I am not sure. She once lived with my mother for a time, and there were some signs that she might have been abused. I have not talked to her about it, it would kill me emotionally killed if I ever learned any of my daughters experienced what I went through as a child.

My experience left me a skeleton of a would be beautiful, well-shaped, nice body lady with a good sense of humour and good moral behaviour. I thank God that at least I didn’t lose my brains and was able to reach University.

I think there is something missing from the organisations that work in the area of gender based violence, especially in small places towns and countries. People are too scared to share their story in case someone finds out. Another setback is the absence of laws that protect women and children and men from sexual abuse, and even when the laws are there, they are often ignored.

To all the people who have been abused …Take it To the Lord …he will give you peace, although it is difficult considering that one’s being has been eroded and replaced with fear, anger, blame, shame, cruelty and you name it.

I advise people to report and not fear the unknown like me. And to the parents, make sure you observe your child’s behaviour, I am sure if my mother was keeping an eye on me daily she would have noticed something. There was a time when I blamed my mother for this, but with time I forgave her because she was busy trying to fend for the family at that time.

* not her real name. Calsile Masilela is a journalist with the Swazi Observer. This story is part of the I Stories series produced by the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service for the Sixteen Days of Activism.



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