File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Mr Rapist, you changed our lives forever but we will not let you win

Time of article published Dec 23, 2019

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I miss my carefree and happy days. I can't remember when I stopped smiling and laughing. I can't remember and those were my two favourite things in life.
I'm a mother. A mother with worries and anxiety and an immense feeling of shame for failing as a parent. I have no more to give my children other than my love.

Most will say we are rich as a family for the love we get to share and I suppose I should feel a warm glow inside. I am grateful for being this blessed and I thank God that I became a mother as my sons being born glued together my shattered pieces I thought was unsalvageable.

I get out of bed 5 times or more every night to see if my sons are snug and comfy in bed. I message their teachers just to have them say hello to my sons and start a friendly conversation just in case they need some help. I need to know where they are every single second of everyday and when I am not around, I plan ahead and get someone to care for them until I get home. 

I become depressed and withdrawn when they are far away from me and will phone police in a panic if the school bus is late in dropping them home. My friends and family think I am a bit too much as a parent and yes, they could be right, but I cannot stop doing what I do.

Evil found a loophole and came crawling on its back to destroy our lives in so many ways. I remember how my world came crashing down on me when I discovered my 4-year-old son's underwear and shorts was bloody when I undressed him for a bath. 

I remember thinking I had to remain calm, to speak in a normal voice, to swallow my tears and that I had to be strong for my son. 

He believed the threats given to him by that grown man who in his sick world decided it was okay to hurt a child and say it is your fault this happened so the police will be coming for you.

It took me 3 months to get my son to reveal the culprit. I still remained calm even when everything inside me became murderous. I phoned the police who asked me to find my way to their station. The officer at the charge office couldn't see the seriousness of what I was trying to tell him in the very overcrowded police station. 

Without even looking up, he shouted at his colleague to secure a rape kit for "this minor over here". I walked with my head held high past all the eyes that stretched to catch a glimpse of the minor in question.

I trusted the system and it failed me as much as I failed my baby. No arrest was made as no statement could be written down and no charge could be made. My son just completely shut down. 

Months and months of forensic psychologists, therapists, child helpline groups later and I was stuck living with my son a few feet away from a man that changed our lives forever. We had to wait until my son could speak on his own about the ordeal they said. It must be in his own words and not coerced. I followed every little detail to the T as I was told to by the hordes of people that deal with rape on a daily basis.

I decide to move away 3 days later when I was told to wait until my son was ready to tell his story. I opened the newspaper at houses for rent, closed my eyes and let my finger find its way to our new house. 

We moved 55 kilometres away from everyone and everything we knew to an area where we were strangers to those around us into an empty house with just our beds,TV and curtains.

I carried my son when he couldn't get up on his depressed days. I loved for my son on the days he hated himself and the world. I fought for my son on the days he gave up. I never stopped talking about his rape because you cannot pretend it away. Pretending it away as a child turns you into a monster like me as an adult. 

I can never allow this to become my son. I will never let him forget and I will always remind him to fight for himself by speaking up loud and confronting the coward of a man who violated him. "We are not victims", I tell my son. We are victors. We live life because nobody can live it for us.

It will never be easy and the after effects of the rape is a daily battle to push through. 

My son has ADHD and loves the fact that his brain gets so busy to the point of forgetfulness. He faces daily bullying at school and it never stops no matter how hard you try and fight as a parent to help your child. It never stops because other parents will never admit their children are at fault as if that makes them fail as parents. 

My son had a sexual encounter and became very sexual. He likes boys now but has to hide it from the world because people immediately become negative
and judgmental when they hear my son likes boys. 

My son has been angry for half his life and cannot express and explain why exactly he feels the way he does. I have to be on suicide watch on some
days as I fear that he will just give up fighting.

Still Mr. Rapist, you cannot win and I love the fact that my son is like me as he shrugs off the bad, puts on his smile and goes back to being a carefree child. You will never win because this family will never stop praying for you. We pray that God forgives you for the damage you caused. 

Even if after years we still so faraway from our family and friends and the loneliness sets in. Even then, we keep you under our feet where you belong.

My strength of late is fading as a parent and I struggle daily to fake a smile and be normal. I lost my job and started doing jobs in between, where I could, just to pay the rent and supply my sons with the basics. I cannot give up but I cannot change life's curveballs. We are just strangers to the faces around us.

I do not care that we will have Christmas behind closed doors to hide the fact that my boys cannot be normal kids this year and we will make the best and most of what we have. 

I do not care that I have to ration my portion of the food so that my kids have enough. I do not care that my shoes have been glued several times just so that I can have something on my feet outside. 

I cannot care that we have so little that we cannot share with those who needs it more. 

I will make up for this tenfold soon. I only care about me not being able to pay my rent to secure the roof over our heads. It is the most important battle I will ever face. I cannot fail because where will we go is we are evicted?

Back to where we came from. Where my son's rapist lives a few feet away from our family home. Where my son will have to be watched 24/ to keep him safe from harm and danger. Where the rapist will sit and watch my son counting the seconds to a second encounter because he got away with it the first time. Back to a place that robbed us of our normal happy life. Back to the place where I not only lost my son but my baby as well.

I'm trying to find the light in this dark tunnel and it is nowhere in sight. I am losing hopelessly and I cannot find my strength. I'd rather us die than to move back to where our lives will be lived in fear. 

I hope one person out of one million takes the time to read this to understand and appreciate how easily life can change your course.

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