Cape Times

Mother shares trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence


AU­THOR Lynn Ker­ch­hoff’s book My Shack – A Story of Hope is just as the ti­tle sug­gests, a story of hope.

Ker­ch­hoff was raped by a trusted fam­ily mem­ber, whom she re­ferred to as her un­cle, when she was 11 years old. She be­came a statis­tic while try­ing to save her younger sis­ter from be­ing raped.

The vi­o­lent act took place in a shack, me­tres from where her par­ents were hav­ing a drink­ing party.

Ker­ch­hoff tells us how she could not con­fide in her par­ents and turned to Joan, her teacher at Blos­som Pri­mary School, who alerted the school’s head­mas­ter and then the au­thor­i­ties.

Teacher Joan showed Ker­ch­hoff the kind of com­pas­sion, love and nur­tur­ing she had hoped to get from her par­ents. But the jus­tice sys­tem failed her when the case went to trial and her un­cle was given a sus­pended sen­tence.

She was an­gry that her par­ents vis­ited her abuser shortly af­ter the trial was over, to con­tinue their drink­ing par­ties.

Ker­ch­hoff then found so­lace in the church and later be­came an or­dained pas­tor, but that too did not go with­out hic­cups.

Lynn faced judge­ment even as a young woman study­ing the­ol­ogy, but she never gave up.

Her story is one of hope, as it takes you on a jour­ney of good fi­nally tri­umph­ing over evil.

Some chap­ters in My Shack – A Story of Hope, de­scribe de­tailed time­lines of events in her life that will leave read­ers want­ing more.

Later, she met her hus­band, Lloydd, whom she de­scribes as her pil­lar of strength. She says their re­la­tion­ship was built on trust. They mar­ried 10 months af­ter meet­ing.

At 22, she’d never imag­ined she would be able to al­low her­self to trust or get mar­ried be­cause of her past with its hor­rors of vi­o­la­tion.

Ker­ch­hof shares what it means to work through the trauma and find faith in God. Her story not only re­veals what went on on the sur­face, but also gives in­sight into what hap­pens when grow­ing up on the Cape Flats and in coloured homes.

Al­co­hol abuse is rife and leads to many prob­lems, which is why we hear so many hor­ror sto­ries about chil­dren be­ing raped by some­one known to them and the fam­ily.

Al­though her story is one of en­cour­age­ment for those go­ing through sim­i­lar tri­als, be sure to keep a box of tis­sues handy when read­ing it.

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