I was a 21 year old student when I was raped. A guy I had known for a few months, spent a lot of time with violated me. He wanted us to see each other on a more bf/gf sense but I wasn’t interested in him. Nonetheless we continued the friendship my friends I knew him and at times we would go out as a group on weekends but I maintained it was just friendship.
One weekend he invited me to a party in a suburb in Durban. None of my friends were keen. But when he came to pick me up I decided to go. The agreement was that he would bring me home. I got to the party it was fun. The last thing I remember was feeling woozy on the couch and clearly I passed out.
I woke up in bed with my panties and clothes placed next to my head. I felt sore in my private parts. My eyes were almost swollen shut from crying. My throat was raw. I know I was drugged and raped, I never reported to police because so many years later I have no recollection of what happened and that is what bothers me even today. I can’t remember. That is why I never reported. Somehow so many years later that experience has left me so humiliated.
I asked him the same morning what he had done to me. He responded with a laugh and said he would drive me home do I could sober up. I remember my throat being so parched, a terrible headache and dull thud in my head. I could hardly walk straight my legs were so shaky. Years later I googled date rape drugs and what I was going through that morning was synonymous with their after effects.
I never reported because of the humiliation I felt over not even being able to remember. The not more than 10 people I have told about my date rape in the past 9 years have chosen to pretend I never said anything – this is the obvious female reaction – they offer nothing but pity. My mother refusing to acknowledge I was raped. She seems too frightened by the thought. A few male friends insinuated I only have myself to blame. A previous partner humilated me by telling his church elder who proceeded to patronise my pain with a prayer said in haste.
I think not reporting my rape and dealing with it in my own confused and private way was the best decision I made.
If you are rape survivor based in South Africa and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence‘ helpline at 0800 150 150.
Note: Rape myths abound after virtually every case of rape or sexual violence is brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. These stories aim to dispel that myth.
If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please fill in the form below or email me directly at michelle[at]journoactivist.com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.