love’s in need of love…

today, even though i was still feeling pretty crap, waiting for my meds to kick in and boot this g-damned sinus infection which has been threatening to ruin my entire weekend, i accompanied my friend ernst to “fora” in roodepoort where i helped him choose 2 cute canine companions. they already have names, valentine, in honor of the holiday and phoenix, whom ernst had already named before we met her.  they are so lucky to find a dad with such a big heart and i think he’s equally lucky to find them. i think it’s a love-match and i can’t wait for him to take them home tomorrow.

fora = friends of rescued animals. they are amazing. no animals are euthanized. if they don’t find a home, they get to live out their lives at the shelter.

valentine, ernst, phoenix

on the way out, we met this feisty little one – a cross between a maltese and a chinese hairless… i have such a soft spot for ugly… if he wasn’t already being claimed, i would have tried to find a way to persuade zee and chai that they want another brother!

i don’t usually like going to shelters because i find it difficult to see so many creatures confined by those cages and because i want to take each and everyone of them home with me. thank goodness that there are places for these animals to go. if you want a pet, please don’t go to a puppy mill, or buy them from a puppy-mill supplied pet store. even if you want a pedigreed pet, please first check your local animal shelter. many have pedigreed animals whose families have emigrated or moved away.  one of the loves of my life, comes from the spca and i cannot imagine my life without him. this valentine’s weekend, remember to spread the love to our animal kin. they’ll pay you back hundred-fold in ways you cannot even begin to imagine.


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
 – my site for survivors 


this afternoon the green room at work saw a few of us actors sitting around watching the news –  aghast at the details being revealed about the austrian who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years, fathering 7 children with her.
Josef Fritzl and Elizabeth Fritzl

i’m speechless.  i can’t allow myself to dwell on it too much. at least i wasn’t imprisoned – i managed to escape… that poor woman wasn’t as lucky. so many other women aren’t as lucky. all i can do is shake my head at the fact that the devil comes in so many different guises. first natascha kampusch, now this… once again a reminder why i have such a strong reaction to men who try to control me.

never again. never again. never again.


Pederast, paedophile –
you sick fuck!
You suck!
or at least
that’s what you made me do –
and more.
much worse.
I was only four –
how much more innocent could I be?
And yet, like a vile snake, you defiled me!

No, I take it back.
That image of the snake
is my totem now,
though not like yours;
no violent, hissing thing,
but the one, tail in mouth –
the orobourus,
symbol of strength and rebirth,
now my defense,
my familiar….

You took so much.
Your touch left me besmirched,
and lurching
into what’s supposed to be a life.
Well, enough!
It’s time to shed this grimy skin –
I’ll reveal the one,
untouched, within
and like the phoenix, I shall rise.
The only ashes left,
are yours.

I am a slave,
joyfully dancing on your grave.
I’ve escaped the crack and lash
of your whip
and my sisters are joining me.
The ones, head-shaven,
are growing their medusa-locks
and others you thought inside ripped,
not anymore –
we’ve slipped this yoke
with our phoenix-feathers flying,
You’ll see….
We are setting ourselves free.
(phoenix image and poem COPYRIGHT – SANDI SCHULTZ)