“12 Years later I had to seek help”

I was only 10 years old when it started.  My parents would often tell me to go to the local shop to get everyday necessities for the household like bread, butter and tinned fish.

One day the shop keeper told me to enter through the back door and I did.  He told me that he had some chocolates from NZ to share with me – which made me excited.

The next trip to the shop he told me to again enter through the back door.  I did as he said.  He told me to sit on a small box while he read me a story from a picture book he had.  He showed me pictures of women who were naked.  He told me not to be afraid and to look at the faces of the women because they were not scared but were happy.  He told me to look at their body parts and how beautiful they were and asked me if I wanted to be as beautiful as the women in the book.  He told me to go home and not to tell anyone because I would get a hiding and to keep it our secret.  He told me to go back the next day and get some chocolates.

I wasn’t sure if I should go back and I was scared.  But my father sent me to the shop and I had to go.  When I arrived, the shop keeper told me to enter through the back.  He gave me a bar of chocolate to eat and told me to sit down.  He told me that he just wanted to compare me to the women in the book and that all I had to do was take my underwear off and open my legs so that he could see if it were the same.  He touched himself while he looked at me.  He did this often until one day he actually touched me.

I was frightened and I couldn’t tell anyone because I was scared I would get a hiding.  I couldn’t take it anymore and one day I told my cousin and she told me that she had a plan.

Every time I would be sent to the shop she would come with me and she would do the purchasing.  I could tell that the shop keeper was very angry and he kept asking my cousin where was I?  He told her that I had a “mo’ua” a debt to pay and that it was for all the chocolate bars I had eaten.  He eventually told my father about the ‘debt’ and my father gave me a hiding.

I never spoke to anyone about this until 12 years later.  It has affected my work and my relationship with others.  I was happy to finally get some counseling with the WCCC to unpack the horrible feelings and fears I have carried with me all these years.

I encourage other women and girls and even boys and men who have been abused to do the same.  Counseling is free and non-judgmental and you do it at your own pace but it certainly HELPS to move on.  I thank God that I have had this counselling.