This place makes me the kind of exhausted that has nothing to do with sleep, and everything to do with the environment around me. And yet I call this place home, (ekasi lam) my hood. I was taught to respect anyone older than I was. And that was my everyday rule, to respect everyone and anyone, doing everything I was asked of by any older person, that’s actually when it all started.

It was a chilly Tuesday afternoon; my boyfriend had just walked me home from the park. We got by the main gate and stood there for a few minutes, to just talk. We did so, after 5 minutes or so he hugged me goodbye and walked away. I decided to watch him walk away. As I turned around to walk to my house, I heard a voice calling out for me. Nella… Nella… Nella… I turned back. It was my math tutor; we greet and talk for a bit. He invites me to his house for a glass of juice or just to have snacks with him.

“How about you join me for snacks or a glass of juice?” he asked.

“Thanks, but I’ll pass, I have quite a lot to do in the house,” I answered.

“Oh okay, if you say so,” he said.

He then made a weird joke, and I was so scared I couldn’t move an inch. Questions started running through my mind.

“You know I have cravings for you and one day I’ll get you,” he said.

“Hahahah, what a day it will be,” he said, laughing.

I cleared my throat,” that is so wrong to say,” I replied.

“I’m joking,” he said.

He picked me up so quickly, my heart started beating so fast. I shouted, “Put me down right now!” He walked with me in his arms to his house, not far from where we were.

He then said, “Now will you join me for that glass of juice?” I actually went in with him; I trusted him because he was not just a typical stranger. We sat down and he poured me a drink. I drank it so fast because I wanted to leave. I then stood up to leave and he then rushed to the door and locked it. My heart beat felt like rock music playing loudly, I started shaking.

“Why did you lock the door?” I said.

“Because I want to play a game with you,” he replied.

He then played the loudest music ever, picked me up and took me into a room. I tried to fight him, but he threw me on a bed and locked the door. He forced himself on me – oh I tried fighting him with all the power I had. What was going through my mind in throughout those 10 minutes was my future. “God, heavenly father, I’m still in school I need my Matric certificate, and go to varsity,” I said. He did what he did, then cleaned me up, and even had the guts to walk me home. After I got home I rushed into my room and cried myself to sleep. I didn’t know what to do.

After what had happened to me, every great experience of my hood, my home changed into a horror scene. I pictured a life filled with love, joy and happiness all over my hood. But all those hopes were drastically shattered, by the actuality of not living in a safe environment, where every woman is a victim of such circumstances.