GBV| The shame of being violated and fear of being stigmatized

Feeling ashamed for being violated, confession time!

Our satellite dish is broken – thanks to this weather, so naturally we are listening to Ukhozi fm with Ma.

OSgqemeza had me triggered this morning and the lady (from Isolezwe) who was harassed at the taxi rank, reporting and speaking about her ordeal gave me courage.

Yvette told me that I didn’t need to talk about my situation, when I expressed my inability to unveil the many incidences of sexual harassment that I have endured, which are no doubt not unique to me, seing as south Africa is the world’s capital of sexual harassment.

This gave me temporary comfort. I say temporary because my chosen path is talking about things.

When I share about something, I get to release the pain and anger. Thus closing the chapter forever.

I used to stay at St Francis College when I started working for the Diocese and that short walk from the cottages to the bishop’s house was treacherous. I would be praying not to bump into a certain person who terrorized me, touched me inappropriately and tried to kiss me every chance he got, AGAINST MY WILL.

I was too embarrassed to speak out and report him. What haunts me is the thought that he might still be working there, around school girls. I wonder if my silence hasn’t caused other people to suffer, which I could have prevented by exposing him.

One of my former colleagues at the Diocese had been harassed whilst on a site visit with her supervisor and she reported the matter, resulting in her supervisor being fired. The sentiment around the office was that she didn’t like & had gotten rid of her boss. Painting her as a bad, vindictive person.

It’s for this reason that I found it extremely daunting and depressing to report Zamo to the bishop, after he forced his tongue into my mouth. My office was in an isolated place, away from the rest of the secretariat. I opted to keep my doors locked from that day onwards and to stop greeting people with a smile, because it was clearly being misinterpreted as flirting and an invitation for sexual harassment.

The stigma and distrust directed towards victims who report these perpetrators, especially in the absence of witnesses is enough to keep women and girls silent. The embarrassment we feel when someone defiles and dehumanizes us is enough to keep us silent.

The lack of confidentiality when these matters are handled doesn’t help the situation either.

When I stayed at Station Place, in Pretoria a lot of exciting development was taking place around town. {Station Square was built, meaning that I didn’t have to walk 2km to do my grocery shopping.}

Another exciting thing happened, Osbro opened on the same street as our flat and it became my hang-out spot on Saturdays. I would go isle to isle, combing the whole store for cookware, silverware, gifts for birthdays and weddings, you name it.

Window shopping at Osbro became my favorite passtime until some guy fondled my breasts in full view of EVERYONE and nobody came to my rescue. They simply passed by and minded their own business, inspite of my shouting and screaming.

I got a feeling that the staff were more interested in whether or not I broke any of their stock in my rage.
I never went back to that store again after the incident.
It worries me that we live in a country where harassment is not frowned upon. It has been so normalized that people think you’re throwing a tantrum when you defend yourself against a pervert.

How else can we get men to grasp the depth and seriousness of this situation? How can we get you guys to be our allies?
How can we make this country safe for women and girls?

#StopGBV#stopkillingwomen#stoprape#stopbeingtrash

Published by FabulousMeuJwara

I'm a dark-skinned black woman who loves life, fashion, food and books. I am a writer at heart. I am fat and fabulous. I enjoy traveling and exploring. I am creative and smart. Welcome to my world!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: