I always wondered if I was destined to be abused. My earliest memory of abuse although at that time I genuinely believed that Paul loved me. He was my sister’s boyfriend and he taught me how to kiss. I was 5 years old and I knew how to french kiss. When I look back I wonder what was it about me that made men want to abuse me, did I have the face, the body or the personality. I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer to that question, but I do know that it was never ever part of God’s plan for my life.
I grew up in a very middle class suburb in Johannesburg, we never had much money there were times when we didn’t have any. I have an older sister and a younger sister and I also had a brother who passed away when I was five. I often wonder if my life would have been different if he was still alive.
My mom worked at the local municipality for a very long time and my dad was unemployed for a while until he eventually found a permanent job although he was off quite often. My dad was a heavy drinker who spent most of his weekend intoxicated. He would sometimes not come home for a whole weekend and eventually resurface when the money was finished. Often I used to wish that I was somewhere else although I think I was invisible most of the time anyway, because no one really noticed me half the time especially when a fight broke out. I had to sit and listen to swearing, cursing and insults. I was an anxious child because I never knew what the weekend would have in store. Would he come home, would he be drunk, would they fight, would he hit her? I lived in a state of constant anxiety. I remember mom tried on numerous occasions to leave him; she would get a court order which was given to him. When he received this letter all hell broke loose.
My memories of my brother are vague but I do know that I loved him so much and he loved me in such a pure and wonderful way. I will always remember the night he died we were at home standing around the fire place I was drawing pictures I often did this to amuse myself, when the policemen knocked on the door. I don’t remember much after that but I do know that I lost not only my brother that night, but also my mother. A part of mom died that night and she’s been broken ever since. Our lives changed forever that fateful night. Dad spiraled out of control, my older sister was never home and I was invisible yet again.
Mom fell pregnant a few years after my brother’s death and I know that she did not want the baby I remember someone coming to our house to take care of it. I don’t quite know what happened but mom decided to keep the baby. I loved my sister from the very first moment I saw her because I finally had someone who would notice me. My older sister was not that loving towards me I never really understood why and to this day our relationship is strained. My baby sister was so beautiful and I was not lonely anymore.
I was so proud of her and I could not wait for my friends to see her. I wanted everyone to see my beautiful baby. I remember when she got so ill that she landed up in hospital I was not allowed to see her and I was so afraid that she would leave me too. Fortunately she pulled through and was soon home with me.
But all was not well Mom had to return to work and there was no one to look after her so my aunt came and took her away.
This was devastating for her and for me this changed out lives forever because we walked into the open arms of a child molester.
I don’t remember much about how the abuse started, but I do remember the time when I went with him to his flat. He had kittens and he wanted to show them to me I did not want to go, but of course my mom did not think there was anything wrong with me going.
That was when it all started. He started touching me and wanting me to touch him in return. I remember standing at the gate of the flats asking someone to open for me, but she would not, I wanted to walk home. Fortunately one of his friends arrived and he had to take me home. That day was the beginning of the end for me. I was taken away nearly every weekend. My aunt eventually shacked up with him, they pretended they were married but we all knew they were not. My sister went to live with them and I only saw her on weekends.
On weekends we were whisked away to his house for fun and games. Everything that he did to me was a game, you play the game with me and I’ll play it with you. This carried on for many years; every weekend of my life was the same story. Friday to Sunday I would be a zombie pretending that I enjoyed his fingers prodding me, pretending that him touching my breasts were wonderful, pretending that his slopping wet kisses and his stinking breath were what I lived for. Come Monday all would be different because I would be free till the next Friday.
School holidays were the pits I had to spend the holidays there and although I loved being with my sister and playing with her. I hated the evenings because I knew what was coming. We would lie in the bed with my aunt and he and he would fondle me until my legs became numb and I wanted to vomit. I would them jump up and rush to the bathroom. Of course being sick was no reason to stop, I then had to fondle him in return sometimes going under the blankets and do things to him. All with my aunt next to him in the bed. At the time I really thought that she did not know, but now as I look back I know she knew.
He always told me that he was teaching me to be a woman, and that I would be a good wife to my husband because I would know all the moves. He also enjoyed showing me pornography and telling me the most disgusting things and what the dogs would enjoy doing to me. I can still see his sick smug face in front of me know. Every time I walked past this man I hated myself more and more, I hated my growing body, my budding breasts.
Bath time was another opportunity for him to abuse us; he would walk into the bathroom when I was busy. We were not allowed to lock the doors. I hated bath time. No where was I safe, even using the toilet was an opportunity for him. I tried to escape as much as possible. We spent most of our time at the pool, but you can only hide for so long. I had to go home eventually and he would be waiting.
As I look back now it feels like a story, someone else’s story. Did this really happen to me? Sadly I have to say yes. My life was never my own until I decided to take it back, but that took almost thirty years to do.
My life was a recurring series of lies and deceit; I pretended to my friends that I had a wonderful life. No one ever knew the real me. I lied to myself and to all who knew me I pretended that everything was fine. I never really had a best friend at school, to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever had a best friend but I preferred it that way because they might find out the real truth and then I would be screwed.
I had a few boyfriends but of course all they really wanted was sex and of course as I had been so well trained to do I obliged. I learnt early on not to go out with guys at school because I was afraid of what the people would think of me and as my mother was always telling me to behave like a lady I made sure I was never caught out. I longed for someone to love the real me and to see past all the lies. Most of my school years were unhappy I was often misunderstood. I was called many names and people often saw me as a snob, but I was such an introvert and so afraid that I could not speak out. I was taught to shut my mouth from an early age and I was a good student.
‘My Uncle” became really ill with circulation problems in his legs he also had diabetes, eventually they had to amputate the leg. I remember him walking around on crutches and I would dread hearing the ‘tik-tik’ coming down the passage. Due his continuous drinking he eventually lost his other leg. So know he was in a wheelchair and we had to push him around all the time, but still the abuse carried on.
Emotional and sexual abuse was what made up my day. He would insult me in front of my parents and they said nothing to protect me, that hurt even more than the words themselves. I had absolutely no self esteem and no confidence silence became my only ally.
I started getting severe pains in my legs when I was about 16, I could hardly walk the pain was so bad. I eventually landed up in hospital and the doctors could never find out what was wrong with me. Eventually when the abuse was out in the open the doctor said that it was a manifestation of the abuse.
My mother eventually found out about the abuse and as expected she did not know how to handle it. My aunty denied it and pretended to be shocked while my ‘uncle’ was furious with me for saying anything. I was treated like the criminal. I did a stint at a psychologist to please my mother of course, but this guy did nothing for me. He made me feel like the guilty party.
Needless to say my parents continued to see my aunt and ‘uncle’ and he continued to visit our house. I felt like a fool and of course so guilty. I knew in my heart that my mother did not believe it; to this day we have never spoken about it again. Ignorance is bliss! If only they know the hell that I have been through because of this.
We live in a very sad world where children are used and abused and then cast aside like a piece of junk. My wish is to help free victims, to help them become survivors.
As I reflect back on my life I see God’s hand protecting me through it all, my life could have been so different yet God set me on a path that would ultimately set me free.
Thank you Lord for your protection and for finally setting me free.
I eventually met the man of my dreams when I was 17 and I fell head over heels in love. He was and is still everything I’ve ever wanted in a man and the best part is he loves me for who I am. Fortunately for me he loved me back with no strings attached.
It was inevitable that we would get married and finally after four years we eventually did. I have been very blessed to have met a man like Shawn, I told him early in our relationship about the abuse and he stuck with me even although I was used goods. God really knew what He was doing by bringing this man into my life because he was and still is exactly what I need. He is my comfort, my rock and my very best friend.
After we got married life was good, but there was always something between us I could never truly give myself to my husband as a wife should and I always felt ashamed that I was not a virgin on my wedding night. I wanted to choose who I would give my virginity to and I wanted so desperately to give it to Shawn. I had flashbacks and the memories kept flooding back every time we became intimate so for me making love to my husband was just sex. I always seemed to switch off when it came to sex it was as if I would leave my body until it was over. He never really said anything but I know that it bothered him very much. I would feel terrible after sex so guilty and I had to keep reminding myself that I was a married woman and there is nothing wrong with making love to your husband.
All I can say is thank God he sent such a wonderful understanding man to me, I am sure if it was anyone else I would probably have been divorced by now.
The day I decided that I wanted my life back, was the most wonderful start of an amazing journey. I found myself and who I am in this world. I can walk with my head held high and I am not ashamed any more I am able to look back and see that I am stronger because of my past. My journey has not been easy and I know that many people share my story, but not many are prepared to face the past.
It all started when we took our son to see a therapist because I was so concerned about his lack of confidence and the fact that he was having recurring nightmares. I was convinced that there was something wrong and I was determined to get to the bottom of it. She had a session with him and then wanted to see myself and hubby afterwards. I was so anxious because deep in my heart my greatest fear was that my son would be abused and I never wanted that to happen to him, but I definitely was not prepared for what she had to say.
She told us that although she did not think that my boy had a serious problem, she was convinced that something was wrong and the only way to help him was to know what the problem was. As I sat there listening to her I knew in my heart that I was to blame for my sons problems, I was always so very afraid to let him go and play or leave him to do his own thing. I constantly had to watch him and I would have an anxiety attack if I could not see him. He was never allowed to play at a friend’s house or visit someone without me. I decided that I had to tell her about my abuse because I was so sure that it was the cause of his problems. She told me that she had suspected something along those lines all along and she recommended that I seek counseling. I decided that I had to take her advice for all our sakes.
This was the beginning of my journey and it was the hardest and scariest thing I have ever done. It was the beginning of my new life, but it was hell.
I often look back to that time and I imagine myself in a long dark tunnel with no light at the end, the tunnel just kept on and on for months and suddenly one day I began seeing a speck and eventually it turned into a light. My journey towards the light was manic at times, but it was worth every minute.
My road to freedom began when I went to see a psychologist her name was Denny and I decided that I would be open and honest from the very beginning because I thought that if I co-operated then I would be healed quickly without much fuss. How wrong I was? I went through hell every week; I had to face a reality that I had kept a secret for so long. I had to open a can of worms that I did not want to.
I became severely depressed and she wanted me to take anti-depressants but I was adamant that I did not want to. I was not eating and I lost a lot of weight, I could not sleep and I was starting to have severe anxiety. I was so afraid and alone. This was definitely the darkest time in my life.
My first anxiety attack happened on the eve of my sons seventh birthday. I was sleeping very sporadically and I remember waking up at about quarter to twelve being unable to breathe and having severe palpitations. I was terribly afraid and I thought I was having a heart attack my palms were sweating, I had pain in my chest and I could not breathe. Eventually I woke my husband up and he tried to calm me down but could not.
We got dressed and put my sleeping child in the car and rushed to the hospital, were I was diagnosed with panic attacks. The doctor on duty asked me if I was stressed, if only he knew. He gave me some medication and told me that I should be careful with them as they are very addictive. The nurse brought me some water and told me to take a pill immediately; well I pretended to drink the tablet because I was too afraid to take it.
We got home at about two in the morning and by now I was so desperate to sleep that I decided to take half a tablet. As I lay down on my pillow it felt as if a wave was washing over me and I eventually fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning I felt as sick as a dog, my eyes were heavy, my head was thick and my heart was breaking.
I stayed home for a few days trying to relax and sort myself out. I never sorted anything out and I never slept either. My husband was away on business and I was all alone. It was then that I started having thoughts of suicide and death. All I could think of was dying and the release it would bring. I planned to gas myself in the garage. It was just my son and I at home and I had plenty of opportunity to do it, but I could not. In my utter desperation I went to see my GP and told him about the anxiety and depression. He prescribed some anti-depressants and told me to start taking them immediately. My therapist was pleased and told me that I could take them and I would get better quicker.
I really tried to take them, but I could not every time I took one out and put it in my mouth a terrible fear would wash over me and I would throw the tablet away. Eventually I think out of desperation on her part my therapist advised me to go and see a hypno-therapist or take the tablets. Well I was more afraid of the pills and than hypnotherapy so I made an appointment to see Tina.
I did not know what to expect and I was very nervous. I told her my story and why I was referred to her; she seemed very nice and told me that she was certain she could help me. She did not hypnotize me at the first session and I booked another session for the following week. I was certain that this was the answer, and I left her rooms feeling confident that I would be well in a few weeks. I was eluding myself once again.
Through all this happening I still had to work and function on a normal level and I struggled just to get through each day. I was still not sleeping and I was constantly anxious. The fear that I had was so intense and I realized that I was walking on a very thin line between insanity and sanity. I began feeling an intense yearning for God, so I began talking to Him. I think in the beginning it was pure desperation because I felt the no one could help me anymore.
I went for my next session of hypno-therapy not quite certain what to expect, but willing to try anything at this stage. I lay down on her couch and began to relax; she played some nice music and started speaking to me. She assured me that I was now hypnotized I must say I was not convinced. I went along with her and we spoke about my anxiety and the fact that it was all in the mind we also started talking about the abuse and how I felt towards my parents. After about two hours she brought me out of hypnosis and I was exhausted. I booked another session and left her rooms feeling terrible. I drove home from Orange Grove in a daze I am not quite sure how I managed to get home at all. Upon arriving home I was so nauseous and I felt so awful that I wondered once again what the hell I had done, I should have left things the way they were at least I had it all under control. Now my life was chaos, I had lost control.
Needless to say I had booked another session still convinced that this was the answer. My next session was probably the most intense because I had to face my abuser and tell him what I thought of him. It all sounded wonderfully simple and I was eager to get started. As I look back and ponder on things I realize that during my sessions I was extremely anxious, a day before my appointment my anxiety levels would be higher than usual instead of solving the problem it only made things worse.
My second session was by far the worst. I confronted my abuser and I told him what I thought of him and how much I hated him and what he did to me, but the one thing that really surprised as well as terrified me was the amount of anger that I had inside. I had never really expressed my anger in any way, I would rather walk away and now I knew why. The intensity of my anger was terrifying and I hit the living daylights out of her pillow. When I eventually came out of hypnosis I was exhausted and very shaken by my experience. I did feel better after a few days it always took me a day or two to recover from a session.
Unfortunately I felt I was not making much progress I was still not sleeping, I was still severely depressed and the anxiety was even worse. Yet I persisted in my quest to find healing. Through all this my yearning for God became more intense I continually spoke to Him and begged Him for help. In the early hours of the morning when sleep eluded me He was my constant companion. My heart ached and the only solace I found was in my God.
I once again went for a hypnosis session this was to be my last session although I did not know it at the time. We did the usual and once again I was under and all through this session I knew that this was not the answer, I was looking in the wrong place once again.
After my session I made another appointment with the intention of seeing her again in a week, I never saw her again.
I stopped seeing the psychologist at work too; I was convinced that they were not the answer.
So once again I was back to square one although this time I felt more out of control, more crazy and more depressed than ever. I had no idea what to do so I started reading books on depression and anxiety I had an insatiable desire to learn more about my constant companions. Amazingly it seemed to work as I read I learnt that I was not crazy and what I felt was normal for a person in my situation. It was okay to not be in control all the time, it was okay to cry and scream if I wanted to.
Through all this I prayed constantly I turned to God time and time again and all the praise and glory must go to my Father in heaven because without His guidance in my life I would have been a lost soul. He saved my life and helped me find a freedom that I had never known in all my life.
I eventually spoke to our priest and asked him for spiritual guidance. After a few meetings with him, he gave me an invitation to attend an inner healing training course. At first I was really not in the mood for something like this quite frankly I had enough of healing and therapy.
Eventually I decided to go and see what it was all about; incredibly the very first seminar I attended was about abuse. Coincidence? I think not. God works in strange and mysterious ways.
As I heard what the other ladies had to say I began to relax as I learned that God loved me despite everything and that He did not want this to happen to me, His plan for my life was very different to the path that it had taken. One of the conditions of the course was that we all had to go for inner-healing ourselves. I was still struggling with the anxiety and depression so I made the appointment; I had tried everything else and had nothing left to lose.
The inner-healing was an amazing experience and it radically changed my life.
I arranged to see Kirsty with the hope that this will be the solution. I knew that this was probably my last chance because I was not sure how much longer I could carry on. They welcome me with such love that I immediately felt at ease. I had to answer quite a few questions and I told Kirsty about the abuse.
She seemed quite certain that I could be healed and it would take 3 to 4 sessions. I sat there wondering if this was really true. We started the session immediately and Kirsty wanted to take me back to the womb, I really thought this was crazy. To be polite I said that would be fine and I wondered how on earth I would ever be able to remember my 10th birthday let alone my birth.
But once again I did not understand the power and greatness of God, because He not only helped me remember, he also showed me how much He loves me and best of all He showed me how much my Mom loves me.
I remember being inside a dark place and being afraid not wanting to come out and Kirsty tried to guide me out eventually it was determined that I was a prem baby . When I was eventually born I remember being held in my mothers arms and Jesus came and took me from her and He looked at me and smiled with such love and tenderness that I began to cry, I knew then that I was not a mistake and that I have a purpose on this earth. I then saw my mother’s face as she held me in her arms and I felt safe and secure because Mommy loved me.
We did the same through various stages of my of life and each time, Jesus was present and I realised just how much He loves me and that the abuse was not part of his plan for me.
I was able to forgive the very sad and sick man who abused me, my aunt who allowed it to happen and my parents.
Today by God’s grace I am free!