By Helen Lee
“I am amazed how strong you are. You keep yourself composed, and always look fantastic. I also love the shade of your lips.”
When we first met Nosethu, she had been gang-raped by 7 boys who are now still awaiting sentencing. She told me, “Helen, unless I act strong, people will gossip about me. I can’t stand their stares and whispers. My husband (who was stabbed by the same boys) helps me, but I am afraid that even he might leave me. I suffer from nightmares, and can’t fall asleep unless I am really drunk. I can’t even stay with my children because I once woke from a nightmare and choked them. I have to drink myself to death to numb my pain, and then I suffer from headaches the next day.”
She wanted to go to the beach for tea, so we went to have coffee and cake. I could tell she missed her children by the way she looked at Abohna. It wasn’t until a little over two months did she start to open her heart to us. Last Sunday, she started wailing when Jung and Zukisani visited her. She shrieked, “I was pretending to be okay. I can’t do it anymore. Please help me. I feel dirty! I can’t stand my mother believing that I abandoned my children for drinking. I miss my children, and if only I can make peace with my mother will I see them again.” Then she collapsed.
When Jung returned home that night he was smiling with joy. He had driven her to her children, and held back to her mother who was yelling at her saying, “she was treacherous women who abandoned her children for money while providing nothing.” He explained to her mother that what Nosethu needed most was a family who was willing to support her in this time. A family that was willing to help her to overcome the pain she is in. Vukukhanye team is currently helping her and monitoring her. She is drinking much less, and doing her best to look for a job.
When he was leaving, Nosethu and her daughters had the biggest smile on their faces.