GRAPHIC CONTENT: Issue of abused men raised during 16 Days of Activism

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WARNING: The following story contains graphic details

Saturday is the last day of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence (GBV). The focus of the campaign is on women and children who have experienced violence. However, the issue of abused men is also being raised.

Thatoyaone Gaobepe is among those who are breaking the silence. He was sexually assaulted in police holding cells in 2010 and is using his experience to give hope to many other men who have suffered in silence.

“I thought the other people in the cell would help me but they couldn’t help me because they were also scared. The second guy came and did the same thing. When I cried they told me to keep quiet. They then lit the toilet paper to see if I was bleeding. When they noticed that I wasn’t bleeding, the first guy assaulted me again.”

Although he is still carrying the scars of abuse, Gaobepe believes that he is healing.

“Maybe this is the way for me to heal. It’s a way for me to help others who’ve gone through this but can’t talk about it. It’s also way for me to start my life afresh and close this chapter. To get help to start my own foundation to help many others like me who’ve been through the same. So far talking about it is helping me heal.”

GRAPHIC CONTENT l Rape survivor breaks silence on the abuse of men: