I AM PHOEBE AN OVERCOMER

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.
If you need help with gender-based violence, contact the GBV command center on 0800 428 428
If you want to share your story, contact us at info@1000women.co.za

My Process
I am an Overcomer of child sexual abuse, rape. domestic violence.
I was born in Netreg Bonteheuwel, I am the third eldest of five kids. Somehow I always felt like a misfit in my family. My story may offend or anger some? But its mine to tell. I recall my abuse as a child. My parents were very trusting and always opened up our home to people in need. My mom’s granny lived with us too. Oh how I hated mamma, I was her Skippy always cleaning up after her, cleaning out her sputum tin and always the one who must go to the shop for her to buy her Cavallah cigarettes I loved mamma and thought she loved me too but when I wanted a hug or cuddle with mamma on her bed in the evening I wasn’t permitted only my younger sister of a year younger than myself could get that .so anger and hatred was birthed out of that rejection. I prayed mamma would DIE because I was the one who did things for her not the others ,mamma died eventually and I rejoiced no more mamma to cause me emotional pain .so now later my mom’s sister and her family of 4 came to live with us too, all in this 1 bedroom house. So as It happened my dad’s friend came to lodge with us ,on weekends he would alternate on us four girls as to who would get a turn to accompany him to the place where is girlfriend who worked as a domestic help was employed . While she was cleaning up inside and doing her chores he would lay me on the bed ,spread open my legs and apply Vaseline on my vagina (cookie) I remember the 2 way silver mirror he also had ,I can’t really recall the use of it ? My parents’ marriage was abusive the home was unpleasant there was always fighting, screaming. my mom was forever crying, dad assaulted mom often she had scars and had blue eyes swollen lips etc. our windows were often broken and the chairs were thrown at my mom ,when she made a duck for it, then the chairs will fly towards the windows etc. Weekends were the worst with our home filled with dads drinking buddies, those who smoked dagga did there thing there too in the yard. Some of the faces of the men were not familiar but as courtesy to dad all was either uncle or aunty as it was expected of us to honor older folk as such. So between us four girls we were taken away weekend as an outing, it was my dad’s friends way of having the perfect time to do what he did to all 4 of us. The abuse continued for a while I cannot recall when it stopped but my older sister knew what was happening (revealed later) she had lots of guilt as she feels she should have protected us. Story goes that dad was (jolling) having an affair with another woman (this woman has 3 kids with my dad) and apparently dad felt trapped in this marriage to my mom. There were times I was sent to go and see who my dad was seeing by mom. When dad was on his way to the merchant to buy his STOP? DAGGA ZOL I was to go with because the purchase was put in my panty, yes I was a carrier.
Another chapter.
School was a nightmare we lived in Bonteheuwel but schooled in Athlone. Here was another place where I was a misfit too. Not good enough here another form of rejection an abuse from teachers took place. I was called upon to answer as to why my lines in my books were not straight and why wasn’t my homework done, the then teachers didn’t know my home situation and the abuse we were facing so after the bitch of a teacher first hitting my took broken with her fist and she belittled me in front of the whole class? called my older sister to come and confirm my story, dad made my ruler but he failed to make it smooth with the grinder at work.. He was so proud to have made it I guess there wasn’t money to buy me my school stationery because the money in the meantime went for wine and dagga and dads other kids by the other woman for nonsupport too. My sister and I had to pay in the money at the Athlone magistrate court after school. We would walk to Athlone after school and take a bus home from there, I often got hiding at school for fights (abuse made me aggressive and to a certain extend I became a bully especially toward my siblings)or my homework wasn’t done on time. From gr1 teachers were abusive toward me, we came from the wrong side of town I guess or my appearance wasn’t always neat. My parents worked, mom seldom washed our uniforms during the week. My books were dirty marks of food etc. So one day as I was now In gr 6 I went to school with a polo neck sweater because I was trying to cover up a love bite my dad’s friend playfully as he says gave me, I was labelled as ougat and I felt much rejection in school. My favorite moments were PT I loved Sports and athletics not classwork activities. I was often called upon to fill in for the PT teacher because of my outstanding performance. I dreaded class on a Thursday because it was sewing\knitting class. I even left my school case in the bus .LMK. Anyway I eventually started losing interest in school and eventually dropped out. I was later sent to a school in Bonteheuwel around the corner from home but my new teacher was a relative of the ex-teacher whom I caught in an act of smooching during interval at my previous school so I was already labelled there at my new? School too. So I dropped out.
I started clubbing from a very early age I was big and looked older than what I really was .so one evening a guy from a band asked me to share some drinks with him, one thing lead to another and he raped me. He was angry that he wasn’t my first lover. Well according to me? He was because I never had a boyfriend and I never had sex with someone before him. It was then the memories of what happened as a child started to appear on the screen of my memory..
Having lots of time to catch on mischief I started seeking out my dad’s porn books ,his dagga and his MONEY, Dad was now selling Dagga and wine to have extra cash ,so I had lekker parties with my friends we would smoke dads dagga and drank his wine ,put in water to fill the open unfinished bottle of wine. In the meantime a different kind of trouble was brooding. A friend of a friend was added to the group of friends I had. Not long after meeting him, the friend that introduced me to him asked if I could go with them to a braai. But it was a setup for rape. While everyone was busy drinking and smoking and dancing this guy took me to an isolated spot in the people’s yard and raped me there. The owner of the home heard my screams but vented on me and blamed and scolded me, I remember the shame as the family members would see me in the street or at the shops the stares the whispers as they informed those walking with them of my incident.
Fast fwd.
I met my children’s father by being introduced by my older sister. Handsome, blue eyes blonde curly hair and very athletic in stature. He was kind/humble and soft in nature it appeared. I was drawn to him. I looked on him and saw a protector from my brokenness. Someone who was going to love all my hurt away? By this time I had slept with a few other guys I had become promiscuous. What started out as beautiful all changed one evening as I told him I had aborted our baby? He starting cheating on me, beat me etc . We had a love hate relationship. I tried to overdose because of his rejection toward me. I was afraid my daddy was going to kill me should he find out I was pregnant. We had continued our relationship despite the other women.so when I turned 17yrs I was pregnant again our 1st son was born a week after my 18th birthday. We married when I was 21 yrs old. After fighting off so many other women in the past, by now I was born again as my pregnancy was threatened by PV Bleeding I turned to The Lord and surrender to His divine will. Married for a day an argument for drug money broke out and he wanted to hit me with a spade I had to jump the zink sheets of fencing to escape his anger. My marriage was abusive ,he went onto to dagga mandrax etc ,wasn’t a good provider he worked for a while then he would give up his job ,he sold my clothes ,and stuff from the home ,when he nagged for money for drugs and I didn’t want to give him he would turn on our son and kick him, smack him to hurt me, I was forced to place my son with my mom for safety while I worked. After a few years of marriage I couldn’t anymore so I left him and divorced him. My dad died in the this process and I questioned my faith in Christ Jesus, I remarried him but after 2 months it became worse the abuse was more violent I was now working in Lansdowne and every day I drank headache tablets, I started to pop pills etc. because I couldn’t cope with what I was experiencing after work, the sister in charge of the clinic referred me to the registrar’s at the high court and I received a paupers divorce. Looking back I remember how I was torn emotionally between my desires to have my kids grow up with their own dad but I was on the verge of killing this man by now. I told God either I leave or face prison but having been exposed to a upbringing of a dad hitting my mom and other women and drugs etc. in my young life I just about had it .
Today I am free from that kind of challenges but like Apostle Paul says “not that I have obtained it? Or been made perfect? But this one thing I do I forget the former things “
I choose to forgive my parents for not protecting me. I choose to forgive my abusers and rapists, my former teachers and lovers for using and abusing my body
GOD HAS HEALED AND MENDED MY BROKEN FRAGMENTED SOUL.
I HAVE THIS SAYING MY HIS STORY IS FOR GODS GLORY. Today I live to liberate women and girls from such trauma, I love life. I have 2 sons, 4 grandkids and 1 great grandson .I have overcome much still facing hurdles in life, still pressing on toward the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus.

I know in their own way my parents loved me. They were not aware of what my dad’s friend did. I did have a chance to tell my dad at the age of 29yrs after the birth of my 2nd son. Dads eyes filled with tears and he asked why didn’t I tell him and I replied I was afraid dad that you would blame me and hit me.
My advice is to SPEAK OUT UNTIL SOMEONE LISTENS DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE.

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