Tanya Wolmarans is a 35-year-old woman born in Kimberly and relocated to cape town when she was a month old, she has cited going for walks, the ocean, music, food, spending time with her family, and reading books as her likes.

It’s difficult to put my years of sexual abuse as a child into words that would fit into a story here, the abuse was constant. A very close friend of my family started sexually abusing me from a young age. I was afraid at then to open up and tell anyone about it.

I met a guy at the age of 14. I told him about it after a few months. He immediately told me to tell my mother about it. It was very difficult for me. I was afraid that my mom would disown me or maybe kick me out of the house or even tell me that I am lying. I took the courage one night and told my mom about the abuse. She immediately took me into her arms and just held me close as tears went down her cheeks. We contacted the police and it was very traumatic as I had to relive those moments again to explain to the police what happened.

A case was opened against my perpetrator, I also had to take out an interdict against him. It was really a very difficult time for me as my teenage years was lying ahead and I had to go through all of this at this young age. If felt that it was my fault and that I was the one to blame for all this that has happened to me. I was humiliated and I started blaming myself. I thought maybe I was giving him too much attention, but then I realised that he was just a very sick man.

I had to go and see a psychologist and had to tell my story all over again. I had to explain in detail what he did as the psychologist said that this was the only way that I could move on. I cried and screamed and just had to let it all out. It was the best thing for me to do at that time. I started a life, a life that God created for me after that. Today I am so grateful in so many ways and I can say that I completely forgave him for what he did to me.

I would forever be grateful of this friend who told me to open up and speak about the abuse. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak about this at all.

Anyone who survives these types of abuse should be so proud of themselves and appreciate their strength. Look at what we have gone through, is there really anything in life that could destroy who we are? They might try and they might leave their mark, but they cannot destroy what is created inside of us. You can thrive in your world and believe that there is happiness after abuse – I am living proof!

May all survivors find their courage to speak out about their pain and tell their story so others will learn. If you are in any abuse relationship, please speak up. You can get in touch with Standunitedsa.org. (http://standunitedsa.org/why-stand-united-against-gender-based-violence/) There is a Silent Trigger to the Gender-Based Violence command centre. Gender-Based Violence, Child Abuse, and bullying can be reported. The Report Triggers a “SILENT” alert to the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre reported by the victim or a loved one.

Remember that you only have one body and it is yours. Remember that nothing is your fault. Always remember that you were created by God and you are his child. Find your happiness in life, it is there!

Today I am very proud of the woman I have become. I am a Semi-Finalist for Ms Unseen International 2021 and talking about my life experiences makes me happy. I am not ashamed of anything that has happened to me in my life. Today I am glad that I can use my voice and speak out about it. There might be someone out there that is afraid to speak up and I hope that my story can help at least one person today.

Feel free to go and like my Facebook Page: Tanya Wolmarans – Ms Unseen International 2021 Top 30 Finalist

Photo credit: Shumeez Geyer Photography

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