My encounters with a nasty old man

October 21, 2020

Dear Pastor

I am regular reader of your column, I am very pleased with your advice that you give. I am 16 years old and I am having a problem with my mental health. It all started when I was in basic school.

I was always bullied, and it continued in primary and throughout high school. Sometimes I was even afraid to look in the mirror because of my low self-esteem. Since then, I was always searching for love desperately.

My mother left when I was 12 years old and went to live with my stepfather. I had to stay with my grandmother and aunt, alongside my two sisters. At that time, I wasn't under much supervision or had any guidance because my grandmother was sometimes ill, and my aunt worked. One day, I went to a bar to purchase a phone card, where I met this man. He was old and I didn't like him, but he kept on looking at me. When I came from around the bar, I saw a car driving up behind me, it was him. He asked me for my number and I gave it to him because I was in his car at this time.

When I was 14, he constantly offered me money, but I would refuse his offer because I knew what he wanted. One day I went into his car and he told me to take off my clothes, he was going to give me oral sex. He said he wouldn't leave me alone. He took a picture of me, without my underwear on, and told me he would show his friends around the bar and he would continue to text me to meet him and if I say no ... .

Whenever we met, he would remind me of the picture and would try to touch me. Sometimes I would go home and cry. No one even noticed. I eventually got really upset and told him that I didn't care if he even wanted to show the world the picture.

About a week after, I was almost raped by a boy living in my community. A couple months ago, I came out and told my sister about what happened with the old man. She was surprised and said she didn't even realise any of the signs which showed that I needed help.

Now I am living with my father, even though in the past my father and I couldn't get along. Life is better. I am going to do my CSEC next year.

Sometimes the memories come back in my head, and I just feel so sad that I just cry. I hope you will share your advice with me, because I really need some help and someone to talk to.

Initial withheld

Dear Writer,

Let me begin by telling you that you may call me anytime and speak to me about your problems in confidence. You may use this number - (876) 877-1009. Call during the day, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

I do not know why your mother left you to live with your grandmother, but according to your letter, you were never happy because your trials started while you attended basic school. Then this older man sexually abused you and kept the picture that he took of you as a means of taunting and threatening you, to expose you if you tried to refuse him. This is a criminal offence that should be reported to the police.

What he was trying to say was that if you refused to have a relationship with him, he would try to tell the world that you are a bad girl. You took long to tell your sister what you were going through, but finally, you got the courage to do so. It is not too late to get the police involved.

I want to encourage you to study hard and to focus on your schoolwork. I believe that you will do well. I am glad the relationship with your father and yourself has improved. I will be praying for you. I hope to hear from you again.

Pastor

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you are a victim of a sexual crime, you should contact the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA). The investigators can be reached at (876) 926-4079.

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