I was only 15 years old when I lost my mother due to cancer. I then had to go and live with my father in the city of Jo’burg, as I had no siblings and no grandparents. My father had a house in Jo’burg and was living alone.

At first, it felt quite good living with him because he gave me everything I needed and more. Things changed when he lost his job and started drinking too much alcohol, daily. His behaviour immediately changed. He started having a strange look in his eyes. Every time I would catch him staring at me, I found it so creepy. I assumed he was just feeling lonely, since I didn’t like chatting a lot.

Often, I would go to visit Mrs Potter, our neighbour. She was so friendly and treated me like her own daughter. There was this time I went to her house and told her, “I don’t feel safe around my father anymore. The way he looks at me just scares me and… it’s like he’s going to rape me.”

I remember Mrs Potter’s reaction after I said this. She just stared at me with confusion written all over her face and replied, “Don’t you dare think of such! How could you think your father could do such a thing? He’s such a good man.”

As Mrs Potter kept on telling me to get rid of such thoughts in my mind, I really thought I was over-reacting and regretted it. Considering her facial expression, I could tell that she thought I was saying all that because of my adolescence. This made me feel like I was being too curious of my own father.

The next evening, my father told me he was going out to town to meet his new employer.

“Why at night?” I asked him.

“Don’t ask me any questions, I’m in a hurry. Make your bed and go to sleep, I’ll be back shortly,” he replied and left.

I didn’t believe what he said. I knew that he was going out to party with his friends. So I went to make my bed like I was told to, and I fell asleep quickly after that.

During my sleep, I could feel that I was no longer alone in my room. I could feel somebody was getting on top of my bed. Just after opening my eyes, I saw my dad’s face. He rushed to cover my mouth with his hand so that I couldn’t scream. I immediately tried to fight him off. He overpowered me. He smacked me on my face several times and the next thing I know I passed out. As I was lying unconscious on my bed, he carried on raping me.

I remembered everything in the morning. I tried to get out of bed but my whole body was aching. I noticed a lot of blood on my blanket. I couldn’t help it, I just burst into tears. I walked out of my room and helplessly yelled, “Dad! Dad!” until I noticed that he wasn’t in the house. He had run away.

I ran straight to Mrs Potter’s house in my gown full of blood. I went straight in, without even knocking. “What on earth happened to you?” Mrs Potter asked. I was unable to talk properly, I responded with a shaky voice, “My father raped me.” This time she believed me and eventually called the police.

While the police were searching and investigating my father’s whereabouts, and the doctors were running tests on me, I was drowning in trauma and anxiety. Even the counselling didn’t help much. This affected my whole life. I would act like I was fine around people, but as soon as I’d get alone or try to sleep, I would get flashbacks. Even now, it still happens. Every time I try to sleep, I feel like history is going to repeat itself.

The police continued searching for my father, until they discovered that he had committed suicide by throwing himself into a river.

It saddened me to learn that I may never be able to bear children. Hearing the doctors say this just changed the way I saw the world, men and life. I started telling myself that I would never get married, since nobody wishes to marry an infertile woman. This happened because… my father raped me.