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Johannesburg - Malebo Kooma is layered “like an onion, the deeper you cut into it the more the tears”.
Two years ago, she was raped by two men and forced to perform oral sex on a police officer.
“I’m okay, not 100 percent, but okay. I still think about it all the time,” she said.
She didn’t give herself time to be a “victim”.
After the rape, she woke up the next day and refused to feel sorry for herself. She thought “someone else is being raped out there. At least I was attended to. I can’t complain”.
“Thinking that way damaged me, you get used to being cheated. I was robbed of my innocence,” she said.
Now 21 years old, she has trust issues with men.
“We become victims because we hide it. When they did it, they didn’t care or hide themselves. Why must I feel bad when I’m standing up for something that’s right,” she said.
Kooma wants people to come out and stop hiding because rape happens, saying ignorance won’t make it go away. Instead, it will torment the victims, leaving them bitter forever.
“The first bath I took after the rape, I wanted to scrub my soul. I felt dirty from the inside out,” she said.
When she testified against one of her perpetrators, she wanted to tell him that what he did had ruined her. He had taken away the trust she had in him as a police officer, who was supposed to be protecting her.
“Being able to talk about it means I’m giving someone else the chance to do the same.”
She understands why the decrease in the sexual offences statistics is so low.
Her message to other survivors is to report rape. The process may take a while, but it’s better to talk than stay silent. She says you learn to live with it. You don’t have to get used to it, but you must accept that it has happened.
“Rape is not just a story in the paper or a statistic, it’s someone’s life,” she said.
According to the SAPS crime statistics released on Thursday, contact crimes that have decreased include sexual offences, rape, sexual assault, assault GBH, common assault and common robbery.
Nationally, rape decreased by 3.3 percent in the past four years and by 0.4 percent in the past year.
Sexual assault decreased by 6.2 percent over the 2012/13 year, a change from the increase from the past three years. Total equal offences reported decreased by 1 percent in Gauteng.