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Raped to Death

- ~Palesa Mgujulwa

“My thighs were too big.

It was my fault that I had a small waist My skirt tassels turned to strings and I played the tune…”

I cried! I screamed! I kicked in the air and begged for forgivenes­s

For something that hurt and wounded me before it even happened,

I apologized for living because more than anything, I feared death.

I apologized for being a woman because even when I was covered,

What I wore was revealing.

Every day, a struggle!

A career quest turned to an infinite course of what to do to avoid rape!

What not to wear to avoid rape! Where not to go to avoid rape!

Who to avoid to avoid rape!

I had to succumb to free imprisonme­nt if I wanted to live!

Because being a victim came at a price in the country I lived in

Though I was free, my mother wasn’t. And my sister? Well she was free until she was killed, did I mention my daughter Was molested before she was killed? Many have been raped! Many have lost their lives… many were blamed to have orchestrat­ed

The tune but I blame the conductor – the man!

The man who commodifie­d my physicalit­y shying away from his insecurity!

The man who made me believe that I needed him!

The man who hid his scars by scarring me! The man my friend called Father.

The man I called uncle.

The man I called my brother.

The man – was my mother’s husband… That man is the reason I claimed my life. I feared living because in living, I was dying

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