Abuse victim speaks out

2017-06-21 06:01
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe Edutainment Theatre and Dance Project members perform at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum.

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe Edutainment Theatre and Dance Project members perform at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum.

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SEXUALLY abused by her older male cousins from a young age and not understanding that she was being molested and raped, a woman from Tamboville, shared her experience at a dialogue at the KwaZulu­-Natal Museum on Tuesday, June 13, which addressed issues of substance abuse and gender-based violence­.

She said at the time of her victimisation, at age five, she lived in a large family made up of grandparents (her grandfather had three wives), uncles, aunts, and cousins and said the sexual abuse she experienced went unnoticed by the elders of the household.

“My parents were negligent and assumed that since we lived together as a family, all the children were safe.

“They were not aware that one of the children could become a victim of abuse,” she said.

She said the strictness at home at the time, coupled with her not knowing she was being abused, made it difficult for her to speak out and report the experience.

“My cousins were abusing me sexually. At the time I did not know what was happening or what it is that they were doing to me.

“My grandmother was unaware, and my mother was usually at work, so I didn’t report the matter. I was scared, and I did not know what was happening.”

She said the abuse continued even after the family moved to another area­, however, in the new location, Willowfontein, a neighbour was now abusing her.

She said as she grew older she realised that what she had experienced as a child was sexual abuse, rape.

“It took me a long time to open up and speak about this experience because I’m a person filled with rage, I get into fights with people, and I’m short-tempered.

“Sometimes when I think about my experience I become angry and just want to be left alone,” she said.

She said she hopes her four-year-old daughter never goes through the pain she suffered and had to endure.

“I wish I could look after young children, especially girls.

“Where I live I advise mothers and warn them about the dangers of being negligent about their child’s activities and whereabouts.

“I wish I could help young girls who have been victims of abuse, but I do not know how to because I’m abused myself,” she said.

The dialogue was organised by businessmen Lwazi Nsele and Skhumbuzo “Skhebhe” Dlamini in order­ to bring together young people and government departments and organisations­ that work with substance abuse and gender-based violence victims.

Representatives from the Department of Communications, Nicro, Sanca and Lifeline spoke about the services their organisations offer.

Nsele said their ultimate goal was that dialogue participants would speak openly about their experiences, and at the outcome, come up with solutions to overcome the social ills that plague society.

An educational performance, inspired by the topics of the day, was put on by a group, Edutainment Theatre and Dance Project, mentored by Dlamini.

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