Friday, July 03, 2020
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Social Media Gender Based Violence

abuse

HURT, ABUSED, VIOLATED, REDUCED!

 

My heartbeat skipped, missing a rhythm. I couldn’t take it anymore.

Bound by love, ordered by failure and designed by hurt. Tell me something new, unique, a story I’ve never heard before and I will be damned. I ignored the signs but it all began on my wall, my picture, my face and my body.

I was a beautiful and sophisticated young woman that survived on human approval. My face and body were the embodiment and incarnation that brought satisfaction and confidence in moulding my personality and customs.

I didn’t choose who followed me. THEY CHOSE ME.

I was all over social media, but to be honest I was in search of love. I wanted a real man, an interesting and intriguing go getter. That type of man that would sweep me off my feet. Take me to the moon and back, mingle with the stars and show me the brightness of the sun.

Silly, but that’s every girl’s dream. To find a Prince, the impossible.

I was a dreamer, a fairy tale inmate, caged and imprisoned by my imaginations. My social media life was my escape goat. I could be anyone and anything I wanted.

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One Sunday night gazing at the stars that my Prince charming would take me to one day, I decided why not take one of my routine selfies and upload it. As I was just about to do so, I noticed more friendship requests and as always I clicked “accept, accept, and accept”.

A few seconds later a message in my inbox popped up from one Jeremy saying, “Hie beautiful!”

I had become so immune to those messages, I received them every single day and I had never been moved.

Jeremy kept sending more messages and he was slowly getting onto my last nerve…until I looked at his picture. I was in awe and I could not stop going through his pictures. At the rate I was going I would have sworn I was under some spell.

I suddenly became detective Philly, knowing his date of birth, where he lived, what he enjoyed doing, his family background, career and even what he had for dinner. I was going through a serious stalker phase.

Jeremy and I started chatting, we would chat all day without even noticing it. I ate less, I couldn’t waste time doing anything else. I was literally obsessed.

He was the heart of my life and the apple of my eye. I couldn’t imagine life without him. We were perfect for each other.

Six good months passed in a relationship where we had never met. I couldn’t imagine it as well, but we were actually in a relationship.

I realised he became more possessive. Every time I uploaded a picture with revealing outfits he would inbox telling me to remove it.

Gas Mask

One evening Jeremy sent me pictures of his private parts, which I had not asked for. I was confused and perplexed by these undesirable pictures. Instead I deleted them and ignored the fact that he had actually dared the thought of sending such debauched pictures.

He began to use dirty language when addressing me, foul speech and rather abusive words that bothered me a lot.

I performed really badly at school thinking of all the nasty things he said to me. I thought maybe because we had never met it was a strategic measure to lure me into suggesting a meeting for the first time.

Boy was I stupid.

I reacted likewise and asked him to come to Zimbabwe. I had some savings so I could help him foot for his transport and accommodation but he refused. He agreed to visit at his own cost. He made all necessary bookings and he was set to come that weekend on Sunday in the morning.

I had exactly five days to fix my hair, look good and freshen up. I wondered how I was going to get rid of those late puberty pimples that kept on re- occurring every minute. But that was the least of my worries.

He had suddenly become cold and not so sweet. I wondered how we were going to get along, if he was worth all the effort and time and if he would like me for me and not the edited, filtered pictures.

So many questions rushed through my mind; I could feel the adrenaline take over my whole body.

Sunday morning had just got real, this was it!

I borrowed mum’s car and I headed to the airport. I rushed as fast as I could. Got there and I went straight to the arrivals; and there he was!

He was taller in person and even more handsome. His skin was insanely unreal; he looked like a mannequin, too perfect to be real.

I got closer and he gave me a really warm hug and it felt like we had met before. I helped him with his bag and he had a box wrapped up with my gift. I felt bad, I didn’t bring anything.

We drove to his hotel where he dropped off his bag and we were off to our first breakfast together. We spoke for hours and he suggested we head back to the hotel so that he rests. We got there and as I was just to head back he insisted we got in together.

I was hesitant for a bit but he had that irresistible charm. We got in his room, I sat on the couch but he pulled me and asked me to relax. I was not comfortable of course but I felt like I was being a little too timid.

So I played along.

We kissed but he kept trying to take my clothes off. I said NO once, twice, three times!  Before I knew it he had a cloth with him that he stuffed into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream, I tried to kick but he was a big man and his strength tripled mine.

He tied my hands behind me and punched my head so hard I knocked out. The rest was the beginning of the end.

I woke up to a bloody bed, I was alone in the room and he had gone. I rolled over the bed, managed to grab my phone and immediately calling my mother. I couldn’t speak but she had a tracker installed on her vehicle.

She quickly arrived at the hotel I was at. And they searched all the rooms until they found me laying down like a log, helpless, regretting every move I had made. We went to the police, reported, narrating the same story over and over again until I couldn’t handle it. .

love

Report from the police revealed that there was never a Jeremy that arrived from South Africa on that day, there was never a Jeremy Andrews, he had falsified his identity.

He was in fact a Zimbabwean who had victimised five other girls. He targeted young, naïve and clueless girls who could easily fall for his filthy trap.

It’s been five years now, “Jeremy” was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Whilst he is trapped physically, I am emotionally trapped. He’ll be free but I’ll never be able to erase the horrifying event.

Today I stand against gender based violence. I’m a victor, not a victim..

Fran
Francisca Muringaniza is a marketing executive, entrepreneur and plus-size model.
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