01 Jul Aphiwe – Life story
Trigger warning: please note -the following stories contain sensitive material about sexual and dating violence and may cause physiological and psychological symptoms for people with anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These are first-hand experiences as told by women affected by gender-based violence. It is unedited and published with their full consent. Please read these stories with empathy and know that these women are survivors.
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“i was born in eastern cape a place called (mdantsane hospital)1991.
Mom moved and spent my infant life in queenstown with dad and ran from the marriage cause of the abuse.
Spent a few years of my childhood between queenstown and e cala with my granma,
That time my mom was partly around after her divorce with my father and met luis my stepfather,met him at my granma;s death bed.
Im the first of 6 children,lwando my brother(deseased)1st september2018 being the second sharing both parents,nandipha ,okuhle,iviwe,sikho the last born.
Im a mother of a 3year old girl whom i gave birth to 2015(imakhe)music is my favourite singing is my life,fell inlove with music at a young age,
When my grandmothers husband died in 1999 my mom took us from grandma taking us to live with her in cape town married to luis at the time.
Been in eastern cape for a few years without her presence,she looked beautiful and was happy to see her after years,i was quiet and shy,happy with granma but always wondered where mom was i adored her.
Never stayed in one place much,the longest was with grandma till 1999,
We arrived in cape town things seemed normal for a few weeks never minding the fact that mom married a white man wich never mattered or had no say in it.
It all started with a massage every night me and my siblings,and one by one he would send to sleep until i was left,he thought me at first how to massage he’s penis and he would finish it off after a few minutes and send me oof to bed,that became a constant routine everynight,and began to make me watch porn pointing out some of the positions and began to make me hand job him,gradually increased him massaging my vagina with his fingers telling me how it would feel,attempted refusing but i was very respectful and scared for him,cause we also got beatings for petty things often times i don’t know why we were beat,my punishments increased cause sometimes he would be so angry when he couldn’t ejaculate and i wuld assume in the morning because of the anger he had shown trying all means but to no avail,so i was either put in a corner or not going to school or without food,well my brother got those as well,or would take a thousand bricks at the front and back all day without water or food.
My mom that year took us to town two a little location in khayelitsha we arrived they had quite a chat, an intense one,i over heard the granny asking mom why hasn’t she killed us yet if she didn’t want us,she left us there and the next morning they took us to a home in khayelitsha,blinded i was a few days i called mom explaining where we were cause the social worker had inquired of our mom and i said and knew her number,i loved her that much,it was orgainised for us to go back there and we never said anything about the beating cause we assumed it was normal and i wouldn’t have dared to mention what the stepfather was doing to me.i shutterd most of what was happening just lived and looked forward and prepared for what was next to happen,never realy thought of it much it only would hit when its happening,so we arrived at home and i remember mom saying not tell anybody of where we were from and we never said a word,even now people don’t know if i lived in a home especially the neighbourhood people,so we began that on and off home and home or far away from home stranger when mom has kicke us out or locked us out,a good samaritan would take us for a few days then eventually take us back home,often times we never mention being locked out or thrown out,hence they would take us back,sometimes we feared going back wishing we would stay with that person,but because we never told the truth,and everytime going back there was the same thing rape,beating especially if mom is around,she was hardly around cause of her hotel job and friend outings,mom met a guy a in 2001 and she became a stranger at home and rape increased whether i wanted or not everday,she never slept at home and just came for a thing or 2,the seeting of our home was not a warm one mom absent and with a father by day a monster by night,i was never the same after 1999 a lot changed ,my childhood,my virginity,the world seemed very empty ,i felt abandoned and a pray waiting to be eaten,my life became a dark cold world,the only thing mattered was my survival and hope for change and filled my mind with fantasies of being rescued one day,the only person that mattered was my brother inside i felt i had to take full responsibility,i remember one night he was being punished for not finishing a chore and was not given food and had to hold a book up while we ate ,i couldn’t watch it,the tears in his face of his dark skin and how i knew he felt, i asked to rather take his punishment in soft tone and he said yes,my brother ate and went to sleep,i already knew what else was in store for me,especially fo that act of my brother,i was so scared of the beatings ,i felt all the time my blood like it left my body all the time,even sometimes requested in fear and offered myself to him and he would leave me,knowing ill be a good girl,well those were the good times for him cause i would not make him struggle,even thou i did inside,i didn’t know or see any other family that would be ours or change of place and began to accept the situation,in my mind the world became a very small little place,didn’t know any other life than that of our home,school became irrelevent and not important cause we would be taken out,as much as i loved it at school but it wasn’t my choice to be there or not,but my parents choice,so i forgot school and just went there if we did, did as told and never took my book infront for marking,i felt invisible anyway,the only thing i was known for was being a child to a white man.that was the reality of my life,we would be beat till neighbours come and stop mom and dad but she shut them out,with so much hope one of the realy stood up for us but mom was quite respected or feared cause of the fact of being married to a white man,in khayelitsha.he would struggle with me trying all things to get himself to ejaculate till3am in the morning from after supper,always tired during the day but couldn’t sleep cause the was work and school if we did that week,my brother colapsed one friday when we came back from school caused we had been punished all week without food,i was weak,but i drew more strenght to my brother trying to be strong for him and not showing weakness,well we couldn’t ask anyone at school,other children kinda maybe thought we were rich or something and the neighbours couldn’t get involved,so we suffered the whole week,well a guy helped me carry my brother and mom happened to be ther,first time ever seeing her on our side,when she asked why would he punish us the whole week and see what happened,embarrassment for i guess,i quote she said ‘you don’t even go to work if you have no lunch”we ate and for a day life was good.
Eventually he manipulated and got his way with me and there was no fighting or getting out of the situation,the only option for me was to die or the home wich was not the hiding place cause he could find me,i got to understand him and knew his facial and emotions when he was gona rape me,his furiousness and frustration he took them all out on me,nights for me where no longer normal,the world and his way swallowed me completely,i had dirhaeeas and hid them ,2002 my grandma arrived middle of the year we had ran from fear we got robbed money on our way back to the shop we weighed our options of going and telling but we couldn’t stand the fear of knowing what will happen,it was his chesterfield ,grandpa and coke,his favourite he couldn’t go a day without those,so fear creeped stronger and it was about 6oclock in the evening,we knew there would be no sleep,i was 10 by then and my brother 8years we made that decision and went to the home and never looked back.so grandma obviously asked where we were ,cause she arrived to fetch us with dad,and we all went home and stayed untill she could leave,but the rape continued right when she was there more quietly,as if he had missed me but never did they bother to go look for us or fetch us assuming that’s where we were,but one night she went to the bathroom the door was half open enough for others not to see but if you looked firmly through or between the frame and door you could,wich i guessed grandma saw and she went out the bathroom wich was near the room,to her room wich we all slept and she called for me,i couldn’t care whether he was done acting to be rushing for her calling,frustrated at me i could see,grandma held me so tight and prayed for me and promised to take me with,and that was,left for eastern cape that year,2002…my life there was a bit at ease i was nartured by her as if she understood or trying to erase the memories,often times i could see the pain in her eyes and her hopes for me to heal,we left in novevember 2002 in cape town…2003 i began school tat january she arranged for me to start,i did my grade 4 excited yet scared,but things were looking up and promising,2004 did my grade 5 2005 my grade 6 but in march was promoted to go to grade 7 because of my good marks and perfomance etc…june i passed well,and i was 14 years of age,and my grandma passed a few days after that on the 4th if i remember correctly it was after sassa grant days,and we had planned to visit cape town for the holiday,i was excited and terrified of what would happen but excited to see my mom,and she passed on,my life changed for the worst and had to go live with my great grandma,schools opened and went back to school and life became hell right after my foster care grant was approved in her name,but i satyed strong ,in september my arts and culture teacher whom was a principalas well for lingelethu junior secondary school told me in his office that next year he was thinking of taking me to his main class grade 9 and that i was doing so well at school with my work,i stayed with great grandma the entire year where she treated me like a maid,doing his sons washing and not buying me school things and teachers doing that for me,she made me sleep in the chicken house and woke up 4 oclock to prepare all things for her 2 sons and grandson, to my surprised he did move me to his class the same year grade 9,but i couldn’t cope at all emotionally i ended up staying with a relative of my grandma but for a little while she told me it would be better if i went back to her,i rebelled and threw a tentrum at greatgrandma told her that i wanted just a ticket to cape town to my mom,knowing what was going on there but i was just tired of that current situation,she did and my teachers were sad and never knew the reasons but truly new i was not happy and obviously knew with my other grandma how happy i was,yeah got to cape town in my mom”s biological moms place ,wich that was her sister who had died,purposely my great grandma gave that address to the driver,knoweing she never even wanted a thing to do with us but she took me in and that entire year i wasn’t in school,just home taking care of the house and mom’s brothers.
Mom arrived one afternoon wich she never does visit her mom and i happened to be there,she was drunk over heard the voice and went out the room and she saw me and asked what was i doing there,i had asked grandma and the funeral where she was but she said mom no longer lives at the address i knew ,well she lied and also didn’t tell mom that her sister(grandma)had died,so i wanted to go with her without saying thou,lucky grandma asked and i said yes,that was after mom had left,but she sent a guy called zolile to fetch me,it was the very same address but mom had re married to a teacher and stepdad had moved to durban,2007 he enrolled me to his school with my june report and did my high school in his school phandulwazi,march mon and my first stepdad in durban decided i move there as his helper to my half sister cause she was 8 years at the time,well i couldn’t say anything stepdad 2 tried to protest but mom told him that im not his child. I had seen and reunited with my brother he was still at the home but we saw each other he came on weekends etc during the few months ,we still connected as ever as if i never left to grandma and never realy discussed our past and current few things that occurred,he warned me by going but we both knew i couldn’t fight mom on that i respected and feared her.so i departed in march going to became a bit of ahustle finding school but eventually found some trash private college and did my grade10,july 14th my birthday a party was thrown on a saturday ,pictures were taken and etc,at the back of my mind i was waiting on the aproach of rape and holding breath he doesn’t again,but sunday we went to the fleemarket where he sold things and he sent me to fetch a flusk at home,a message came through my phone proposing that i become his lady and continue like in cape town,i rebelled he kicked me out and i became a homeless student for the entire year,,a lot happened during that stage,i smoke cigarette the very same day,first day ever and never stopped,just to supress the emotions,2008 life became painful and hard all alone without anbody as family beside random faces i met,dropped out of grade11 and became a full time streetkid,dating here and there,staying with this one and that one,mostly man who showed an interest still didn’t drink thou,my juice once got spiked by this bunch of a friend of mine who showed interest but knew he was a little older and taller i was skinnier and small ,so his friends spiked my drink and all of them took turns in having sex with me,i just remember after waking up with my pants on the knees and they were a few left standing outside,i just dressed and ask where my friend was and they said he had left,never said a thing,and remained in the same area,one of the guys guilt hit him after,cause i met after a while chasing me and i was a bit surprised and didn’t know whether that day he did or did not do anything,he ran to me in his crutches not knowing what had happened and i never asked,he apologized for his friends but i just brushed it off and didn’t say much and avoided the conversation and saying anything.well during my stay with greatma she had this guy who was handsome from nextdoor who was a good customer she sold beers and tobacco,she gave me up to him to do anything he wanted ,thinking it was a joke but he followed up i kept refusing but one day when i was from getting wood in the forest with other girls,it was a little late when we came back,at the gate hes eyes red ,he had been drinking or high from weed,he held me and dragged me towards him and i pulled out into the gate of the yard heading sraight to the fire house ,he slapped me and the wood from the head fell of and he continued with a fist and pushed me in the fire hous,where there was a single bed made of beer crates and big pots and wood..i was only struggling with him cause i was scared that greatma migh appear but he just didn’t care,cause that type of way i had not been introduced to but was familiar with the begging and teaching from my stepfather,and he was very old not to be a boyfriend i thought,so i wondered why he would force himself to me,but he did and i was his girlfriend without me wanting to be after the rape,anytime he wanted me he would come fetch me infront of greatma,,but that first day he forced himself in 2006 beginning of the year.and became his sort of girlfriend…”