I’ve had enough. And so should you

In 2008, proud racist David Bullard was fired from the Sunday Times  for a column wherein he denigrated black South Africans. In seems that, after the failure of his many legal matters against the Sunday Times and its owning company Avusa, Bullard found a new hobby. And that hobby is harassing and bullying rape survivors  - and I get the special honour of being his target of choice.

Six months ago, Bullard wrote the following as a footnote to a column published by Politicsweb. In short, Bullard accused me of planning to blackmail my rapist; that I made up having being raped due a “fevered imagination”; and, therefore, was preventing the proverbial “we” from taking rape seriously.

bullard

From Bullard’s Politicsweb article. (Click to enlarge.)

I decided not to take the matter further. In the months to follow however, it appeared that Bullard’s rape apology and harassment was infectious and spread to comment threads around the web, as well as my Facebook profile. The Daily Maverick – which could once boast a stringent comment moderation policy – has a comment thread that can by-and-large be described as the pseudo-intellectual’s News24. With its fall from grace came Bullard’s misogynist and rape apologist followers, who quickly ensured the once hallowed halls of DM commentary was a lion’s den for me as a rape survivor.

DM

A comment thread from Daily Maverick.

I still didn’t take the matter further after Bullard began regularly harassing me about my rape and calling me Twitter’s “terminally unhinged” and “a few chocolates short of a box”. That is, until today.

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I didn’t take the matter further. Until now.

The last six months have been a new low for me and my experience of living as a rape survivor in South Africa. For the first time since I publicly spoke out about my rape in 2011, I seriously regretted ever speaking out. I wanted to take it back.

For the first time, I was told that my rape, wasn’t rape. I was told I was a delusional liar with no credibility to speak or fight against rape and sexual violence in my country. I was told that, because people like me make up rape, South Africans couldn’t take rape seriously.

I wasn’t told this once. I wasn’t told this twice. I was repeatedly told in a variety of fora.

Why? Because I chose not to report my rape to the police.

I didn’t report my rape in 2010, and neither have as many as 1,5-million other South African men, women and children who experienced sexual violence since then. These 37 men and women have shared why they didn’t report.  And others have shared that they did try to report their rape – while some of them wish they never did.

Bullard is trying his damnedest to undermine my credibility and, thereby, my work in the sexual violence sector as well as my work for abuse survivors in South Africa.

This is a call to arms for all right thinking people, including rape survivors, their families and their friends to stand up against what is nothing less than outright rape apology.

Bullard’s tweets represent nothing less than the hate and violence meted on rape survivors when they are not only not believed, but punished for daring to speak. I’ve had enough, and any decent South African has had enough.

Therefore I am asking that all South Africans that want a South Africa free of sexual violence and supportive of rape survivors to stand up against Bullard and his trolls. Stand up for all the rape survivors, both out spoken and silent, who have been affected by Bullard’s casual dismissal of my rape experience for his own cynical ends.

Report Bullard’s rape apology, and that of any other person who attempts to undermine the credibility of a rape survivor through victim-blaming, slut-shaming, rape apology and online abuse.

I broke my silence and I will never be silent again. 

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Teacher convicted of sexual offence on minor remains in classroom

Found guilty of sexual assault on daughter but teaching school kids.

By ZISANDA NKONKOBEDAILY DISPATCH

A teacher, who was convicted of sexually abusing his then 15-year-old daughter last year, is back teaching children at an Eastern Cape school.

This has infuriated parents who want the man to be dismissed from the school.

Continue reading

Why I didn’t report my rape #38 – “I didn’t know it was rape”

I didn’t know it was rape until learning the definition of rape in a psych 101 class.

We had been hooking up for months and he begged and pleaded and I’d always say no. I wasn’t a virgin but after falling in love with my friends-with-benefits partner in the past I didn’t want to risk being hurt again emotionally.

One day, he said ‘but don’t you want us to be official, the only way to prove you love me is to do it’ or something along those lines. I tried to put it out my mind so long I don’t quite remember his exact words. Begrudgingly I agreed because I did love him and I did want for us to be official.

I joke that it was the worst sex I ever had. I was uncomfortable and unwilling but I did it because when it came to him I was a blind naive little girl.

It wasn’t violent and it wasn’t a stranger in a dark alley. He was my best friend. He was the person I cared most about. And I disrespected myself by letting him ‘coerce’ me into having sex with him.

And honestly if I walked into any police station and told them that they would probably laugh and tell me to stop wasting their time.

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PLEASE NOTE: The “Why I didn’t report” stories are submitted by rape survivors and victims from around South Africa (and a couple from abroad) as well as by their family members and friends. These stories are published anonymously at the request of the authors. Please do not re-publish these stories outside of this website without my permission, as I have to clear this with the author of the story. This is in order to maintain the integrity of the authors’ stories, as well as respect their privacy. Please help me create safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories by respecting this request.

If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.

If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence’ helpline at 0800 150 150.

Why I didn’t report #37 – “I would have been court marshalled”

[TRIGGER WARNING: rape]

 

During the 70′s and 80′s South Africa had compulsory military training (conscription) for all white males, if you refused, you would go to jail for between 10 and 15 years. At the age of 18yrs I was sent to the Air Force for two years and was trained as a radar operator, as I was based close to home and was doing work as an assistant air traffic controller, it was tolerable. Everybody knew I belonged to a very small liberal political party; most white South Africans supported the government with their policy of apartheid. I got used to being ridiculed, on a number of occasions the officers would call everybody for a talk and they would say ” watch out, anybody could be a spy… even..then they would mention me by my rank and name”.

It was in my nature to take up leadership roles (now I know why, for my safety I had to have control). I became the spokesman for the conscripts, I discovered fraud taking place on our base, the head of the kitchen was selling our rations, when this was pointed out he was transferred from the base and shortly after that I was sent to go on active duty to South West Africa (the name of the country when the apartheid government occupied it. – now called Namibia)/Angola border, everybody thought we were fighting the communist onslaught, I knew better they were trying to keep the status quo – apartheid.

Active duty was stressful, anybody in the military will know, people get killed while on active duty. South Africa was at war, as conscripts we were forced into this war, if we believed in it or not. The stresses got to me one night and I got very drunk in the bar, stumbled back to my quarters on the other side of the runway, as I passed the mess (canteen) I was grabbed by some guys (not from the air force, the base also housed the special forces, army and medics) pulled into a room and was violently raped by a group of males, I was drunk and they were bigger and stronger than me, I tried to fight then off but I was overpowered. It was violent, today I can still remember the smell of their sweat, I was too drunk to remember their faces.

That was the last time I have been hopelessly drunk. My trust for males disappeared, so did my tolerance for people who were tipsy or drunk. I felt uncomfortable in an all male environment.

When it was over I was in shock and dumped like a dead animal. I got back to my quarters and showered for hours, the bleeding finally stopped. I felt as if I was no longer a man, I was damaged goods. I was in pain for weeks. The next day I pretended nothing had happened.

The next 6 weeks I felt so lonely, nobody to talk to. I had a loving family at home and a girlfriend, my childhood sweetheart that I was madly in love with (now my wife) waiting for my return – that is what got me thru the nightmare. Everybody knew I was against apartheid and they all thought I was a “commie “. I have always wondered ….. was the rape random or was it because I was perceived to be so liberal. I never hid my liberal political thinking.

I could not report the incident, I would have been court marshalled for trying to put the military in disrepute or sent to DB (detention barracks) as a deviant – I would not be believed – no member of the military would do such a thing (the only law was military law) remember this was still in a country where you could be detained for 6 months, if you were perceived to be a threat to the state.

I had flashbacks for years from both the rape and what I witnessed while on active duty. The flashbacks were incomplete, blurred, as I had blocked the rape out of my mind, I knew what happened but was in denial. I used to wake up paralyzed, my eyes were open and I could see everything in the room, I could not move, my wife would hear me mumble for help, she would wake me up. This happened quite a few times it was worse than a horror movie, I never recalled the dream just the physical reaction to it. I can understand that dreams can cause heart attacks. My heart was pounding I asked my wife to feel the pounding and she could see the fear on my face.  I still did not join the dots. I did some internet research, it could have been anything from evil spirits trying to take over my soul, to brain tumours (sometimes the net is full of bullshit)  or sleep paralysis.

I kept my mind busy, ensuring it was in overdrive, I lived for work, became a serial entrepreneur and workaholic, got involved in organizations, took on leadership roles and did everything to ensure my mind was active. Gave my family all the material things, but little time. I was emotionless, no highs, no lows. You can’t spend your life on a roller coaster pretending everything is fine, something will eventually give. I never drank or did drugs I had to be in control to protect myself. Only if people knew I was a time bomb waiting to explode.

At 39 everything came to a head, I spent 18 months in therapy, was fortunate I could afford one and hit the luck the first time; she was the leading expert in this field. The anti- depressants worked while I started to put the puzzle together! It started like I had a puzzle of unknown pieces, but did not have the picture, so I did not know what the outcome would be. The edges were not there and pieces were missing. I thought it would be an impossible task. Just like a puzzle, once you find one piece, it gives you a clue for the next piece. Up to today the puzzle is not complete but it is complete enough to be a survivor.

My wife stuck with me. I told my wife and later my daughters when they were 18 about being sexually abused as a child and they know I was raped.

That was 10 years ago and I became a thriver over time.

-Rees

For more information and support for male rape survivors, please go to South African Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Samsosa).

 

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PLEASE NOTE: The “Why I didn’t report” stories are submitted by rape survivors and victims from around South Africa (and a couple from abroad) as well as by their family members and friends. These stories are published anonymously at the request of the authors. Please do not re-publish these stories outside of this website without my permission, as I have to clear this with the author of the story. This is in order to maintain the integrity of the authors’ stories, as well as respect their privacy. Please help me create safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories by respecting this request.

If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.

If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence’ helpline at 0800 150 150.

Why I didn’t report my rape #36 – “they didn’t protect me”

[TRIGGER WARNING: rape]
The year was 1994 when i was doing my Grade 1 before that i was staying with my GrandMa but that year i had to move in with my Mom (who is disabled) and My Stepdad. My Stepdad was an abusive man towards my mom especially when he is drunk. so we stayed in a 1 room shack.
During my stay with them my Stepdad started to rape me (i am not sure if it was rape or Molestation because he used to put his penis in my vagina but not entering me and used to be Painful) and he will tell me if i tell my mom he will tell her that i was naughty or misbehaving (He did this because he knew i was afraid of my Mom because i think my Mom used to take out her anger on me) everytime after the rape he will give me money and say i should not tell my Mom.
I didn’t understand what was going on until when i was 12 when at school they started telling us about rape but still i was afraid to tell my mom. the rape happen everytime when my mom went to church because she used to leave me and when my stepdad lost his job it got worse because my mom was working locally and he was staying at home eventually when i was 13 i got pregnant.
My mom saw that i was pregnant when i was 3 month pregnant and when she asked me who was the boy i didn’t know what to say to her because i used to beat boys my age because i was angry i finaly told her it was my stepdad all she said to me because it was at night and my dad was out she said “go to sleep and i will talk to your father”. and nothing was done except i had to go to the hospital when i was 5 month pregnant to do an abortion and i was fetch from the hospital after the abortion by my stepdad because my Mom said he is the one who got me pregnant he must fetch me. No counselling was given to me. Then after my stepdad started abusing me Physically and emotionally until i meet my husband got married when i was 17 in matric because i needed to get out of their Home. i Forgive my Mom, Stepdad and Grandma because they didn’t nothing to protect me. But i didn’t report it for me i never knew what was going on until i was 12 and i had no idea where who to trust and i was ashamed of myself that i let that happen for so long

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PLEASE NOTE: The “Why I didn’t report” stories are submitted by rape survivors and victims from around South Africa (and a couple from abroad) as well as by their family members and friends. These stories are published anonymously at the request of the authors. Please do not re-publish these stories outside of this website without my permission, as I have to clear this with the author of the story. This is in order to maintain the integrity of the authors’ stories, as well as respect their privacy. Please help me create safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories by respecting this request.

If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.

If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence’ helpline at 0800 150 150.