When I was young, I was almost raped. At least that is what my mom tells me the doctors said. I don’t recall going to the doctors or being examined. I don’t recall any clinics or hospitals; no flashbacks of nurses, nothing. Of course, the mind of a four-year-old is not reliable. It feels like a lifetime ago. It has been 23 years since the almost rape happened but there is a memory that I have, so vivid, like it happened just yesterday. I remember a man on top of me, crushing my small body with his. I remember I could not breathe, staring into the face of this man who was on top of me.
I cannot forget his face yet I don’t know him. No one knows how a grown man showing me his penis at age four affected me. The visuals are unforgettable; they remain in my head like a recorded cassette that keeps playing over and over again. I felt it, I felt him rubbing his genitals with mine yet everyone is convinced nothing happened because the doctor or doctors who examined me said there was no penetration. I can still hear his voice asking me if it was good. I don’t know if I cried or asked him to stop or when and how it eventually stopped. I just remember being motionless, laying there on top of the bed. Did someone find me and rescue me? Did he develop a sudden conscience and let me go? I don’t know. We don’t talk about it. No one talks about it.
Everyone was relieved that rape did not take place that day. But no one saw the scars that I incurred; no one saw the pain in my eyes. What really unsettles me is that no one saw the need to talk to me about it. I wanted them to ask me how I felt, I needed someone to talk to me and ask if I was okay, if I was coping, but according to my family the matter was done and dusted. I was not raped, I was molested and emotionally damaged.
Years later, when I was in my twenties, I was raped by a guy who felt that I owed him. A night out with a friend turned into a night out with more friends who had brought other friends with them. It was jolly and fun until a guy bought me a boerewors roll. Little did I know that I was going to pay with my body. Later that night the “boerewors guy” asked me to accompany him to his car so that he could bring the car upfront, closer to the venue. It made sense since we were about to leave. He had offered to drive me and the friend I had come with home. He was sweet and so I got into his car.
He did not drug me. I was fully awake for his awful act. He drove off with me into a deserted place and parked his car. There was no one in sight, I was terrified and asked him what he wanted from me. Without a word, he just leaned over and started kissing me. I pulled back pushing him away and told him no but he would not stop. He put his hand under my dress to take off my underwear. I resisted and screamed but he succeeded and before I knew it, he was on top of me. I kicked and screamed and slapped him until he held both my hands down. I struggled to pull away and to break free but by then he was already inside of me so it was no use. I stopped fighting and just gave in. Once I accepted the situation, the friction faded and it was just sex. The one thing I cannot figure out to this day is why I started enjoying it when I did not want it.
When he was done, I asked him to take me home and I never spoke of it again. I did not lay charges; I did not tell anyone. I saw the guy whenever I went out and the sight of him repulsed me and caused me to panic so I decided to stop going out and rather stayed at home. I removed the circle of friends that led me back to him and that was most of my friends so I’m friendless now with no interest at all to make new friends. Two years later, I find myself breaking down trying to understand events that led me to that night. I will not lay charges against him; I’m not strong enough to take him on or to drag my emotional self to court. With time, maybe I will heal from both these traumas. For now I just want to live in a world that I will not have to meet these two men ever again in my life. I cannot talk about it or have the world know about it and so I remain anonymous and hope that my story will reach out to someone in need. Someone who can be stronger and find strength in my weakness and fight for justice!
Read about one writer’s experience with the stigma surrounding rape here.
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