My story begins when I was just four years of age – yes I remember a lot of things since that young age. I was not yet in crèche and the family friend took care of me. A man sexually abused me daily by laying me on the small bed and flipping through a porn magazine. At that age I did not understand what kind of magazine he was looking at. I remember that his wife always wore a lot of bangles and jewellery so I was always waiting for that soothing, comforting sound of her bangles clinking together because then I would know he would stop now, zip up his pants and help me down from the bed.
I was then again abused at the age of eight right through to 10 by two different men, one was also a family friend the other was my own cousin. Surely at this point I understood what was happening because at school they taught us to say NO if somebody touches you inappropriately yet I couldn’t say no. I didn’t have that luxury at all because in my mind this is what I was created for, for men who I thought I could trust to use me as they wished. They were the adults so they were always right in my mind. I did not confide in anybody, I was too ashamed and embarrassed. When I ended up opening up to a close friend of mine at age 11 years, she went to tell her mother and her mother put so much fear in me I shut up for many years after. She threatened that if I spread such rumours I will end up in jail.
At the police station again an officer told me it was just my imagination, I’m making these stories up and mind you I believed her. I didn’t know any better and I was taught that grown-ups are always right and will never lie. Needless to say, I didn’t trust anybody. I couldn’t even trust myself. When my mom found out that an uncle abused and groomed me she told me to keep quiet because she does not want the family to be torn apart and so I did just as she said but hated and resented her for many years.
All of this was then, and this is now. I was never spiritual – how could I be if this God allowed several men to invade my body and steal my innocents – but let me tell you this is my testimony.
A year ago work was tough, relationships in all aspects of my life was terrible, I was diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks and was on prescribed medications. A year ago I ran away for three days, wrote suicide notes because yes I was going to kill myself because I felt unworthy, dirty, pressurised, I didn’t want to pretend everything is okay anymore because nothing was. I failed in life and I wanted to give up. So I did.
But God is good he sent someone on my path and all he said was “Meisie, gaan huis toe” and I did just that. Today I’m a victor. I forgave all those who hurt me not for them but for my inner peace and healing. I don’t regret living, I did not self-harm for 10 months now. I feel free of burden and I am myself now. Yes everyday still is challenging but prayer and real family and friends support gets me through a lot. Yes, I’m currently not employed yet as I am still a bit scared that my anxiety will come back. All I had to do was be honest with myself and realise it was not my fault – it never was.
The world is a cruel place but you can be the change and be an encouragement for somebody.Talk, talk, talk to somebody. You are not alone. I pray for everybody that’s going through and living through this horrible abuse but please don’t give up! Seek help. You just have to get through this day today.
I hope that my story will in some way inspire and encourage someone else who feels like I did.
If you are a survivor of rape and would like to talk to someone about it, call Rape Crisis on (021)447-9762