Mama thought me to fear a lot of things when I was little.

She told me if I don’t eat my vegetables then I’ll die. She told me if I drop salt, God will make me pick it up with my eyes. She told me I must clean my room otherwise the boogie man will take me away. I did because I didn’t want to get into trouble. One day I watched a TV program that said boogie was a style of dance. So Mama basically threatened me with the dancing man!

It wasn’t until I turned eleven and my breasts started growing that I realised the boogie man did exist and he was no dancing man. He was my worst nightmare. He was my teacher, Mr Mabaso. Mr Mabaso often asked me to stay after class. I did because I didn’t want to get into trouble. He touched me in places I didn’t want him to. He left bruises on me and I often cried myself to sleep.

“Don’t tell,” he used to whisper to me. “Keep quiet.”

I did because I didn’t want to get into trouble. I didn’t know if anyone would believe me anyway. Everybody loved Mr Mabaso. One day the school’s L.O teacher, Mrs Menja, explained what rape and sexual abuse was. My mouth went dry. I was a victim of this. My rights and body were being violated. I spoke to her and she told me I shouldn’t make up stories.

“Mr Mabaso is a good man and an even better educator,” she scolded. “Don’t go telling these tales.”

Why would she give that speech if she wasn’t prepared to listen? I didn’t know what to do. This abuse went on for months more. Mr Mabaso never wore any protection. He said it felt better without it. To me it just felt disgusting and wrong. I missed my period one month and went to the clinic. They told me I was pregnant. I decided it was time to tell Mama. She told me to keep quiet and kill the baby. I did, because I didn’t want to get into trouble.

When Mr Mabaso got married I thought he would stop tormenting me. To my dismay, he didn’t. Finally I got to high school and was far away from him. Even though I never saw him again in real life, I saw him plenty in my nightmares. He destroyed me and made me suffer even when he wasn’t around. I wondered which poor girl he was harassing now and if he would ever get caught.