Zizo Tshwete opens up about being assaulted

TRUELOVE July cover star Zizo Tshwete
TRUELOVE July cover star Zizo Tshwete

Because of the sensitivity of some of the information, Zizo can only share parts of her experiences. “As a little girl, I was taken advantage of by a family friend, and threatened into not sharing what had happened. The trauma was literally blocked out of my mind. Later on, as a teen, a similar situation happened at a hangout with some friends. Then, the third time was when I was taken advantage of by a medical practitioner. I went in for a consultation, and ended up being touched inappropriately. All of this happened before I turned 18.”

READ MORE: The emancipation of Zizo Tshwete

She recounts how on an intellectual level, she knew exactly what she should have done – go to the police and tell her parents. But, in reality, she was crippled with disbelief and fear; and constantly quizzing herself about the validity of her experience or if anyone would believe her.

To deal with what she had endured, her inner toddler and teen suppressed the trauma until she had become an adult, with the strength to tackle it. “That is when I realised that it is completely unacceptable that there are so many women who have similar stories to tell, but can’t.”

READ MORE: How to help abuse survivors

She eventually told her parents – a conversation she says was very difficult as it impacted them. She says gender-based violence continues to be a taboo subject for most people. “They [her parents] have their own feelings about what they could have done, how they could have protected me, and why I felt that I could not tell them. My post came about because so many women are still scared to share their stories, speak about their challenges, and admit that they don’t always have things figured out. They’re scared to admit that they’re not perfect, yet the truth is that we’re all imperfect.”

Read Zizo Tshwete’s full story in the July issue of TRUELOVE. Buy your digital copy on Zinio and Magzter