I never knew it was real

“Sexual abuse is real”

Mutale Victim Empowerment Programme changed my life for the better. I can now say that I have gained my self-confidence back. I thought my life was over I have tried to committee suicide several time in my life but every time I failed. I felt like no one cared about me in this world.

I am a 23-year-old girl. I lost both my parents when I was 10 years old. After that I went and live with my grandmother, uncle and his wife . When I was 15 years my uncle started to rape me and when I told my grandmother she told me that I was lying and crazy and never to tell anyone because if I do she will kick me out of the house and I wil go and live with my parents at the grave yard. So I kept quite and never told anyone.

The rape continued until when I was 17 years old when I fall sick at school and I was rushed to hospital that’s where I was told I was three months pregnant. That’s where everything stopped , how am I going to tell my grandmother and my monster of an uncle? That night I drank paraffin and was rushed to the hospital and I survived. One time I ate rat poison and that did not work either. I hanged myself few days after that and was also rescued but this time I lost the baby and was relieved that at least um no longer pregnant.

The hospital referred me to Mutale VEP for counselling and when I went there they gave me a place to stay for 3 days and they treated me well and they assured me that everything will be fine. They gave me hope to live that I can do better for myself and I looked forward to the future.

My grandmother and uncle was arrested after that. I went to live with my Aunt who was a domestic worker. She treated well. She will buy me sweets and say I should sell them at school and money for myself.

I loved selling sweets that I could sell five packets per day and made so much profit. I saved all the profit. My Aunt opened a bank account profit for me and I deposited all my profit there.

After matric I opened a spaza shop at my aunt`s house. The spaza shop was doing well that my aunt resigned at her job so that she can be the one to sell things at the spaza shop while I go the nearest college where I am doing business management. After I graduate I want apply for a loan to expand the spaza shop to become a small supermarket and so that I can employee people in my community.

Lydia is an inspiration to all young and old people in our community because she became successful at a young age despite what she went through at a young age.