Danny Oosthuizen, #TheDignityProject ambassador, in his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus tackles the struggles homeless people face. Picture: David Ritchie
Last week the nation heard how politicians from the apartheid regime were allegedly involved in a paedophile scandal. The allegations were contained in a book. Then the co-author of the book committed suicide.

The alleged rape of young boys took place over 30 years ago. Being molested is a violation of one’s being. But in my case, it is a bit more complex. At the time it was the only physical contact I had with another person.

There were no hugs, no kisses, no bedtime stories, growing up. I actually looked forward to the nightly visits.

At the time I did not see anything wrong with it. I was, however, told that we must keep it a secret. Which I did.

Years later as I grew up and came to be more aware about these types of issues, I felt such shame. Dirty.

What I so desperately longed for was all the time wrong. I was exploited. Used. I said nothing. Kept it to myself.

I kept this person’s secrets. Imagine if I shared my truth? I now know why I was to say nothing.

As I grew older I had great difficulties being close to another person emotionally. Sex was mechanical. A means to an end.

I grew up being told that people like me go to hell. (I thought Jesus died on the cross for sinners like me?) Remember Whitney Houston’s Jesus Loves Me? I love that song.

Today one reads about priests who get hidden away due to child sex abuse.

It angers me that so many out there are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Nobody ever asked me how I feel about being gay. Behind the glam, behind the clothes, behind the dazzle is an empty, dark world filled with drugs, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, one-night stands in dark alleys, and despair.

We have to work harder, be nicer, be smarter and have loads of money it makes the world go round.

The constant negativity that we get is a killer. And then we homeless have to deal with the “gay4pay” guys.

Straight men who will perform at a fee. Poverty can drive people to the strangest actions. Many of us get into situations where saying no is not an option. You want to see another day? Go with the flow.

When you are on the streets, in the middle of the madness, you focus on survival. When you are off the streets it haunts you in your dreams. And here’s where I am going to lose it.

There is not enough soap to wash me clean. There is no pill that is going to make you forget. Forget the faces of those who did you wrong. What they did.

I am grateful to be alive. Not scarred by a blade of a knife. I try to hide in that little space in my head. This is where my inner child will meet.

I lost time. I lost life. I messed up friendships, relationships, caused my past to get the upper hand. I am tired. Wish I could go home...

* Danny Oosthuizen is the #TheDignityProject ambassador. In his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus, he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus