One night, the first of many, he stops his car in the middle of nowhere. He comes to my side of the car. He opens the door, I ask him why, he does not respond. We are after all on our way home, a place I live with my mother. Instead he pushes my seat down, with me in it. He starts fumbling with my tracksuit. Right there he was on me. I tried to push him way, duck from the oncoming traffic, it is pointless. It only enables him more. I cry my silent tears, I curse the day I met him, the time I decided to trust him. This does not stop him, he continues, keeps going-groaning. He starts moving faster as if to some unheard rhythm, and faster until he stops. And then Silence. Silence through the houses, the lights – no sights, till the last turn to the right. He kisses me goodnight. I walk away- he drives off. I cry all night, wake with swollen eyes. It is but my sorrow, for no one can find out.

I relinquished my personal rights, in the presence of man. One I call lover, one who is my friend. Yet I imagined for a long time for that stranger to force me. He never came. I smile at him, underneath crawling with hate. Resentment fills my heart, bitterness now a part of me. Yet I let him take me home anyway. The pain and hurt in my life, no one knows I suffer inside. I give so much of my power to him who I love, just so he can love me. He possessed me in a way that terrified me. What right do I have to be loved? What am I worth? I relinquished my rights for what I thought was love Nowhere to turn to, a story never told, yet now it can be heard, by a million women, by the head. From a confident young woman, to a lost soul. I suffered emotional abuse at the hands of a man I loved , betrayal confusion and frustration were the order of the day. I tried to commit suicide several times, for I could speak to no one, my friends never believed he abused me, he was well respected in society. My family could not know about him. I finally found solace in writing, strength in a colleague She encouraged me to join Voices of our future for support. I have arrived, now I am here. I can finally work towards getting my writings published. The story of a lost soul, a lost dream, finally found. I can live life again, I can love again, I have a hope for a future, for I have picked myself up in the face and knowledge of the lives of other women who have suffered more than I have. I reclaim my personal rights.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.

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Comments

You are beautiful So very beautiful He did not touch your soul He cannot change your goal. He cannot smudge your beauty With his futility. You are beautiful.

With all my love from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Tears come to my eyes everytime i try to recollect and look at my life since the time he came into my life. It is tough sometimes, but i have learnt to hold my head high and never look back! Thank you for encouraghing me.

Gertrude Bvindi

Gertrude, you are such a brave woman! I admire you and your strength. We are here to support you in this new life of yours. You truly are a good example for all the other women that still can't find their way out of the circle of violence, they need you, please keep sharing with us!

You are a brave, strong and courageous woman and do not let anybody ever make you feel any less than you are!!! I understand your pain because I know Zimbabwean society and how difficult it is to talk of date-rape. I am really sorry you had to go through this but I find comfort knowing that you came out of it stronger. Keep the spirit up and keep shining sweetie. Hugs:-)

Gertrude, Your story is an inspiration. What that man did to you is not a reflection of who you are. The fact that you shared this with the rest of the world speaks to the spirit and heart of a champion character that comes through this piece.

My dear Gertrude

I read this now and I cried. When strangers hurt us, we can at least take solace in the fact that they don't know us. But when those we call our own, hurt us, its just plain devastating. But after every disaster, we try to rebuild our home. As you rebuild yours, I will be there with you.

Many hugs

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe

You have my love and support. Rise up and Live again, I will suggest you read Usha's story and may be connect with her. I have no doubt that you will be comforted that you are not alone. As for feeling betrayed, turn it over to your Maker. I am sure all He sees is the beautiful Gertrude He formed. Its the beautiful you we all see too, what with your unique voice power that is emerging. Lots of Love and Hugs from Nigeria.

Olanike

Gertrude, so much love being sent your way because you are so deserving and worthy of it!!

When we love men who do not love us well in return, we do not relinquish ourselves, they take from us the safety to be ourselves, the amazing women we are!! You should be so proud that you thought it important to protect that part of yourself and have now given it freedom to shine! Much joy and song for you today!!

marissa

"I am the flicker, flame, butterfly ablaze who wants to fly in search of mythical rainbows beyond the rain." ~ Ana Castillo

Thank You very much. I understand what you are saying, kind of wondering where i have been all this time? World Pulse has given me another chance at being myself, finding love again. Thank you. I feel the love!

Gertrude Bvindi

Gertrude, you are a precious pearl of inestimable worth. May your story be a beacon for others, and provide redemption for you. It must have been hard, but thank you for sharing. All my love and support to you. As Monica said, you are beautiful.

Love, Ruthibelle ruthibelle.blogspot.com

Dear Gertrude,

Your voice is so strong, I am so happy that you colleague encouraged you to participate in Voice of Our Future. I am so moved by your essay. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you continue to write, to share your experience and to use your strong voice.

Good thoughts, Sally

Sally Peters ~~~~~ Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest. ~ Georgia O’Keeffe ~~~~~

Hey thank you very much..i feel i am loosing that voice because of things that are happening in my life again, sometimes you think you can handle it, and i really do not want to falter again and go back to that place of self pity. You constantly encourage me. I thank you for that.

Gertrude Bvindi

Gertrude,

You are gutsy, brave and your story makes me want to know more about how you picked yourself up. I am so proud of you for writing about what you went through because so many women have been in the same situation and yet there are only a few voices. Your voice grabbed me from the word one night. Thank you so much for reclaiming your personal rights so that other women will hear your voice and feel empowered to do the same.

Thank you again,

Tait

I am sitting hear trying not to shed any tears, there is so much more i can do for others, i just dont now how, i dont know where to begin and i still wonder how i got this far. I know for a fact that confrontation made a lot of sense, at first he did not acknowledge, in fact he never did, but i kept trying to get back at him and eventually he did get my attention. He apologised for how he treated me, but never for those nights he forced himself on me. I wanted my story to heard so much, i felt it was the only way i would get over it. I tried, noone who knew him or me wanted to listen. My friends thought i brought it upon myself. I could not even begin to tell my family that was rocked by a lot of other things. I try to be strong but at times, the memeories flood back to me and i am overwhelmed. Thank you for taking time to listen to my cry for attention., and support.

Gertrude Bvindi

Thank you for sharing your powerful story - Your voice is incredibly important and you are a great, powerful woman!

By reclaiming your power you can now stand tall and your courage will never fail you....I send you strength and know that you have the wisdom to lead others from victimhood to victory!

Thank you Gertrude

Chanti

Thank you for reading my story. I receive your words of encouragement and i hope the wisdom and strength you speak about can manifest themselves as i work towards securing a future for myself. Thanks for the encouragement.

Gertrude Bvindi

Thank you for reading my story. I receive your words of encouragement and i hope the wisdom and strength you speak about can manifest themselves as i work towards securing a future for myself. Thanks for the encouragement.

Gertrude Bvindi