Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

Why I didn’t report my sexual abuse #17

I was 7 years old.

I didn’t know what sexual abuse was.
He was a trusted family friend.
A teacher of innocent children
I was in his care for the afternoon.
I was tired.
He put me in his bed and I fell asleep.
I woke up, to him touching my privates.
I didn’t understand what was going on.
He asked me if I liked it.
I can’t remember what I said.
I wanted to impress him as he was also my teacher.
So maybe I said, ‘Yes’.
I feel guilty for that.
But how could I have known?
He said it my be our secret.
We can’t tell anyone.
At the end of the school year, he will give me a present.
He kissed me.
I was 7 years old.

I lost confidence. Didn’t make friends easily.
Got bullied by other kids.
He saw this and took advantage of it.
I thought he was being kind by giving me space to escape my bullies.
He was just serving his own sexual perversion.
I was 7 years old.

Today, I am married.
I got married as a virgin.
I couldn’t have pleasurable intercourse due to vaginismus.
I’ve been going for therapy.
It has taken me YEARS before I could have a normal sexual relationship with my husband.
I still have days when it’s bad.
My husband is understanding and supportive.
This has affected our ability to conceive as well.
It’s so unfair.
I was 7 years old.

If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence‘ helpline at 0800 150 150.

Note: Rape myths abound after the Vavi rape accusation was brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. (See here.) I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story. To follow the series, see here.

If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.

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