A 26-years-old rape survivor from Limpopo is now dedicating her time to helping other young women with similar experiences.
She was raped at the age of 23 by her uncle in 2015, partially-sighted Tebogo. NKwana (26) was told to keep quiet about the abuse that she suffered to protect the family.
Nkwana, who lives in Burgersfort, said that she attempted suicide several times as just thinking about the whole experience made her angry about life.
Accepting the situation
Now a third year media student at the university at Limpoo, Nkwana only received counseling last year when she tested HIV positive. She believes that she was contracted with the virus when she was raped.
Nkwana has now dedicated her time to helping other young women who might be going through similar experiences and suffered from this situation. She wants to help them to speak and raise voice out and seek help before they end up killing themselves.
“When I found out that I was also HIV positive, then I joined a support group for people living with HIV, which I believe helped me to accept the situation. That was the only time I received counseling, because when the abuse happened, I was told to keep quiet and nothing was done. I received counseling after almost two years of suffering in silence. Before the counseling, I was always angry and it also affected me academically, “said Nkwana.
Nkwana has found the courage to talk about her ordeal and be open her HIV status as she believes that many other women go through the same experience daily-but they too are stoped from talking.
When I was raped I did not know what to do, and it affects me emotionally and academically. I had to repeat several modules for several times as I couldn’t cope at all and I was confused. I tried several times to commit suicide, but I was not successful committing suicide,” she said.
Many people in rualr village still protect family members who commit sexual assaults in fear of seprating families. The victims are left to suffer in silence.
“Around the campus since, I became open about my status and what happened to me, many other students have been encouraged to go for an HIV test. They are now free to talk about HIV related any issues and their statuses. I believe it’s better for one to know their status by going for regular tests related HIV or any infection. The important thing is living, and we should accept any situation of life and seek help before it’s too late, “she said.
Nkwana said she will continue doing motivational talks throughout the province to encourage people to speak out against abuse and go for regular HIV tests and tries to help the world to be better.