Freedom

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I had a secret that no one knows about. I have a fear that no one knows about; it’s a fear of men. Bazaar I know, but completely understandable if you knew my past. When I was young before my father died he use to abuse me, a number of times he would beat me until I was unconscious, but of course my mother didn’t do anything about it. How could she, when she was afraid of him and didn’t care about me. I was on my own. Always have and always will be, until I met this guy George at this time my father had just died and my mother was ill and death was creeping in on her. I need comforted at the time and he gave it to me, until one night he raped me.

George and I were walking home late one night and we decided to cut across the park and he pushed me into the bushes and raped me with the help of some of his mates. Ever since I have been terrified, I would cowered away when a man touched me and I would start to tremble when I am standing close to a man or left in a room with one alone. My mother died when I was fourteen, two years after I was raped for the first time since. I have been raped a total 65 times by George and his mates. It’s a wonder that I didn’t get pregnant.

When my mother died I moved away from the town I grew up in so I could be put into foster care. I knew that I would have to be put with a married couple but I guess I would just have to live in fear. I couldn’t tell anyone about my fear. People would think that I am a complete weirdo to be afraid of men so I kept it a secret. When I moved schools I met a man who was few years older than me. He began to rape me too.

I am now fifteen years old and am still being raped. I have just been assigned a group to work in for a project and believe it or not I have been put into a group with two other boys. I was so terrified I even ran out of the room. Mrs. Prunch found me on the oval under a huge gum tree. She quietly came and sat next to me to see that I am crying hysterically.

Instead of talking to Mrs. Prunch I got up and run towards my locker and retrieve my school bag and leave. Instead of going home I go to an old run down house where I go to be alone. When I do finally go home to meet my doom, it was late at night. As I walked through the front door I saw Mrs. Prunch sitting in the lounge room with my foster parents.

“Ayasha where have you been, I have been worried when I got a phone call from school saying to walked out of the school grounds for no reason. Then Mrs. Prunch here came over asking for you.”
“Since when did you care about where I was? You never did before.”
“Ayasha we have always cared about you but you always pushed us away, you pushed everyone way. Now your teacher says that you have a fear of men. If this is true then that explains why you never really talk or have anything to do with Jimmy, Ayasha please stay here and talk to us. Tell us why you have become afraid of men.”
“No I don’t what to talk about anything, because there is no point. No one can help me no one can change my past.”

I stormed out of the room and up to my room. When I arrive at school I go straight to my locker then to the library avoiding any teacher that may know about me leaving the school grounds. I didn’t get called to the office until third period. When I got there I was directed to the assistant principal’s office where Mrs. Prunch and Mr. Goodly were waiting for me to arrive. After a long talk I agreed to attend two counselling sessions with Tammy

I headed back to class when I hear Mrs. Prunch calling after me.
“Ayasha can I please talk to you?”
I just stop and nod
“Ayasha, let’s go for a walk I want to tell you something about my past that I think that will make you a little more aware of why I am doing all this for you.”

So I followed Mrs. Prunch to a picnic table in the shade under a gum tree. She began to talk,
“When I was about your age, my father passed away after having a stroke. Before he died he used to beat me with his belt. My mother couldn’t do anything about it for she was terrified that if she stood up against him he too would hurt her. Finally after he passed away could I experience life more freely. I finished school and went on to uni and studied to become a teacher, and look where I am now. I am telling a student of mine who is experiencing the same problems as I did when I was your age.”
“After your father passed away were you still afraid?”
“Yes Ayasha I was and I went to a lot of counselling to get over that fear and now I am married and have a wonderful husband and two daughters. But the point is Ayasha is that you’re not alone on this and counselling does help but you have to be willing to accept the help that is on offer. Ayasha I have a question and I need you to be honest with me. Are you still being raped?"

As I am about to answer a guy comes up behind me and touches my hair, and I try to coward away but I realize that I am sitting at a table so I can’t go very far. Only when the guy goes do I answer Mrs. Prunch’s question
Nod is all I do.
“Is Joseph the one hurting you?”
I don’t say anything I just nod.
“Ayasha we need to inform the police. He can get into so much trouble for it and you may never have to see him again as a result.”
“No, if he finds out that I have told them I may not get out of it alive. He has threatened that if I tell anyone he will kill me. I am risking my life right now just being here with you talking about it.”
“Ayasha the bell is going to go in a few minutes. It’s not safe for you to be out here by yourself. How about if you have lunch with Tammy. I can take you there now? He has threatened to kill you, it isn’t safe for you. Come on now let’s go see Tammy.”

We both get up and I follow Mrs. Prunch to Tammy’s office.
“In you go, Ayasha. Thanks Janice, she’ll be fine with me.” says Tammy
With Mrs. Prunch gone I was left alone with Tammy. Tammy knew well that I was frightened about being here

“Ayasha what and unusual name and a pretty one of that, did you know it means life.”
“My mother just picked a random name out of a book and I just happened to be Ayasha, it’s just a name. It isn’t a definition, on who you are, that comes from finding yourself and your personality.”
“You’re right on that, you’re a bright girl Ayasha and a strong one of that too. And I don’t mean physically I mean mentally. Ayasha, to overcome your fear it’ll take a long time and lots of patience too, but I strongly believe that you can overcome it.”

And she was right it did take a long time. She is now twenty-one now and am now qualified to be a counsellor so she can help young girls who are in the same position that she use to be in. She doesn’t have to fear men anymore, she reported against Joseph and he went on trial and was found guilty. George and his mates soon followed in his footsteps for raping four girls and murdering one. Joseph was sent to a juvenile detention centre for two year and George and his mates spent a lifetime in jail serving all their sentences to the max.





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