Local author pens ‘ I’m the Girl Who Was Raped’

2016-05-25 06:00
Michelle Hattingh . Photo: SUPPLIED

Michelle Hattingh . Photo: SUPPLIED

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THE launch of Michelle Hattingh’s courageous memoir, I’m The Girl Who Was Raped, recently took place at the GFI Gallery in Park Drive, where Modjaji Books and Fogarty’s Bookshop hosted the author in conversation with a fellow writer and editor, Emily Buchanan.

Michelle, who grew up in Port Elizabeth, attended Pearson High School. She studied politics, philosophy and economics at Stellenbosch University, and went on to complete her Honours in Psychology at Cape Town University.

Michelle was raped on the very day that she delivered her psychology honours thesis on men’s perceptions of rape.

She started her honours presentation by stating, “A woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read…”

On that evening, she attended a party to celebrate attaining her degree. She and a friend went to the beach because her friend had something she wanted to discuss. They were both robbed, assaulted and raped. Within minutes of getting help, Michelle realised she would never be herself again. She was now “the girl who was raped.”

This book is about Michelle’s fight to be herself again. It is also her brave way of standing up for the women in South Africa who are raped every day.

Michelle feels the term “rape survivor” has become a politically correct term which people use to describe rape victims. She said, “Being raped, you don’t survive anything. I prefer the term rape victim”.

Michelle now resides in Cape Town and works as a senior online content producer at Marie Claire SA. Her work has been published in Elle SA, Marie Claire SA and Mail & Guardian.

Her memoir, I’m The Girl Who Was Raped, is published by Modjaji Books and costs R200.

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