Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

Why I didn’t report #34 – he was my boyfriend of over a year

I didn’t report my rape because I didn’t say no and I thought that made it my fault. I thought no one would believe that I said no with my body when I froze and couldn’t speak. I also didn’t think people would believe I let me boyfriend of over a year rape me because “rape doesn’t happen in relationships”, right?
I tried not to remember and eventually that was the case. I forgot the person who fights for gender rights by day and rapes and verbally abuses by night had raped me. I made myself forget what had happened to me because it was easier than admitting it to the world and having people judge me.

Since I remembered [redacted] I have realised that I was wrong. Everyone I told believed me and in fact many weren’t surprised. No one told me it was my fault. I’ve lost friends who felt that, yes a bad thing happened to me but being polite with my rapist worked better in their lives than displaying their contempt and hatred of him. I can’t get justice in court because I never reported and had no rape kit done. I’ve accepted this. The lack of social justice has been a blow. In all my life I will never understand the societal obligation to avoid conflict and so become complicit in the silence inflicted on survivors and the guilt and pain they must then carry alone.


PLEASE NOTE: Aspects of this story have been redacted in order not to identify the accused. This is both to protect the survivor and myself from civil liability.

The “Why I didn’t report” stories are submitted by rape survivors and victims from around South Africa (and a couple from abroad) as well as by their family members and friends. These stories are published anonymously at the request of the authors. Please do not re-publish these stories outside of this website without my permission, as I have to clear this with the author of the story. This is in order to maintain the integrity of the authors’ stories, as well as respect their privacy. Please help me create safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories by respecting this request.

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.

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.

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