In the wake of the gender-based violence awareness, Nelson Mandela’s grandchild and proud mother Zoleka Mandela opened up for the first time about being a victim of sexual abuse since her childhood.
Through a lengthy Instagram post, Zoleka began by sharing a quote by Jeanne McElvany which reads, “Survivors of abuse show us the strength of their personal spirit every time they smile.”
Sharing a picture from her childhood, Zoleka revealed that she spent years and years blaming herself for the abuse she received from both the men and the women in her life. “This is me as a child, I spent decades blaming myself, believing that all the sexual abuse by both the men and women in my life, I deserved.”
She added that from the moment that picture was taken, more abuse followed from those she trusted. “Not knowing that I would be physically and sexually abused even more (after this picture was taken) … convinced that I didn’t deserve more.”
Since then, she’s had many attempts at suicide because the pain was too much to bear. She also disclosed that her addiction to sex and drugs was an attempt to numb the pain.
“I’ve hated myself “so much that my many suicidal attempts, were an attempt at ending a life I didn’t deserve, so much that my addiction to sex, drugs and alcohol was an attempt at numbing the self hate I felt for decades because I was desperate to feel something good because I felt I didn’t have the right and strength to live.”
By sharing this, Zoleka hopes that many victims of abuse can find the strength to stop blaming themselves and stop inflicting pain on themselves as it’s not their fault. She also shared some powerful words of affirmation.
“But I am more than what happened to me, more than someone who used to self-harm or cut themselves, I am far more than an addict, a survivor of depression and anxiety, more than a survivor. I am deserving of the life I want for myself, I am strength, I am self love, I am worthy, I am love, a fighter and I am a force to be reckoned with. I am Zoleka!
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