This past weekend, we woke up to very sad news as a country. Yet another girl committed suicide after suffering from depression. Khensani Maseko, a Rhodes University student was raped in May this year.
She was only 23-years-old at the time of her death. Many people, including celebrities, took to social media to share their reaction to the tragic news.
1st year 2015 we knew Khensani at Rhodes as the confident girl w/ a MacBook. You exuded so much confidence & as intimidating as it was, we were all drawn to your light. You were passionate & fierce. You were an amazing soul Ma’ Maseko. Rest In Peace Khensani ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ToevCXHZ8D— The Responsible Rebel (@tebatso_molapo) August 4, 2018
While news about Khensani’s death was spreading all over social media, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own story. Back in 2013, when I was just 24 years old, I was raped by a stranger. I won’t go into much detail about the incident, but I’ll say that it was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever experienced in my life. My life changed drastically from that day. I went from being a happy young woman to a paranoid, fearful, confused and fearful person.
Dealing with depression
The sad thing about being raped is that no one in your family or circle of friends knows how to help you. And it’s not their fault. I mean, they have never experienced something like this before and they truly don’t know how to support you. As much as they’re there for you, and comfort you when you cry, they just don’t understand how you’re feeling or what you’re going through.
This then makes you feel like you’re all alone and that nobody understands your pain. Depression slowly creeps in and you find yourself in a dark place, feeling like your world is ending. I remember being in this place – there was no hope at all and all I could think about was how dirty and damaged I was, how there was no point in living anymore because this person had taken something away from me. As if that was not enough, I kept having nightmares about what happened – I could still feel him attacking me, I could still smell him, I still felt as though my life was in danger.
When you’re in such a space in your life, death seems like the only way out. I’ve had countless moments where I felt like just ending all my misery and saving myself from all the torture that was going on in my mind. I relied heavily on sleeping and pain tablets because that was the only way I could numb the unpleasant feeling.
Fast forward to 2017, I found myself in a psychiatric hospital for two weeks. It was the best decision I had made for myself. This has helped me tremendously and I could encourage anyone battling with depression to seek help. I have spent countless hours in therapy with a psychiatrist and that has made a huge difference in my life.
It’s unfortunate that Khensani, who clearly had a very bright future ahead of her, couldn’t find the help she so badly needed. needed. My heart bleeds for her and her loved ones.
What also hurts me is the fact that society always blames the victim when they’re raped. You always get questions like “did you scream?” “Was it late at night?” “What were you wearing?” “You shouldn’t have been drinking.” When will we teach men that “no” means “no”? When will men learn about consent? This is really a problem in our country and instead of finding solutions, we always put the blame on innocent victims, which further makes them feel isolated.
For anyone who’s been through this before, or who’s currently facing it, please know that you are not alone. What happened to you was a terrible thing. It wasn’t okay, and you should never feel like it was your fault. It might not look like it right now, but just know that you will make it to the other side. Please hang in there, my sister.
Should you need help or know of someone who has been rape, please help them
Rape Crisis Line - 021 447 9762 - https://rapecrisis.org.za/
To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday. Call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182
For a suicidal emergency contact: 0800 567 567
24 hour helpline 0800 12 13 14
Main Image Credit: Twitter