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  /  Phemelo Tladi
Something to Say - Phemelo Tladi

Phemelo Tladi

My friend and I were sexually abused by a male caretaker at a child care center when we were both four years old.

Nobody ever taught us anything about any type of abuse back in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, so I never knew how I was going to tell.

When I was 9 years old, I was sexually abused again. This time, by one of my male primary school teachers. He died in a car accident a few years after that ordeal.

I was left scarred by the memories of the ordeal for many years during my childhood.

To this day, I still regret not being able to speak out. I was not ready for the shame and ridicule back then. It got to a point where I felt severely depressed and started relying heavily on alcohol and drugs later in my twenties.

At some point in my life, I even became confused about my sexual orientation because of what happened to me as a child.

A lot of things made no sense to me and I used to blame myself for not telling anyone. I decided to start seeking professional help at a very late stage in my life and made a decision to try as much as I could to live a life I always desired.

Today I’m very fortunate to have my very own beautiful family which I love so much. My family is the only happiness I know. They are my everything.

I recently started #manup4thefight, a social movement advocating the rights of young men and boys who are battling with the trauma of sexual abuse. The aim is to offer support to young men who do not have a voice to speak out against their abuse.

The aim is to also educate young parents about the importance of talking to their children about reporting inappropriate adult behaviour that may often lead to abuse.

It is time we teach others early, what we learnt late.

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Donald Cribbs

Michelle Robinson

Gurjot Kaur

Lauren

Jack Poulton

Patrick Lewis

Katie Haden

Daniel Kirk Eichelberger

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