In our series of letters from African journalists, film-maker and columnist Farai Sevenzo reflects on what it was like to be a victim of rape

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I picked up the phone to call him but before I could hit the buttons, a
sounds of a crash in the ceiling, like glass breaking with a clink of
knuckles. My heart skipped a beat, but then it was replaced with
anticipation. I rushed to the top of the stairs to find him standing like a
ghost with his body bent over and the back of his head broken away. The pain
from his head was so intense that it had all the power of a cannon firing down
a building. A small child screamed in the background as blood trickled from his
scalp. The pain made me feel the way I felt when he tried to drown us in my
own blood. The memory of his face was burned into my brain.

I opened my arms and he fell to the ground. He looked up at me with wide
eyes and took off his shirt. My breath hitched, as he ran his hand across his
body. For me, it meant nothing. There was nothing to be done, nothing to
change, nothing to do but wait. I leaned against the wall, not understanding
what I had just done. He turned around and stared at me. A moment passed before
he spoke.

“We were good together.”

I nodded, “You were”.

He looked at me with a bit of anger, a bit of shame and a lot of anger. It
hurt. I looked away from him. I knew what he was doing. He was trying to make
up for what he did last night. I was not good. He knew that and this was part
of the lie. I wanted to go far, far away and never come back.

“You weren’t good either.” His eyes were cold and empty. This time I
realized he knew everything.

“I couldn’t do what you did last night,” I said, my voice trembling
with emotion.

He lifted an eyebrow. “Really?”

I was not good. I knew why he did what he did and what I did in this hell
that we were both in. He just thought I was weak. He thought he could use me
like he used the other two, in a way where he could use me the way he needed
me. I didn’t think he could do what he did to the other three, but I had to be
prepared.

“I couldn’t keep on lying to you.” My voice was heavy and I could
feel my heart pounding hard against my ribs.

“Why?”

“Because of what you did,” I took a deep breath trying to calm
myself, “I saw what you did and I said I wanted out of this.”

He stood there with his arms hanging at his side and a deep sadness
staring at me with sadness filled eyes. He stood there waiting for an answer
and I did not have one. I didn’t know what to say to him. What would be the
right thing to say. What should I say. I sat down on the stairs and stared at
the floor, not being able to do anything. I sat there with my head down,
staring back at the stairs.

He finally spoke.

“I hate you,” he said, not looking at me, “I hate the way you
lie.”

I turned around with tears in my eyes and felt myself going numb with
coldness. He didn’t do anything else. He didn’t leave the house, he didn’t
come to my shoulder or speak to me on the phone. He just sat and waited for me
to do what he wants. He is patient and it hurts.

I sat there with the tears rolling down my face and the sounds of
scratching on the floor as he walked away to the end of the room. He sat
there, his back against the wall and his head resting on his knees. I sat
there with my head on my arms and the sound of his shoes hitting the floor as
he walked away. There was no sound of his footsteps.

I sat there with all the strength of my heart flowing through my body. I
sat there for over an hour. Finally, I couldn’t hold it anymore and I let
go. I stood up and walked down the stairs and out the door. I sat down on the
front steps and cried. I cried hard. I cried for days. I didn’t want my best
friend to be hurt and when he went to prison, I hoped he would be there for me
to help. Because I was not good.

Today, I am taking a step back. It’s only because of him and it’s not
because I don’t care. It’s not because I don’t want to hurt him. It’s not
because he didn’t hurt me. I was not good. I am different from the
others. You think you can tell me that I am different. I am someone who will
take care of myself. I am someone who will be there for the next man who will
come to get me. I was not good. There was no one that I could trust and it was
not because I am weak. I know that I am only human.

My love for him is stronger than anything. I felt it when we were together
just a short while ago. I felt it right before I went to his apartment. I
felt it when he got in the car with me to take me to the airport. I never
feel the same way about anyone but him. I know this. I was made to feel this
way by fate and not by him. I was not made this way by him.

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