we were nine. i tell myself i must have imagined it. or maybe dreamt it.
i was nine and she was grown up enough in her childhood to ask me if i was a deep sleeper. to make sure i was sleeping then to pull my underwear down and touch me. i didn’t report it because our parents were friends. because she was a girl and girl’s didn’t rape.
i remember it and i remember wanting to open my eyes but being embarrassed that my body did not listen to me – it was not as frozen and afraid of her much stronger arms.
i was at her house for that whole weekend. she did it again and again, every time she thought i had fallen asleep. but i couldn’t really sleep. i didn’t report it because she was my only friend for years, without her i’d be alone everyday at school and at home, my mom would hate me. i still haven’t told. i can’t report it now, it’s too late.
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.