Rose Dube’s Story: A VOICE, NOT AN ECHO

Rose Dube’s Story: A VOICE, NOT AN ECHO

Hello, my name is Rose Dube, 23-year-old aspiring Entrepreneur, 2020 Medical Microbiology Masters Candidate at the University of Pretoria, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Candidate Fellow, writer, sexual abuse survivor, drug addict survivor, mental health advocate. Sexual abuse in our beautiful country has been a long-term crisis and is on the rise, despite various interventions from governmental and private organizations. A countless number of girls and women have fallen victim to this crime against humanity. I myself am a victim but refuse to be another statistic. I decided to raise my voice and share my story, in the hope of inspiring, motivating and giving encouragement to those who have been in similar circumstances and to spread the message “DO NOT RAPE” When I was about 4 years old my maternal uncle (my mom’s younger brother) began raping me. He was 17 at that time. I don’t remember the exact details in those earlier times, but this continued till I was 13. This tremendously affected my mental health, social development and other critical factors that are required in the development of a young child. To deal with the shame and hatred I felt, I began self-harming. I would make cuts on my stomach, hands or legs. Places which I could easily hide, for this reason I always wore long pants and a jersey. The temperature could have been 45˚C, yet I would never take the jersey off. I kept quiet about the sexual abuse for 10 years, never telling anyone. This was largely due to the shame and fear of being judged which I had. I also didn’t want to cause a rift in the family or create tension. At 18 I got into a relationship and decided to share this with him, unfortunately instead of the comfort and support I longed for. The relationship became abusive, sexually, mentally and physically. We broke up when I was 21. During the period of the relationship I began using drugs to cope, I also developed an eating disorder, my self-esteem was critically damaged. I held the belief that I was ugly and fat. Worthless and unwanted. Finally, I decided to tell my parents (this happened on the 15th December 2019). They were very shocked and hurt by this. A family meeting was held, and my Uncle admitted to the rape. So far, no further action has been taken against him. It’s not only the rape that took place during those years, but I was introduced to pornography by my uncle and there were times when he would choke me with electric cables while also beating me. for a long time, I struggled to understand how my parents did not notice the bruises I would have after the beatings. This led to resentment towards my parents. I started internally hating them as I felt that they did not love or else they would have noticed that something was not right. It was only when I spoke out that we could begin healing as a family, although we are far from being perfect (if there is ever such a thing), am slowly learning that it was never their fault just as much as it was never mine. In the words of Warren Buffet “I found myself in a chronically leaking boat but decided to devote my energy in changing vessels to inspire and encourage, than devote my energy in patching the leaks on the boat”. Healing is a long-term process, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. As part of my healing journey I’ve accepted what happened and acknowledged that it cannot be changed. I’ve decided to control my Now and the Future. I cannot go back and rewrite history, but I am taking charge of how the past should affect my future. I refuse to be overcome by the rape I faced, the depression I found myself in and every other negative force I’ve had to endure. I’ve also been looking at ways on how I can better deal with what happened, through
meditation and reading. I have considered therapy however currently in South Africa the services that are offered for free at public health service providers barely provide adequate services and private therapists charge amounts that are beyond my means currently. This is also my focus area, to advocate for better mental healthcare in our communities. People are burdened with the challenge of how to deal with mental issues they are faced with, whether personally or if it is affecting someone they know. Many people do not receive the care and support they deserve. Leading to depression and some people resorting to suicide. I would like to see more being done in this area. My vision is to become a rape activist, mental health advocate, motivational speaker writer and health spokesperson specializing in the area of sex and women health. I want to teach girls and women that despite what they’ve been through they can overcome any barrier and let their voices be heard. They can take a stand in the world and be the change. I want to give sexually abused women and girls their freedom back, I want to them to love themselves radically and be survivors not victims.
I want to be the voice for that 4-year-old rose that was too afraid to speak out. I want to create a safe space for girls and women who find themselves or have found themselves underneath boys or men who thought they could forcefully penetrate without consent and get away free, a space of healing and growth.
I want to educate people on the aftereffects of rape, such as mental health issues that may arise. Finally, I want to free myself from the idea that I am limited. I am not limited by anything and I will achieve this and so much more.
I know that my voice is going to impact the lives of thousands of survivors and spread the one message that says “DO NOT RAPE”
My goal for 2020 is to speak at least 20 schools, have 5000 followers on my Instagram page (@Mentally_rosie) and have a blog advocating for mental health education. My goal for the next two years is to capture girls and women’s stories on sexual abuse, mental health, eating disorders, self-esteem; their stories will be documented and this documentary will be used as a series to raise awareness on the above issue, the goal is to document a film of 500 stories.

My voice will be heard and it will make a difference.

Rose Dube

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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