Eighteen thousand, five hundred and twenty-four!
That’s how many children are reported to have been raped in the year 2013/2014 in South Africa.
Yet, even with that staggering figure, it’s estimated that over 88% of child rapes are never reported. So that number: Eighteen thousand, five hundred and twenty-four, represents only a fraction of how many children are actually raped in our country.
South Africa is often cited for it’s insane crime stats- but this violation against children is a global plague.
Go to any country in the world and you’ll hear the stories. Regardless of how many you’ll hear though, there will still be far many more that will remain hidden- never told.
I asked once why this was something we didn’t talk about as much as we should. One woman, who’d been raped as a child, answered: “It’s the shame.”
Oh how I pray God would strip children (and adults) who were violated in this way of that!
We hear the numbers. Eighteen thousand, five hundred and twenty-four. Yet, it’s like Joyce Meyer once said, it’s as though we’ve been desensitized.
Joyce Meyer herself had been raped repeatedly- by her father. She estimates that in her teenage years alone- her father had raped her over 200 times!
Raped 200 times…
18 524 children raped in one year…
88% of child rapes not reported…
Those. Are. Massive. Numbers!
When I hosted a talk show for Channel ED (DSTV 190) it was soul-destroying to hear, first hand, from various women, their experience of rape.
I’ll never forget Thuli.
Who sat with me in studio, and wept through her story.
An uncle had raped her. Repeatedly.
She’d told her family. Including her mother. And no one- Not one person in that family did anything to protect Thuli.
Years later, seeing the crushing agony she still lived with, was beyond heart-breaking!
How does a person heal from what happened to them?
How do they pick up the pieces and try to still make something out of their lives when, perhaps, one of the worst known violations to a human being, happens?
That 88% of children’s accounts of rape are never told…
That today, right now, the rapes are happening… That is a tragedy that knocks every bit of wind out of me.
I’ve asked God Why.
And I’ve wondered how some of the women I’ve met, who have this as such a real part of their childhood, are still able to move in power and such purpose and… love God?
When I asked this of one of my friends, Tertia Butler, she said, “I’ve told God that He and I have some we things we need to talk about when I get to Heaven.”
For now, she’s left it at that.
This is something I don’t feel I have authority to speak on. So I asked my friend Tertia to share her story.
About that Label! Tertia’s Story
By Tertia Butler
Your tongue is the most destructive weapon you could ever use.
Words can break you down so much that they leave lasting scars that cannot be seen, but they’re there.
Many people say that all the breaking down in their life made them stronger. However deep down inside they still have tiny cracks that let those negative thoughts seep in.
I know because I lived with those cracks for most of my life.
As a child I was molested by 2 different family members.
I never told anyone.
I kept it to myself.
Because of what was done to me, I always thought something was wrong with me.
I always thought I was “damaged goods”.
I blamed God for a lot of the things that’d happened to me.
Eventually I became an atheist.
I was a very hyper-active child.
My older sister was quieter.
She loved to sit in her room and read. And was thus labeled our family’s “book worm”.
My mom always joked that I was a monkey that’d followed her home… while my sister was a book worm who’d come from the library.
At school my sister’s grades were better than mine.
I didn’t care about school or homework.
People begun to label me as a “slow learner”, “stupid”, and “a plod along”.
When my mom was a child, she’d also been labeled as “dumb”.
She was very dyslexic, while her siblings were “clever”.
So I often got thrown into that pool of dumbness by no fault of my mom’s.
She’d always say, “Your sister is clever and you… are dumb… like me. But you’re better at sports!”
I believed it.
I believed I was stupid.
My grades ranged between D’s and E’s.
I believed I couldn’t do Maths.
I was never encouraged to go for extra lessons or to try improving my marks.
My parents accepted it and just took it as, “Oh well you’re not good at school. And that’s fine”.
Eventually I was placed in a “special” group at school for slow learners.
Being teased and bullied didn’t help!
When I was in primary school my sister spoke with me about God.
I told her I didn’t believe.
My sister said, “If I pray and ask God to make you cough right now, will you come to church and youth with me?”
I agreed. Thinking there was no way I’d cough!
I kept saying, “There’s no way I’ll cough!”
I’m not sure if it was God or my head… but the urge to cough came…
I thought, there’s no way I’m letting my sister win!
But try as I might I couldn’t hold it in! And I coughed!
So my sister dragged me to youth.
A few weeks later I gave my life to God.
At school I continued to struggle to fit in.
I felt I was ugly, unworthy and no one liked me.
In my mid-teens, everyone around me was dating. Everyone seemed to have someone- I didn’t.
I kept thinking, “I’m damaged goods”.
Even the fattest girls in school had boyfriends- the girl with bad acne had a boyfriend… but I didn’t.
There must be something VERY wrong with me, I thought.
After I became a Christian I decided I wanted a husband.
I prayed to God asking, not for a boyfriend, but a husband.
I made a list of things I wanted in a husband, and I refused to date anyone unless they met my standard.
One day at youth I finally met my husband.
After a year of us attending youth together, God showed him to me.
We dated for three years and then got married.
Everyone said we were too young. I was 19. He was 20. However, it was the best thing I’d ever done!
We’ve been happily married for 17 years.
My husband did a lot to help me get rid of the damaging labels I’d worn for years.
He helped me re-program the way I thought about myself.
Every time he’d tell me, “You’re beautiful,” I didn’t believe him.
He’d often say, “I wish you could see what I see!”
It took me a long long time to change the way I thought about myself.
You see, I had a victim mindset.
Victim of bullying and believing those lies.
Victim of being molested and feeling worthless and damaged.
I had to retrain my mind.
I had to stop telling myself the lies that ‘d been spoken over me.
Today I’m no longer that victim. I’m a victor!
I run my own business mentoring online ventures. And for a period of time I home-schooled my children- even in maths!
When my kids went back to school their teacher told me how impressed she was because their maths skills were very high! I did that!
People say getting back up is easier said than done.
But why must it be?
You put those limits on yourself! You take those lies you’ve been told and keep telling them to yourself.
I am here to tell you that you are not defined by your labels!
Whatever words were spoken over you do not define you!
You are who you decide you are.
No one should tell you who you are! Or who you should be!
Damaging words can become a chain around you, holding you back from your full potential.
You are destined to be great!
You are destined to be greater than you can imagine!
Yes! You can be that person you wish you could be.
Stop believing the limits people have placed on your life.
It’s time to take back what has been stolen from you!
You ARE perfectly and WONDERFULLY made!
It’s time you actually start believing it.
Tertia Butler mentors entrepreneurs on building successful online businesses, with a focus on using affordable systems as well as developing the correct mindset for business success. More at tertiabutler.com
Tertia is the Keynote Speaker for Dream BIG’s upcoming The Beautiful Series Event
TobyMac’s Song Get Back Up: