Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Father had a Sadistic Streak ... water torture

Fom left: Mom, me, Joy, Shane, Yolanda and Gizelle 
Life at Coffee Bay became as terrifying as back in Umtata.  We would go down to Coffee Bay (which we just called ‘the sea’) on a Friday after school and get back in time for school on Monday morning.  All school holidays were at the sea.  We asked if we could join a teenager’s party up the road at the Wilsenach family home one evening.  My parents knew the parents of the other teenagers.    My father said yes, provided we did not drink alcohol.   We had been there for about an hour and had only had one Fanta juice each when he marched in.   Some of the teenagers had been drinking alcohol.   He grabbed the three of us, Joy, Shane and I and hauled us home.   We did not have running water other than from a rain water tank.   It was freezing that winter.   He made us strip our clothes off and using a bit of hosepipe connected to the tank, sprayed us with water.   We stood there shivering, promising him that we had not had anything to drink and he was telling us that we were liars and could not be trusted and sprayed us again.   Just before the wind dried us off, he would spray us again.   This carried on a long time.   My mother tried to rescue us but it was no point, because he was beyond reason.   We were sprayed and allowed to shiver dry and sprayed again until the sun came up.   He then told us that we would never lie to him again.   What did happen is that we never again asked to go out.  There were only three punishments metered out to all of us…most of it on my mom and I.   A lot of bad stuff happened at the sea.  In-between the times when my father was otherwise occupied, we ran free.  He used to urge us girls to invite our friends (girls) to the sea with us, which of course we did.  It was only much later that I realized why girls were allowed to come to the sea with us.   He was an emotional, physical and sexual abuser of his family.   Instead of being kept safe and protected, we grew up in a home permeated with underlying stress; never knowing from one moment to the next what he would think up to do.   But the community loved him.  He was charming, intelligent, good looking and could talk the panties off of any women.  They were putty in his hands.  And he gave his male friends booze; and plenty of it as well.   No one really knew what went on at home.  It was a secret we kept from the world. 
From the time I was 12 years old he would always say to me if he ever got me in private “If you were not my daughter I would have fucked you long ago”.  What did the word “fuck” mean to me at that age?  I thought he was paying me a compliment.  By the time I was 14, I knew that it was not a compliment and innocently thought “fuck” was something that happened when a man slept with his wife.  And if he wanted to replace my mother with me, then it was wrong.  How innocent and confused I was by his behavior, but at the same time I was learning how to gauge his mood and try to do the appropriate thing.    If he gave me a good beating, he would not hit my mom that day.  So when I gauged the mood swing, I would do something to get on his nerves so that he could take it out on me. 
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