Opinion / Columnist
Sexually abused Girl-Child says: Zimbabwe neglected my childhood and Britain crushed my future dreams
04 May 2015 at 20:38hrs | Views
True story of Nozipho Godlwayo,
Part one, - taken from the book: "Sweetmother"
My name is Nozipho. I was born in 1989 in Nkayi District of Northern Matabeleland. We are three girls in the family. I was eight years old, just before I could start going to school, my aunt came to see us one time in 1997 because she had heard that we were not going to school.
This particular aunt was the sister to my father. Because she did not have children of her own, she asked my father if she can stay with one of his daughters. I was chosen to be the one to go as I was the oldest and I needed to start school immediately. It was a blessing in disguise to go and stay in Bulawayo with my aunt under her aegis as my parents were abjectly poor, I could not start schooling early because of financial constraints in the home. The purpose of my staying with my aunt was that she did not have children of her own so I was a substitute daughter to her. She had just married and she had tried everything to get a child but all was in vain.
I lived with them, my aunt and her husband both residents at a posh location in Bulawayo, at Hillside. My aunt taught me housework, and I enjoyed staying under her supervision. It was fun to be with her all the time. I had never stayed in town before it was this culture shock of getting to know how it's done in town, I tried to assimilate how to live in a posh part of the big metropolitan Bulawayo. I adjusted to my new life well with her hands of trust, she tried to assist me in overcoming my fears and inadequacies of household work.
My aunt worked as a social worker in Bulawayo western townships and it meant long hours of work for her. I would remain with "uncle" the husband to my aunt. I was not comfortable with him as he would tell me that I was his wife too. But I was eight years old.
Traditionally speaking, he was an in-law that had the right to play in-law plays of 'breast touching'. It was befitting the tradition if he said I was his wife. Sometimes he would say that in the presence of my parents if they visited us in town. I realised that my parents too did not see any ill-intentions in his assuming to be my husband as well as it was all embedded in the tradition for him to say I was his wife. I did however feel the discomfort of being told I was already a wife to him too. I became apprehensive and alert. I had this premonition that told me that anything can happen but did not know what that could be. As usual my aunt had gone to South Africa for shopping leaving me with "uncle Roy." I did not expect it but he told me to come and share his bed with him. I did not want that at all.
What kind of lowlife would teach a little child of 8 years and show her adult videos to arouse him?
It was not only the pain but the shame of seeing an old man I thought I respected as my father, undressed in front of me, hairs some black and some white around his genitals. I cried, he stopped and told me to go to my bedroom. Well I thought to myself if he tried again I need to cry and he would stop. The next day he told me to go to town together for shopping with him by car. I was happy. He bought many things, he asked me what I really wanted. We went to Nandos and we bought chips with ribs and a Hamburger at Wimpy and we also bought ice-cream that we took home. Again after a big treat he asked me to come to the bedroom he wanted to teach me something. It was blissfulness of a child that told me now you can go after all he bought you so many nice things. I went prepared for anything. He started with the breasts told me to undress and see if I had breasts at all. I did not have them. He told me that if he continued touching them they would start growing. I believed him but I did not need breasts. I did not have any use for them nearing eight years. There was a television in the bedroom, he told me that he was going to show me something but I should never tell my aunt when she comes. When the adult video started I was so disgusted that I looked by the side he laughed and told me to look. I did not, half way tried again to get the sense out of it. When it was finished he lay on top of me and told me that he wanted to teach me something. His member had risen and was between my thighs I had no chance to move from this big man who was over 50 years old. I bit my mouth not to feel the pain until he finished. I left the room and I cried really when I was at my bedroom because I was really in pain. In my pee there was blood too. He came and gave me the ice cream he had scooped in a bowl.
[Who are the child molesters? By Lorraine Blondie Sibanda/ 6th July 2014: Bulawayo24: It is difficult to draw a profile of the typical child molester. They come from all walks of life. Some are in positions of authority over children. The common image of the typical child molester as a stranger is largely untrue. The majority of child molesters know their victims. They may be relatives, family friends, neighbours or anyone else the child routinely comes into contact with. The desire to sexually abuse children is a sexual preference. The offender generally prefers sexual contact with children to any other form of sexual expression, even though he or she may have sexual relationships within his or her own peer group. It is rare that a child molester commits only one such crime. Hence the need for parents and children to report child sexual assault incidents so that perpetrators are brought to book before they molest more children. Furthermore, a child should always be taken seriously when he or she relates a story of sexual abuse. We all know that children are capable of making up stories and fantasising but it is important to realise that a child can only report the specifics of an abuse if it actually occurred.]
He told me never to tell my aunt. It was going to be better next time, the next day it happened again and it was Sunday and my aunt came later in the night from South Africa. The joke that she said was, how is your husband Roy, I hated to be called the wife to him I wondered if she knew what had happened. He would overly give me money to take to school to buy what I wanted. My aunt had long hours of work, this man who never worked, took advantage of this and would ask me to come to his bed the moment my aunt was away. I wondered if it was normal to do what he was doing to me and asking me not to tell my aunt. I could not befriend myself with the sex that was done without the knowledge of my aunt all the time. But the joke was always this man Roy and his little wife Nozipho. This practice went on unnoticed by my aunt until I decided enough was enough and I decided to run away one day and stay with some relative in Mzilikazi, a high density area. We lived in a posh Hillside suburb that was becoming a horror to me, I thought a modest township like Mzilikazi and some relative of my mother would give me the protection I needed most. My running away made me an unreliable person to my aunt. She told me I was becoming naughty. She disliked me then and was complaining about anything I did. It was my timidity and rural upbringing that made me not open up to my aunt about my relationship to this weird uncle. Her marriage was not an easy one either, her husband was very violent to her, he beat her badly most of the time. I was not able to put the pieces together why they fought. It surprised me too that she never asked for assistance or go to the police to report violence, it was this disproportionate violence that would leave her unwell for weeks sometimes.
My aunt decided to apply for a job to work in the UK. The UK was recruiting people of her profession en masse, social workers. She applied and was accepted. I wonder sometimes if she was running away from her violent marriage. But to leave me with this man and go to UK was the cruelest thing she could do to me. I do not know if her inability to have children may have resulted in her not able to smell the coffee, or even sees signs that her husband was sexually abusing me in her absence. I had no emotional connection with her ever for her to see whatever irregularities or some signals that would have told her that between me and this man called Roy, her husband, there is something! Something! I was made to sleep with him on a daily basis. I started having monthly periods at 10 years. I did not know who to tell, my aunt had left for UK. But because he said he was going to teach me things he did teach me, bought me cotton wool to use and after three days I stopped. I did not get the periods for another six months.
My aunt wanted me to come to UK and stay with her so the preparations started, it was the birth certificate that was needed to process the passport. This man "Roy" went to tell lies to the Registration Office that I was his daughter to get the passport. He was caught and put into prison for a week. My father came from Nkayi and processed my birth certificate and passport, and I left for the UK. Before I left, my father brought my two sisters with him who were going to stay with this man Roy after I had gone. My heart sank, how I wished I had the courage to tell my father never to do it. I found it difficult to tell my parents that they should not leave my sisters in this posh home as I was sexually abused by this in-law, Roy the husband to my aunt. To conceal anything and everything when my parents came with my sisters, his daughter Thembelitsha was at home too, giving the impression that he stays with his daughter so there is nothing wrong at all in this home. Girls are safe. Girls are safe indeed. When my parents left, his daughter too left the home and went to stay with her aunt to remove her from the adult video scenes and defilement in this home. For some reason I cannot explain, I never told my mother about the multiple sex this man did to me since I was ingénue, eight years, deflowered here in this posh home. In 2001 I left for the UK at the age of 12 years. My two sisters were 9 and 10 years old. I wondered in my mind if they were going to have the same experience I had with Uncle Roy. I was happy when I arrived at the UK, a respite from sex and those disgusting adult videos. We lived in Sheffield, in a two-bedroom flat. I attended a school as normal and my aunt was kind again to me. She would emphasize the need to do well at school. It was this fear of her that never really left me. I felt as if I was letting her down with my relationship with her husband that I concealed well. I was going to be happy if that experience I had with this weird uncle was just not spoken about or never be found out, it was my daily prayer. I was overjoyed to be in the UK and I did well at school, I never found school work challenging to me. I was aware of the poverty my parents were dwelling and could be alleviated by my ability to become educated and work to support them. Again, that was my daily prayer each time I woke up and prepared myself to go to school. "God of all mercy, hear my little prayer."
Source - Nomazulu Thata
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