She remembers walking weird partly limping back to school. The faul smell followed her. She trembled. Somehow she got to class. Everyone asked her where she was the whole time. She can’t remember how she excused the rapist. But she never told.
She was hurting and she couldn’t tell anyone. She walked home with her brother and her friends. Her pant still wet from something she had never seen before. She has constantly wondered over the years why no one came to rescue her.
She takes it that at that age if she still remembers correctly, her mother still bathed her. She can’t remember that days bath. Or the days that followed. She still went to school. As usual.
She never stopped wondering if her mother noticed that her daughter had been taken advantage of. She is devastated knowing she will never have that conversation with her mother. She never stopped wondering if anyone else knew. She never stopped thinking of the punishment that would befall her if she ever told anyone what had happened. The rapist manipulated her to keep silent.
As if that was not enough brutality. She lived in a household with a lot of people, day in day out. Family, neighbors and workers from all over.
She shared the compound with one family member. A young man. Her cousin. He was in Highschool. She remembers how he started manipulating her and locking her into his room and having his way with her. He gave her coins to buy sweets and threatened her never to tell anyone what he was doing to her. She can’t recall how often or how long this went on.
Yet she never said a word to anyone.
She was taken to boarding school when she was nine years old. Her mother had just died. She had no time to mourn. She held secrets she was ashamed of. She was away from her siblings. Somehow she was happy to be away from the man who was taking advantage of her.
Every time she went home for holidays she saw her cousin and she dared never talk to anyone what he had been doing to her.
She grew up a broken girl. Too much happening too fast. Grew up in fear. Scared and afraid of men. Whenever she was sent to the shopping center she would hide in a bush if she saw a man coming her way until he was gone.
Sometimes she would run to walk next to a woman if she saw men or a man on the same street as her. It took her until after Highschool to get a HIV test done. She was always horrified what the results might be. She did it in secret at a VCT center. Drenched in sweat for she feared to hear the worst.
It tested negative. She was the happiest girl ever when she received the results.
She has cried so much over the years. Had sleepless nights. Had nightmares. Suffered in silence. It pained and frustrated her to see the same cousin laugh with her parents and yet he had participated in taking a piece or her over and over.
Being raped has affected her life so baldly she wishes she would go back and change everything.
Except that she can’t.
She has constantly questioned her worth. She had it rough as a teenager. Afraid of men. Men thought she was just shy but she was only scared and she hated them. She took the fault and the shame of the ones who wronged her and made them her own.
Her trust was broken. She took the fault of every broken relationship she ever had. She never trusted anyone. She never let people fully in. She keeps distance afraid to be hurt one bit more.
She has carried the baggage of what happened to her all along, way too long. She wished to die. Because she thought she was the problem.
(Part 3 …continuation next blog post.)