Jessie West
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Jessie West

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Bit 1

I remember my polka dot dress, it was black with white dots, with white tulle underneath it which made it poof out like a princess dress -

As a six year old I use to run up and own our drive way, feeling the warm wind in my hair and feeding the 'guinea flowers' old crusty bread.

I had a few friends in the block of flats that I use to live in.

Lovely little place, fit for a young couple like my mum and dad. It was two bedrooms and the hall way was painted bright orange - like the fruit

My parents were way too giving. They grew up in a time where racism was rife, being the apartheid and all - so when it was all said and done, they were happy that the majority of our country had their freedom - and so they should of been. It was a new time, it was a time for change.

The gardener for our block was named Patrick. He had a wife and two sons who lived in the servants quarters on the property. His wife drank like a fish, but Patrick did his good work and was so great to my parents and my parents to him.

So great, in fact, he brought his son to work. His son was eleven. His name was Riet. Riet and I made friends fairly quickly, and I use to borrow his skate board while he would help me skate down the hill in the afternoons after school.

Riet use to camp out with me on warm summer evenings with all the other kids - and sometimes we would have sleep overs because he was my friend.

Some years went on and I went back to visit these flats, set in the heart of Cape Town - and I saw Riet in the distance on his skate board with a broken arm. I was sitting with my friend Luke who was my neighbour who also, often played with me as a kid and both our parents were great friends.

I remember feeling uneasy. I remember feeling like I couldn't go and say hello to my childhood friend. I remember being afraid of him - I remember the night he shot me in the leg as a six year old with a pellet gun telling me not to tell anyone or else I will get what was coming to me.

Later on, it all came back to me. What had been suppressed for years, came back - we were sitting in my little turquoise tent, and he told me he wanted to play doctor - doctor. He just wanted to play an innocent game right?

I remember him exposing himself to me, and then touching my white panties under my polka-dot dress. I remember not feeling okay with it. I remember telling him to stop.

Days later, I went outside to play on my own. It was a warm South African evening. I could smell the sea and the pine trees and hear the guinea fowls in the background. Picking flowers and walking in the grass, I heard a voice behind me.

"You better not have told anyone about our little game last week" said Riet.

"No I haven't, I didn't like that game anyway" I replied"Ya well I haven't seen you in a few days so I thought you told on me" he said.

I was confused, so I said I was going inside, because by this point, I knew it was a bad thing that had happened.

'BANG'

I started crying and I shot back around to look at Riet.

"Next time it will be a real one if you tell anyone"

I never spoke of him again, till I was twenty- four years old. I sat with my therapist and I told her that story and finally accepted that it wasn't a dream, that it did happen, and that I can't deny the fact that I was a victim of sexual abuse when I was only six years old.

Maybe this the beginning of it all. Maybe this is why my relationships with people have been abysmal over the years - maybe this is where my nightmare really began.

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