A very not nice story

By Nomaliqhwa/ @nomalili

*Trigger warning: Sexual assault,self harm

Today I got to talk about the one night where something really awful happened to me. And I really am making it seem light by using words like ‘really awful’ but I talked a mouthful about it for the last four months and I think maybe for a while I will be quiet and focus on getting my life back together.

Well, rebuilding it from the ground up.  Because everything fell apart and it does not make sense to be in the place where I am. I must move. Be somewhere else. Progress with this ‘being an adult like person’ thing. I think I am finally okay with accepting that reality. The reality of progression and getting on with things.

I was initially angry about how the world wasn’t really receptive to what happened to me; the many really awful things and the one really horrid big thing. Because that one very awful event is a constant occurrence for some people. I read novels about men who take women whenever they want and how the raping and pillaging of many places such as villages would ‘just be a thing’. And no one would talk about how it specifically happened to one woman and was one woman’s lived experience.

It was never personalised.

It was very much something that happened but was never experienced. And now we live in a time when supposedly that has changed, and it’s an awkward conversation with the world. Because there’s this thing called individuality. And apparently it exists. But going through this very awful thing, I don’t know how true, screaming again and again to a blank faced wall “I am a person!”  will make me one, even is anymore.

Honestly I am tired.

That’s all that this is. Me being tired. The worst thing is that I remember how the other day I thought that it really would be easier to say that this didn’t happen to me. And how this could possibly make all the noise go away. Because it is noise. All of it.

Saying that something happened to me. I thought it would make everything better. But both my psychiatrist and psychologist have said that the quiet can’t come from saying something out loud that you know will simply make noise. Even if you hope letting it all out will make the noise go away. Especially if it’s something as horrid and scary as this very awful bad thing that happened to me this one night.

And all I want is quiet.


Peace of mind comes with being honest and open I believe. Not open in the way that you would imagine. Like legs. Because that translates into vulnerability. I just mean that peace says to me that ‘look if it’s out there then the world is treating you the way it does knowing what it knows which is everything. If it chooses to be cold then it’s cold. And so be it’.

It’s not on me.

Even with the many friendships that have come and died. Died because of this. Because I cannot be the Noma I used to be, because it does not make sense that I be the Noma that I used to be. The bright spark. I can’t be the one who used to make everyone happy right now. And focusing on me is a moody process. I think that’s the word. For me it just means being quiet. Thinking a whole lot before I say anything, sometimes saying nothing and not laughing on cue. Just is what it is.


Sexual abuse, HOLAAfrica, African women storiesThe very awful bad thing that happened to me made me think about doing very bad and awful things to myself. And then I wasn’t just thinking them I was doing them and that wasn’t enough. And I have really shitty scars that make me wince when I look at them, or just happen to see. So I try as much as I can not to see my skin, because I think about how much sense it made to do those things and maybe that it still does. I try staying away from objects that encourage that type of thing. Even when cleaning up.

Especially when I am alone. Even when I am surrounded by people because sometimes I can’t seem to be with it. What happened to me does not let me be ‘with it’.

And I’m sorry that this is happening to someone that I once loved. I’m sorry. The him that I knew was kind ,sweet and wholesome. He loved his mom and wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t become like his dad. He would look at me and get scared that I might just run away. Now that this happened I’ll never get to tell him that I didn’t plan on going anywhere. I’ll never be able to recount our story like that ever again. He was just what I needed when I needed it. He was that without knowing. And we were happy. We were silly and happy. We didn’t care much for anyone else’s politics of how to conduct ourselves with each other in public. We loved saying the most vulgar things to each other and I loved how free I was with him. The ‘him’ that I knew. Because the ‘him’ that did this to me wasn’t the one who did the very bad, awful thing.

That wasn’t him.

They have the same name, look the same and if you are careless it is easy to mistake him for the other. But it is not him. It is not the guy I liked very much, who I could say I loved because I meant it. He was real. He was an egocentric who was a bit too willing to represent a whole people that I don’t think he quite understood. I hated how he didn’t think I could call myself a feminist because I was only a “twitter feminist” yet when we did fight, our first real fight he said that in that moment when I let go of his hand in front of my friends all he wished was that I was “Twitter Noma” who openly and proudly loved him. And even though I hated how he would say “bae bae bae” like the word is a word I felt so strongly that he was good. And whole. Whole in his incompleteness. It was okay, really. I wasn’t going to leave him and he was, maybe, going to meet my parents. I was working on how that was going to happen since I’d never really been with anyone I ever thought it was appropriate enough to introduce to the other spheres of my life. But my dad actually liked the little that he knew about him and that wasn’t something that happened with any of the guys in my life so that was a good sign.

The guy I was with was a good guy. I get why his friends are his friends because they are my friends. Some of them. He’s funny. And silly. He used to make me roll my eyes but I think we were both childish with each other. I remember the one day he called me in the afternoon and we were both so excited to speak to each other. I felt like an excitable toddler hearing a voice over the phone for the first time. It was a good phone call. He was a great guy. He was sweet. And I’m sad that this noise is happening that I have to say that this guy is the other guy.  I don’t want to say that be I don’t derive any form of joy when I do. This guy with or without me is good at what he does. He is thoughtful in what he puts out. He is loving and caring and tender and sweet. Why did he have to become that guy?

Why? Why? Why?

That guy was a monster. And did a monstrous thing to me.  It was one single move in one single moment and I had to go through the feelings of being powerless, afraid, and panicked. My only hope was if a stranger even if they come and saw me naked would at least stop what was happening to me. That thought was my hope of refuge and it never came. He did. And I felt ill. And I tried to be normal, to be okay and dismiss it. He didn’t seem to stay around for long. It was as if this horrible scary stranger with so much anger only came to hurt me and show me he had the power to do and when he was done he was gone. My guy came back. He was next to me in the morning but I was already not quite myself. And I’ll never be quite myself again, and that’s a loss. A loss to everyone. Because I can’t even be compassionate. And forgiving. If it didn’t happen to me I would forgive him and say that it is okay that when someone is drunk they change but it doesn’t stop the nightmares. I’m not ready to forgive this horrible person that overcame my person. And it’s unfortunate that he shares the same name, same features and same possible future. It’s not justice to him. But I have to be as good to myself as possible, and that means being honest and actually acknowledging that this happened.

My name is Noma and I was raped.

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