‘Your sexual abuse stays within these walls’

A certain lady I spoke with, let’s call her Nomsa, was sexually abused by her grandfather, her uncles and brothers. With her grandfather it started when one morning w2hen her grandmother was away,and he asked for tea while he was still in bed. When she served him he started fondling her. From there it became penetrative sex and that was the start of the sexual abuse. Since Nomsa grew up in a big family, she slept in the lounge-- one of her uncles used to come and pick her up at night and sexually abuse her. Her grandmother knew about it, but she used to say that Nomsa must never tell anyone, and that "one day it will stop". I have realised that this is a common trend where women sacrifice their children in order to save their marriages.

Repeated abuse is more likely than once-off abuse

She later discovered that her mother who left her when she was still young was also sexually abused by the same man--  her father. She says that life at home was very unpleasant because refusal to have sex resulted in her being punished for trivial things.

What breaks my heart about the whole thing is that the grandmother knew all along but since they were a respected family she did not want the community to know about this disgrace and she would not divorce this filthy man. Where can a 14-year-old run to if not to her mother or grandmother? How heartbreaking it must have been for Nomsa to be so rejected and betrayed like that by someone who is supposed to protect her. Once, she went on a school tour and one one of her male teachers forced himself on her-- she did not even bother to report this because who was to protect her? She felt she had no one.

Doing anything to cope
She says her ordeal resulted in her being promiscuous as a young girl. She also resorted to alcohol to suppress her pain at home. Sleeping with a man was not a problem to her at all and a sexual encounter with a man was easy. Men could ask her for sex and she would gladly give it away - something which she says pains her when she looks back because she feels ashamed.

Now that she is a mother she says that she is quite vigilant and would do anything to protect her children. From her promiscuous past she is HIV positive,  but has turned her life to God and offers counselling to those in need.
Protect your child!

Nomsa’s story is a heartbreaking one and I would urge parents to stick by their children all the time. We are the ones they look up to. To be a parent and know that your child or grandchild is being abused and do nothing in order to preserve a marriage is beyond shocking. So many families are broken because we hide shocking things, all in the name of wanting to show a perfect family to the community. We need to stand by the truth all the time. Some mothers know that their husbands are sexually abusing their children but they keep quiet because they do not want to leave their marriages. Such innocence double betrayed. These kids need us, mamas and papas. Single mothers, let us also be careful of the men we bring into our children’s lives.

Read more by Masanda Peter

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Do you know of families with these kinds of secrets?

- Parent24
Read more on: sexual abuse teen health safety
Nicola Mabai 2012-08-01 02:28:26 PM
As sad as this is going to sound but this has been going on forever in our homes but the difference between now and the olden days is that things are more exposed and spoken about. A woman that would let her child/grandchild suffer like that needs to be psychologically evaluated. In Nomsa's case I'd say she needs to pray to God hard for the protection of her children because history has a nasty way of repeating itself. My heart goes out to her because she was young and had no choice, she also need to go for counselling and it is going to be a long journey for her and it is necessary. It appauls me when women trade in their children for a comfortable life..I'm just speechless.
ScottSQ 2012-08-02 08:53:32 AM
An additional complication of 'silence within family' is that sexual abusers/rapists/molesters/paedophiles are likely to be repeat offenders. One person's silence could put other kids at risk, whether in the same home or outside of it. Speak up, no matter how difficult, for the sake of preventing more victims having to suffer.
Jared Drake 2012-08-02 09:56:16 AM
That breaks my heart to read this article. Children needs their parents to be with all the times. If I have a child, i will definitely look after this child. God, please do something! The spiritual thing is not 100% working anymore, what's now? If her grandfather wasn't do something, then God would stop him from doing the bad thing. Are you there, God? If you are watching us, then protecting us, please! Amen
siyasanga.kashe 2012-08-02 10:35:54 AM
Wow .. what a sad story. But I am glad Nomsa has been able to share her story so that it reaches parents out there and hopfully saves a child's future, from being one of destruction. God Bless her
Nametapes 2012-08-02 01:49:22 PM
Thank you for sharing your story, I would like you if interested speak to a few childrens homes around Cape Town, we would like to sponsor you. Send me your email here. Thank you