I am a survivor, not a victim. I come from a small village where there where always far more men than women. At 5 I started attending music classes, these would start around 6pm and end around 8pm. I was the only girl my age attending that class. My house wasn’t too far away, at the time I lived with my grandparents as my parents had moved away when I was 9 months. One of the nights after my music class, I took a longer way home, because I wanted to get Ice cream first. I was only 5. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t understand why the older boys wanted to touch me, why they where taking my trousers off. Why they took it in turn to be ‘doctors’ I didn’t understand, but all they kept saying was ‘its ok. We will make you better’. I don’t remember attending music class after that. I am sure I did, but the run home was always so fast.
When I was 7, my cousin invited me over to his house to play Nintendo. I loved super Mario, it was always so much fun when me, my sister and him played. That day, it was only me and him. We played, and then he took my remote control away. He told me I could only have it back if I did things. I refused, so he held me down. He was only 14. I was only 7.
As I grew older I began to understand more and more that what had happened was rape. It wasn’t a game, I didn’t need a doctor. Super Mario was never worth it.
I grew up learning to forgive them. But never forgave myself.
I started my first serious relationship at 15. He was from my hometown, but now we lived in the city. It was like a fairytale story, he ran away to be with me. I thought we would get married someday and have kids and all my past was forgotten. They told him you know. They told him I was no longer a Virgin and that they had all taken in turns to take it away from me. He believed them and got angry at me for lying. He forgave me. When I turned 18 I went to Uni. Much against him. He didn’t want me to one day earn more money than him. He didn’t want me to meet other people. But I went anyways. For 2 years I was never allowed to go home by myself. Just in case I met someone else. For 2 years I was picked up from Uni. I was asked every hour what i was doing and who I was with. I was hit. And one day out of nowhere. He did the same thing that he was angry at me for. He raped me. At the time I used to think I was his girlfriend. It was my job to please him, even if I didn’t w ant to. It was my job everyday I was with him. Thats what he used to say. I still remember looking up at his white ceiling, whie his body was on top of my. He would never kiss me. It was my job to please him. It was my job.
Im 27 now. I met this amazing man who knows some of my story. A man who did not get angry or blame me. Who encouraged me to tell my story. I am 27 now. None of it was my fault. It’s not my job to please. I’m 27, I’m a survivor and even though every now and again I let my thoughts win and I cry in anger. I know it wasn’t my fault. It was theirs. I met a man, he keeps me safe.
This is my story.
— Survivor, age 27