How a young woman found hope despite being raped by her father as a child
She was traumatized by her father raping her from the age of 13 until he was caught when she was 15 years old. At school she had to repeat Form B three times – not because she was not smart, but because she was barred from sitting exams due to unpaid school fees. It is not hard to see why Lerato, now 22, believed her future was gloomy. A single mother of two, she lives with her father. He served one year in jail for sexually assaulting her. Her mother had died when she was 9 years old. Despite such difficult odds, her outlook has now changed for the better. “My father does not cease to remind me how I have brought two fatherless children into our home” Lerato says. Her father served time in jail for raping her repeatedly in her teens.
Lerato was invited to take part in a workshop on GBV and economic empowerment, held in Maseru district with support from UNFPA. “I needed the counselling,” she explains. “My father supports me and my children as I am not employed, but he never ceases to remind me how I have brought two fatherless children into our home.”
Since attending the workshop, Lerato is able to envision a brighter future for herself. She feels she acquired sufficient skills to be able to start a small business of selling secondhand clothes – if she is able to raise enough funds to purchase the stock, that is. The training Lerato received not only helped her identify a market for goods to sell. It also empowered her with valuable information on the different forms of GBV, and provided her with counselling, something that she realizes she greatly needed.
Once her business is up and running, she believes she will be able to take care of her children and her siblings.
The training she attended forms part of activities under the DFID-funded Joint Programme that supported the survivors of gender-based violence, following the El Niño-induced drought in 2015-2016.