As Noni walks home she thinks of an excuse to give her aunt. All she wants to do is to take a bath. She can’t think straight. A lot has happened in just one night. She has been raped. She has lost her virginity to a stranger. She doesn’t know where to go, or what to do. If she goes to the police will they believe her? Where is the evidence? The only bruises she has are in her heart and her very soul. She is lost in thought when she finds herself outside her house. The front door is open and she sees her aunt getting ready for work. When her aunt sees her she throws her bag on floor.
AUNT LUCY: Well, well, well! I can’t wait for your excuse today. You slept out?
AUNT LUCY: I raised you, clothed you, what do you do in return? Why don’t you go and look for your parents? I suffer because of you. I don’t buy anything decent with the money that I earn because of you. Why? Why? What did I do to deserve this? Why are you not saying anything? Is this what you wanted?
NONI: (sobbing) I am sorry Aunty…
AUNT LUCY: Go on, sleep around. But when you get pregnant you will leave my house. God knows I tried my best. I did everything for you, but it was never enough. Go on and destroy yourself my child. You will never ever hear me complain again. Like mother, like daughter.
Aunt Lucy storms out leaving Noni alone. Noni straightens her clothes. Her whole body aches. She knows what she is going to do. She wonders how life would have been if her parents raised her, but they were not here. Her aunt has always been here for her, she thinks. She has always seen that she is clothed and fed and she always protects her.
She decides then and there not to go to the police or tell anyone what happened. She is willing to endure the pain because she thinks she has deserved it all and she can’t bring shame on her aunt.
After taking a long bath Noni decides not to go to school that day. She needs time to herself, so she stays and cleans the house and cooks for her aunt. She is sleeping on the couch when she hears a knock on the door. She listens and hears her friends voices outside. She doesn’t want to open but they are shouting her name and saying they know she is inside so she opens the door.
SIKI: Hi friend, how are you? We just came to check on you. Why didn’t you come to school today?
CEBI: Yes, my friend, why? We missed you.
NONI: But you are asking without giving me a chance to answer. I was here at home. I studied yesterday until the early hours of the morning. I couldn’t wake up early today.
SIKI: Ok, early hours with err… Ta Mlu?
NONI: How can you say that? That guy is….
CEBI: Old? But not for you?
NONI: What do you mean guys?
SIKI: No, no, no. Noni the question is what are you up to? You lectured us, judged us, and now you are sleeping with an old guy. What’s up with that?
NONI: I don’t know what you are talking about.
SIKI: Come on sisi. We saw you getting on that taxi yesterday with that guy. Everyone at school was asking what happened to you because someone saw you this morning tip-toeing home? So?
Noni doesn’t have words to explain to them about what happened. Even if she did, she knows no one will believe her. She decides to let them think whatever they want to think about her.
NONI: Look guys…
CEBI: We are your guys now? OK, go on.
NONI: I told you I was at home. I don’t think I owe you any explanation further than that. So if you will excuse me.
SIKI: (talking to Cebi) I cannot believe how stupid we were. We always thought she was better than us. Meanwhile here she is busy sleeping around with old guys. What can you expect from someone who doesn’t know her father or her alcoholic mother.
CEBI: Who would have known? Miss Righteousness. I can’t wait to tell the whole school tomorrow.
SIKI: (pointing at Noni) Don’t ever come near us again. We are no longer your friends. You are a liar. You wanted us to share our darkest secrets and you never said anything about what you were doing in the meantime!
CEBI: Maybe she wanted to take our boyfriends without us suspecting. OK, let’s go my friend.
AUNT LUCY comes in as the girls are leaving.
AUNT LUCY: (furious) What is going on here? Didn’t I tell you Siki that I don’t want to see you in my house? Noni, in my room. Now! You two girls don’t go anywhere. Wait here! I said in my room, Noni!
The girls wait nervously while Aunt Lucy follows Noni into her room and shuts the door.
NONI: (confused) What’s wrong Aunty? What did I do? What happened?
AUNT LUCY: (starting to cry) Noni, please my child. Do not hide anything from me. I know where were you were last night. My friend saw you in the taxi. She says you looked afraid. Where were you going, and who was that guy you were with? Tell me!
Noni is crying and goes to kneel down in front of her aunt. Her aunt listens to her as tears fall down her face. She is sad. She knows Noni is telling the truth.
NONI: I am so sorry Aunty. I wanted to tell you but I …
AUNT LUCY: (stroking Noni’s back) Shh, I know. It is all my fault. I did not trust you my child. Yes, you didn’t tell me, because you knew I was not going to believe you. I am sorry. Do you know this guy? Do you know him at all? Can you remember where he took you?
NONI: Aunty, I wish this was just a bad dream. This pain will forever scar my heart. Never will I look at things the same way again. Aunty, ndixelele. What difference will it make if I know him? Yes, he might be caught and go to jail for days… months… years. I don’t know. But I do know that my life will never be the same again.
AUNT LUCY: I understand, Noni. I understand, but I am sorry, we have to do something. You need to come with me.
Aunt Lucy hugs Noni and then they leave the room. Cebi and Siki are waiting in the lounge. They have overheard everything and they look ashamed.
SIKI (to Cebi): How could we do this to Noni? She needed us and what did we do?
CEBI: But we didn’t know, Siki. We didn’t believe in our friend.
AUNT LUCY: Listen to me, you girls. Whatever happened to Noni is none of your business. Everyone has their own secrets, respect that. You might think you girls are better than Noni. I know so much about both of your parents and your upbringing, but it doesn’t concern me. I choose not to say anything. No one has a right to judge anyone. Just live your lives and make it better for yourselves. Trying to find fault in each other will not make you any better.
SIKI: We are sorry, Aunty. Sorry, Noni.
CEBI: Please forgive us, Noni.
NONI: It is OK.
SIKI: Aunty, can we please go now?
AUNT LUCY: (with a warning look) Alright you can go for now. But remember, I don’t want you to bother Noni any more.
CEBI: We promise, Aunty. We will not bother her.
Cebi and Siki leave together looking sad and ashamed.
AUNT LUCY: Noni, we have to go to the police station now.
NONI: Alright, Aunty, if you say so.
Aunt Lucy takes Noni to the police station to report the rapist. Even though there might not be enough evidence to convict him, it is important not to let him just walk away and rape other girls like Noni.
Tell us: Do you agree with Aunt Lucy and think that Noni should report it to the police?