My shame, Your Shame, Our shame!!!!!!

Loreen Meda
Posted February 19, 2020 from Zimbabwe

I am sitting with this woman that I have known my whole life, she is so put together and I look up to her. We tell each other stories of experiences we have had in our lives and decisions we made, should not have made ( you know the sort of things girls with history do when they meet) In our talk she comments on an article that was in the paper about a woman being gang raped. We discuss the dangers a girl child or woman faces and how the issue is handled at the police station and by relatives, she is emotional through out our discussion.  We talk about how the victim is put in a position were they have to prove they are raped, in the process traumatising the victim and in most cases the perpetrator going scot-free.

It is during this talk that she confides in me that she has been raped twice. She confides in me that because of the shame and stigma that is attached to rape victims, she choose not to report the matter.  In her case the  first time it happened she was at a party with friends, she asked for a room to rest as she was drinking and didn't want to drive in her state.  She said as she was sleeping she work up to someone touching her, the guy had been following her around but he did not ask her out and there was no reason for him to be in the same room with her. She could not fight him off so the guy raped her, and next morning she pretended like nothing had happened.  I asked her if she was okay and if there was anything I could do, she asked me to be her friend as always and not to treat her differently. 

We spoke about a lot other things, we realised that yes my friend thought it was good to sweep the matter under the  carpet but the lamps can make walking painful.  As put together as she was, she was broken inside, she confessed that she needed closure.  She had guilt (though she knows that it was not her fault), she was angry and never got to address the anger and the biggest thing that affected her was shame.  She still had  the shame, even if she did not tell anyone of her ordeal.

There are may cases of Rape and abuse not reported because of shame, this stops one from getting the help they need in order to get the healing they need.  I always get the image of a person walking around with this big wound on their leg, it makes walking difficult and it is a fact that any person with such a wound will go to the doctor so they  be treated. Once the wound is healed they are happy that the can walk nicely again.  When a person is raped, it is not just the body that is violated but the spirit as well.  The body can heal but it is often the mind and the spirit that we neglect  to treat. We also need to forgive ourselves, even if intellectually we know that it is not our fault, we often blame ourselves and think we deserve what happened to us.  It is a human right to

This brings to life the importance of support groups, and creating easy access to information.  I provide information for schools, public places and posters that everyone can read as they are walking.    We are still fighting with stigma, culture and power dynamics.

 

 

 

Comments 11

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Jill Langhus
Feb 19
Feb 19

Hi Loreen,

How are you doing? Aw, poor thing:-( Such a burden to carry on ones own. Have you been able to help her? I hope so. Thanks so much for the hard, but necessary, work you're doing. Shame is a difficult thing to eradicate and needs to be healed.

Hope you're doing well, and that you have a good, rest of the week, dear.

laison sylvie
Feb 20
Feb 20

That is very true my dear sister, so many rape cases are not reported. Many prefer to stay silent because of stigma. We need to change the narratives.

Regina Afanwi Young
Feb 20
Feb 20

Thanks dear. Such a you touching story. This is Gender Based Violence. No one has the right to rape no matter the circumstance. Sister Thank you for giving her a listening ear. That was some healing you know. Glad you agreed to be her friend. Please still encourage her to report the case, seek psychosocial help and even medical care. Thanks for the sisterhood

Ekitah
Feb 20
Feb 20

Yes my dear sister, there are many cases i agreed. A sister confined in me how she went to visit her very closed friend and in the middle of the night discovered the husband on her. She was afriad to shout to put her friend’s marriage in danger. Since she left that house the next morning, its a year today and her relationship with the friend is cool. Her innocent friend keep asking what is the problem but she is ashame to say it.
Lets keep encouraging each other my dear, its really painful.
Thanks for sharing.

Hello, Loreen,

It's sad how women victims of rape suffer in similar ways. You nailed it here, " how the victim is put in a position were they have to prove they are raped, in the process traumatizing the victim and in most cases the perpetrator going scot-free." That is so true in many circumstances all across the world.

Thank you for raising your voice about rape and shame. Thank you for being the voice of countless voiceless women who are still seeking justice. We stand with you!

Anita Shrestha
Feb 21
Feb 21

Dear Sis
Thank you for sharing this information. Please update regulalry

Marie Abanga
Feb 22
Feb 22

Dear Loreen,

I really wish I we're near you sisters to hug you both so much. I have since 2018 worked with over 20 young victims of rape aged between 3-19. The shame and pain and guilt is so to the marrow. Fortunately, sisters like you and myself are here not treating these victims (am one myself victim of marital rape) without judgment hurray.
Light and love
Marie

lizzymark
Feb 22
Feb 22

Hi Loreen,
Such a painful memory for women who have gone through such experience. So sorry about your friend how is she now and how are you also holding up? Truly lots of cases that have not been spoken about but as we create the atmosphere many will speak out. Thanks for shearing.

Fanka
Feb 23
Feb 23

Hello sister,
I appreciate your efford of listing to a victim of GBV and accepting to be her frience. Shame is not easy to eliminate. Continue to encourage her and provide her with trauma healing opportunity.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Dear Loreen,
How are you doing. Thank you so much for listening to her. You have no idea what impact that has on her now and for the rest of her life. It is really sad. Thank you for being there for her.
God bless

Mercy Vernyuy Munyuy

Hi Loreen.
It is sad how the stigma remains with us as alot goes unspoken about.we only have to keep talking so others can find the courage to talk too.