One in three women will experience gender-based violence (GBV) in their lifetime. But sadly, every day these stories of violence go untold, with many girls and women frightened of the unnecessary stigma and shame that surrounds this abuse.
This year, MTV Shuga are joining the campaign for 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence by sharing stories that we receive from women around the world who have experienced abuse. We are sharing these stories in order to raise awareness about violence against women, to stand in solidarity with all survivors of abuse, and to counter the silence that has gone on for too long.
Below is an account of one girl’s journey of abuse and her hope of moving forward. Any names have been changed at the writer’s request.
I was molested as a child by so called ‘Uncles’ who came to live in our home. I was 12 at the time. I had no one to talk to because when I was nine years old my mother beat me up and put pepper in my vagina because she was told I was alone with a boy in a room. I never knew what sex was, all I knew was that this cousin of mine used to touch me funny.
When I was 13 my dad beat me and threatened to disown me because I sent a Valentine’s day card to a boy I liked in school. He was convinced that I was already having sex so he beat me until I couldn’t stand or walk. I tried to hide behind my mother but she pushed me away.
So who was I to tell when I actually got raped? When a man took my body because he felt he deserved it simply because he gave me a gift.
People who knew the story kept asking me what I was doing in his hotel room and said that I deserved it. How I have been able to move on from all this is a mystery... that is if I have moved on.
Thank you for MTV Shuga, thank you for touching lives and helping people see how to make a difference. The show this year was phenomenal. Help our parents and us be better parents. Help the world see that it is wrong to punish a child for what she doesn’t understand.
Thank you, and I hope you know you have helped me see and know better. #WOKE.
If you have experienced any form of abuse and need to talk with someone, you can get help here. If you have a story that you’d like to share with us, please get in touch via our social media or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org