I was an innocent soul. I loved and believed in God and prayed for myself to meet my soulmate one day. I always thought l would get married to one man, l believed in no sex before marriage, those were my values. Life later taught me that things are not that simple. Life is complex.

A day that l try to shut out of my mind every day of my life. A day that haunts me day and night. I lived with my grandmother at the time. She was very strict. I used to watch other kids play outside while l was locked up in her gates.

So one day my step-grandfather came to visit. He never stayed with us full time he would come and go coz of his work. So that day l was allowed to play out like normal kids. I was excited. I played until l lost track of time. It was starting to get dark so l decided to go home.

When l got home l was locked out. The gate had been locked. I knocked on the gate. And yea my grandmother and grandfather came out. They asked me where l was coming from and l started crying and apologizing for being late. I thought they would open but they did not, instead, they told me to go back where l was coming from. I sat by the gate hoping they would eventually open.

I guess l was wrong. While l was still waiting someone came by me. It was someone l was used to seeing, a familiar face but l didn’t know his name. To my surprise, he knew my name. He asked me why l was still sitting there. So l explained to him, well he knew my name and his face was familiar so l never thought anything of it.

He offered to help me. He said he could help me with a place to sleep. I didn’t feel okay with it, I was always locked in, l didn’t know anywhere and anyone really eventually l agreed. It was very close to home. Very very close. I agreed to go.

When l went in the lights were off. It was very dark but l didn’t question anything because l was being helped. I lay down though I couldn’t see anything and l was cold. Obviously, l couldn’t fall asleep. Later that night my helper came with a friend and l asked myself what they might have wanted.

I got the shock of my life. The helper started shouting at me. Still in the dark l couldn’t see, so to this day l still don’t know who his friend was. They told me l thought l was better than other people and they wanted to teach me a lesson. The two friends raped me. Took turns raping me. Its a feeling l can’t explain. I felt dirty, empty, angry and lost. My thoughts were all over the place.

“What’s wrong with me. What did l ever do to go through this?” Thoughts of losing my mom and dad filled me with anger. I had no one and nowhere to run to. The thought to report to the police came to mind. Then l thought its all my fault. My granny always blamed me for everything that went wrong.

“I was supposed to stay in the gate. It’s all my fault. Why did l play for too long? It’s all my fault! If l tell them they will all tell me its all my fault.” So in the end l never told a soul because in my head it was all my fault.

But it left me with so much anger. Until this day l hate my grandmother. I hate her with a passion, with every vein in my body. She doesn’t even know that the seed of my hatred has bloomed into a very strong tree. On that day my dignity was stolen from me and my trust for anyone was broken. I was just filled with hatred.

But above all, as life progressed, I learnt that when a man or men rape you, it isn’t your fault. They have a problem, the fact that they stood there to say, “You think you are better than anyone else, we are going to teach you a lesson, ” is enough the proof that they were seeking power. They wanted to prove they had some sort of power.

They didn’t even realize how weak they were. To take on a child, a powerless child. The sickness is in them not you. I wish I had gone to the police and reported them, I should have tried to fight for my justice. But between the treatment from home and the entire experience, I had no strength. All I am saying is, you are not the reason, it isn’t your fault.

Find your voice, find an outlet, seek counseling, just do something so you set yourself free from the anger. Don’t let it burn you for too long. I know, reporting rape is hard. At times they don’t believe you & they blame you. Stand by the truth, rape is a crime.