A Cape Town-born woman has broken her silence on a harrowing experience of sexual violence, allegedly at the hands of her grandfather. The man, in his eighties, is a former teacher and well respected within the Muslim community. The young woman, based in the Middle East, released a video on social media yesterday, which has gone viral. In the 15-minute video, the woman, whose face is partially shown, says she was allegedly sexually abused by her paternal grandfather at 5 years old. The woman goes into explicit detail about her traumatic experience and how it has affected her as an adult.
She also reveals that the brothers have allegedly been abusing girls for decades and “there are women in their 40’, 20’s and 30’s” s who have endured this abuse. It’s alleged the most recent abuse occurred in last year. She said the abuse has been going on for decades, but yet nothing has been done.
“I did not want to put it out publicly, but the alleged abuse didn’t stop and they were never held accountable for their actions. This abuse took place within the family and their wives’ families,” she said.
“When I raised these issues last year, I was told to get over it and move on, as it’s in the past. I was told they did so much for the community. I was told they are old and will die soon.”
According to the woman, her grandfather was confronted last year and she was told he would be placed “under house arrest”. Things reached boiling point when she came across photos on social media of him posing with young girls. She raised concern that both educators were still actively involved in the community – one of them apparently still tutoring learners. She goes onto say that she was afraid other girls would be exposed to abuse, and therefore to speak out.
”It’s very easy for people not to believe this because of who they are and how well respected they are…”
“They come across as trustworthy and charismatic. There’s a lack of understanding on what sexual abuse and what sexual grooming is and how the perpetrator will get you to trust them.”
She said it is difficult for her to talk about it without feeling a sense of shame or guilt.
“He would say things like “let’s kiss like they do in the movies”, he would lock me in the garage, I’ve woken up without underwear. In my first journal there are entries where I’m scared and mention that my own grandfather, how he touches me and that he wants to have sex with me even though I had no concept of what any of these things were.”
She felt compelled to come forward and speak her truth as “silence empowers the abusers”.
In the video, the woman is visibly distressed and takes deep breaths as she articulates herself. The video is at times, uncomfortable to watch and triggers many emotions.
Speaking to VOC News, the woman’s brother, who first shared the video on Facebook, said he too had confronted his grandfather who admitted to the abuse. They were however advised not to lay charges.
While the story has shocked the Muslim community, hundreds of people have come out in support of the woman. Many onliners praised the woman for speaking her truth and being brave enough to expose her alleged abuser, knowing the possible stigmatisation and victimisation. Many people agree that perpetrators, particularly men in positions of power, need to be held accountable for their actions.
Calls to the woman’s grandfather went unanswered on Wednesday. However, VOC News however made contact with his brother who said he would be taking legal action.