a dubious anniversary

my phoenix woman image

my phoenix woman image

at 02:45 a.m., on this day in 1992, right here in johannesburg, a man came flying through my door while i was lying sketching  in bed and over the next half hour, proceeded to rape me at knife-point. 

it was the yeoville rapist, at the time, on a spree terrorizing the women in my neighborhood (now in jail due to his fingerprint on the glass of water i handed him). the police had put out a profile saying that he was targeting young white, blonde women. i certainly wasn’t white (the government at the time made sure i was aware of that) and i wasn’t blonde and being a 12 year incest survivor, i certainly didn’t think the universe had this ordeal in mind for me as well. so when the neighbor’s dogs barked all night, i ignored them. when i heard the creaking of the floorboards, i thought that i really should ask my tenants in my duplex next door, to be a little quieter at this time of night. little did i know.

half an hour later when my friend who was staying with me for the week, came home, preventing the threatened encore to my involuntary experience, the guy finally took off over the back wall and any plans for my immediate future came crashing domino-down. the worst violation was not being raped, it was that he stole my sense of immunity, that thing we all need to get through the day, past the horrendous leading news stories, the thing that helps us believe “it won’t happen to me”. once it does, it’s as if you can never let your guard down. every noise you hear is the warning you didn’t heed, every person you see who looks vaguely like the guy, is a threat. the only night i spent alone in the house after that night, was spent walking from the front door to the back, investigating every little rustle. and i was probaby right, because 2 weeks later when i flew to new york to be with the man who would become my husband, he broke into my house again and attacked 2 women who were house-sitting for me.

6 months later i had, even though i didn’t yet know it at the time, moved to the states, gotten married and developed both ovarian cysts and grave’s disease, a hereditary hyper-thyroid condition which i didn’t even know i had, but which can manifest itself after a major trauma. i walked away from my house, my career, my life, my family and friends and i did not come back till i got the role on this soap 3 years ago. i really never envisioned myself coming back to jhb ever again.

it took me years to recover from that night. in fact i don’t know that i will ever be fully “recovered”, but coming back to jhb forced me to stop running and face the demon, acknowledge it and say “namaste”. for many years this day would bite me. i spent at least the first year in bed with the duvet pulled over my head. a measure of my recovery is that i only remembered what day it was as i was driving to work this morning. a far cry from the constricting dread that would overcome me in the weeks leading up to this day in other years.

i drew this around the 1st "anniversary"

i drew this as therapy that first year

 

 

man with a gun (lyrics to a song i wrote)
it was almost 3 a.m.
a quarter to, to be exact
i heard a noise above the music
but i didn't face the facts

then through the door you came
your knifing eyes foretold my pain
and though it wasn't for my life you came
now it will never be the same

it was almost 3 a.m.
a quarter to, to be exact
i heard a noise above the music
but i didn't face the facts

now i never can again
look the same at other men
though they didn't lie me on the floor
to take what they had come there for

even while i hid inside my head
imagining you in pools of red
i remember staring at the carpet
the one i'd chosen from the market

it was almost 3 a.m.
a quarter to, to be exact
i heard a noise above the music
but i didn't face the facts

3.15 you took with you
my feeling of immunity
and in it's stead you left in lieu
hell in perpetuity

it was almost 3 a.m.
a quarter to, to be exact
i heard a noise above the music
but i didn't face the facts

 

 

 

http:phoenixflying.net – my site for survivors 

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5 thoughts on “a dubious anniversary

  1. hey…

    Thank you for being such an amazing help…
    I have drawn strength from your story.
    It’s shocking that you’d return to joburg after that, but it also goes to show that life has to continue after such events.

    I went through a similar trauma, but was unable to deal. Your story brings hope to the women of this country who have been victims of this particular crime and human rights violation.

    Check out my blog on http://gerbilthefunkyrhodent.blogspot.com/2008/10/femi-ninja.html

    Une

  2. Dear Sass,

    I am Ex. D/Sgt Jones The man that arrested Wonga. I hope that one day you will find peace. I continue to monitor and watch just in case he gets released.

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