Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

Why I didn’t report #35 – ‘Who would I tell? My parents?’

I was 15 when I had my first boyfriend. I have extremely strict parents. And dating at that age is unheard of in our family. Because I didn’t want to risk being seen standing with a boy, I agreed to go over to his place. I insisted we stay outside, by the pool, thinking I’d be safe there. I was a virgin, and the thought of being alone with a guy scared me. We were lying next to the pool. We kissed. He started touching me, I said no, he asked if I didn’t love him, I said I did, he continued touching me. I can’t remember how exactly it happened because for the longest time I forced myself to forget, convinced myself that it didn’t happen. I remember him being on me. I remember trying to push him off, him telling me to just relax, it’s not a big deal. I remember saying no again. And then I remember the pain. The physical pain of breaking my virginity, and the emotional pain of him not stopping even after I told him to. Once he had penetrated me I stopped fighting, and just waited for it to end. He came in me. He didn’t even use a condom. I was scared, confused. He pulled up his pants, and casually asked if he should walk me home because his parents would be back soon. I declined, and quickly left, leaving a stain of blood there. Why didn’t I report it? I was scared. Who would I tell? My parents? Then I’d have to explain why I had a boyfriend, furthermore why I went to his place. I got home and decided to forget about it, to act like it never happened. And for the longest time it worked. The first time I remembered it again was this year at the Silent Protest. In my solidarity shirt, in the crowd. I still wouldn’t report it now. It’s been 5 years



PLEASE NOTE: 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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