I was five year old when I left the southern province with my young sister to go to live on the Copperbelt. The Copperbelt (CB) was the place to be at that time, the mines were giving the best jobs and scholarships, the best private schools could be found here, visas to shop in the UK were unlimited, the Duty Free shops where everywhere and of course it was a big thing to miss the Trade Fair.
I loved the trade fair and took pride in how many candyfloss I could eat in one day. So the idea to travel to the CB and live with my very rich uncle and his wife sounded like was the best thing that could ever happen to me. My parents had allowed us to stay with my uncle for the first three years to be able to attend the mine schools there. As my aunt and uncle had no children, it would be an ideal thing to do but all those details and more did not matter to me as I was going to live in the place of my dreams.
The first weeks of arriving there were heaven on earth, I had no idea that this would soon change. I soon became my uncle´s sex pet. It all started with simple sexual sayings like, “you do not have your breasts yet at your age?”, “What lovely long straight legs you have!” etc. I took these comments as compliments and also eyeopeners to pray that I would develop fast and have breasts. But I liked being with uncle, he just showed us the best times in life.
The comments would change to small touches on my private parts and chest. I was five years of age and thought it was some kind of game that I really did not want to play. It was then that I started to get weary and shy of being in his presence.
Uncle who was 36 years at the time began to play “games”. Games that were secrets never to be told. Uncle`s game of touch would turn to showing me pornographic movies. My parents never allowed us to watch any form of kissing in any movie, magazine or newspaper. So when the porno movie started, I did what I always did, cover my eyes with my hands and hope that it would soon be over. I never knew what I was watching but it was full of sounds and not words. I run out of the room to my sleeping room. I did not want to disobey my parents.
By the time I turned six, the movies, touching games had soon began to be a part of my weekly life. I was afraid to tell because I was just so scared Then the sexual molestation began, the bait was my young sister. If I refused to do what he said, he told me that he would go after my sister and kill us. I never wanted that. I had to protect my sister. So I surrendered to his demands. I never understood this but I knew this game was not what I ever wanted to play and I just wanted to go home. My aunt was always busy and attended every single party/event there was to attend. After all she was the Boss´ wife and a very important person in the community.
But the holiday we were to come home, my aunt had her first baby and unfortunately we had to stay. But my parents did come and visit us, but I never got around to tell them what was going on. I cried so much the day they came but everyone around me including myself said it was homesickness. My parents were surprised to see that I was no longer carefree (Ii have to admit that I was very lazy in terms of doing house chores) but became so clean and concerned. The truth was, I thought my hard work would make me so tired that I never woke up to do what my molester wanted.
My abuser would soon get tired of his molesting and wanted more. Three days before my seventh birthday, he took me in his big car for a ride with his young son. We rode to a river bank or was that a dam, I never can remember. He took me out of his car and slapped me so hard, I could not understand why. His son was quietly sleeping and I looked around for someone nearby, but there was nobody. He kicked me so hard in my stomach. I was so confused and in pain that I just did not know what to do. It was in my confusion and crying that he raped me. The feeling was like that of the sharpest razor cutting me down there. He told me it was a way to make me feel like a woman, to be mature and he was doing me a favor and if I told anyone he would kill me.
All I did was try to scream, but his hand was over my mouth, and cry and wish never to be a woman because what I felt during the rape hurt me so bad. I was bleeding and thought I was going to die.
When we returned home, he was laughing and being nice and acted like nothing had happened. My aunt noticed my sad face and the blood on my clothes and she asked me what had happened and he was fast to say I had began my menstrual period. I did not know what those words meant and agreed to what he said. I went to bath asking myself did every woman go through this to become a woman? What about my mum, did she go through it too?
I never died that night but I held my sister so hard because I did not want her to feel what I felt. I cried myself to sleep. The next morning the pain was still there and I could barely walk, so I stayed in bed. My aunt came in and told me things about “periods”, something that made no sense to me. She also warned me to stay away from boys as I could get pregnant. The bleeding had eventually stopped but the pain was excruciating. I hated to have to urinate.
Within a week of this experience, my abuser carried on sexually abusing me. I kept asking, how many times do I have to be cut down there to become a woman? As he sometimes came into my room late in the night, I would always be up and awake and loud hoping that my aunt would hear what was going on. But all my efforts were in vain as we lived in a very large house.
That year my cousin had been killed in a car crash, so we had to go to the funeral. As we sat around the fire, I told my abuser´s sister and a number of other relatives that were willing to hear how my uncle had sometimes late in the night come into my room.
….to be continued