On her Matric Dance night she braved the farewell and after-party without a partner because her boyfriend (someone she had promised herself to) could not make it. It was a day to celebrate the end of her high school career, it was more important she commemorate the journey with friends than it was that she show up with a gorgeous boy on her arm. She intended to have a good time. She was a virgin.
“I was sitting and chatting with a guy friend when the friend who had brought asked us to organise a ride home. She had brought me and my best friend. The guy I was chatting to offered to drop us off. I was flattered that he was even talking to me – he was very good looking and well known in our neighbourhood, was a part time house music DJ and had no shortage of girls. We continued drinking together and I remember I was knocking back red Sambucas at his invitation. When we were ready to go home he asked me to walk to his bakkie with him as it was parked a bit far from the club; claiming he felt tipsy and wanted some fresh air before he got behind the wheel.It was a long time before she was able to date, to be intimate with men and to be happy. But she did it, drawing strength from a will to live, to triumph, and to never be the victim again. She still believes aborting the baby was the right decision. She is now a successful married and mother to a beautiful son.
By the time we got to the bakkie I was feeling seriously woozy and it was only after we had driven off that I realised we were heading away from the club and not towards it. He told me he just wanted to take a short drive with the window open to sober up.
Looking back now I feel stupid but then I was just a short, fat girl with glasses; I was also wearing a floor length black dress that just about covered me like a sack – the last thing I thought was that someone like him could possibly be thinking of me in any way other than a friend.
He pulled up at a parking spot overlooking the beach and asked me if I wanted to take a walk on the beach. I said no – by this point, I was getting a bit uncomfortable but he assured me he was still trying to sober up and he just wanted to talk. Then he asked me for a kiss – at which I told him that I had a boyfriend.
So he said, “Why did you come with me then? Just give me a kiss and then we can go get your friend and go home.”
So I kissed him, because I thought that would placate him and he would take me home. I wanted to get away from him at this point. When he tried to push my dress up, I started pushing him away and saying “no”.
I can’t remember how many times I said to him, “Please do not do this”. It felt like forever and my throat was sore from shouting the following day – I fought so hard, he tore my stocking; I started trying to open the door to get out and run.
Then he leaned over me his 1.8m frame over my 1.52m (to me he was huge) and my efforts to fight him off were useless; I was like a moth swatting at a bear; he opened the glove compartment to show me a gun; he told me to shut up and stop screaming or he would have to use it.
I was sobbing and just kept saying, NO. NO. NO, thinking he would stop. I asked him to at least use a condom but it was like he had zoned out and he could not or would not hear anything I was saying.
Then he raped me.
After he was done, he asked me if I had enjoyed it and I said no. He seemed surprised, and then continued to try to have a conversation with me like there was nothing wrong. He said it had been great and we should get together again. He could not believe that I was a virgin when he saw the blood streaking down my legs.
I was crying by now and he just kept talking normally so I asked him to please drop me off at the club and I would find my own way home; by the time we got there, it was closed and my friend and her boyfriend were waiting outside. I was hysterical when I jumped out the van, I did not even wait for it to stop moving. My hair was a mess and the blood could be seen all over my legs, my stockings were ripped – I looked like hell.
My friend’s boyfriend was horrified, he wanted to go to the police station immediately but I was in no shape to do that. I was so shocked and hurt and ASHAMED. I just did not want anyone to know.
When my mom opened the door, took one look at me and started shouting and crying that we needed to go to the police station and asking if I had been raped. I was sobbing and hysterical, the last thing I needed was my mom panicking and shouting it out to the world. I ran into my room and into my shower with all my clothes on; I stayed on the shower floor for more than an hour; scrubbing the blood away and trying to clean myself.
I could not clean myself enough – the next day, I kept taking a shower. Oddly, my mom woke up the next day and never asked me about that night again; ever. It was like she decided she did not want to know.
For about a month afterwards, I did not want to brush my hair or get dressed – or make any attempts to look nice. I thought it was my fault for trying to look pretty and maybe if I made myself as unattractive as possible, it would never happen again.
I also fell pregnant. The man who raped me called me a few times, adding to my trauma. When I saw him with his friends they would stare at me. It felt like no matter where I went, if I turned around he would be standing there; watching me.
I could not stand the thought of a baby, I would have hated it, and so I had an abortion. I never told anyone. I thought I would tell my family once I had got over the shock, once I had dealt with the rape and the fact that I knowingly aborted a baby.
I did not want to lay any charges because I was convinced no one would believe me. I could scarcely believe it myself, it made no sense. Why would a good looking well educated boy from a good home do something so violent – and a boy who had girls throwing themselves at him?
Then a few months later, my mom, brother and I came home to find that my father had committed suicide – he had shot himself. There was no note. For a long time, I felt very guilty because a part of me thought he had somehow found out about the rape and was so ashamed of me that he killed himself. I later discovered he had financial difficulties.
However, there was no way that I was going to add to my family’s trauma after that. We were so ravaged and torn apart by my father’s suicide, it was a total shock to my family. I also broke up with my boyfriend because he wanted to get engaged and I did not know how to tell him I had been raped. I did not want to see any looks of revulsion or pity on that face I loved so much.
I think of that year as the worst year of my life and I know I made it through that year somehow – so I can handle anything that comes my way now.
Near that stretch of sandy beach, her innocence being ripped from her, she became his victim. To see her today and know what she has been through is testament of her power. Where some would break, she is a woman who has lived beyond her fear. I salute her.