Women are a wonder to behold.
They uphold one another, encourage and strengthen each other and hold their heads high knowing they are able to impact positively on each other’s lives.
Rose Maja, who works in counselling and public relations at the Ithemba Rape Centre in Benoni town, is one such individual.
Repeatedly raped at the age of 12 by her stepfather and gang-raped by five men in front of her son’s father at the age of 24, Maja battled to come to terms with her plight.
Fear, insomnia, paranoia and anger filled her being.
“I had continuous nightmares and I started hating men.
“In fact, I decided I needed to start teaching men a lesson so I started attacking them,’’ she said.
Maja said she could not accept what happened to her and because of this she became violent with men who tried to get close to her.
After stabbing a man, which resulted in Maja appearing in court in the early 90s, the prosecutor on the case approached her and questioned her anger towards men, in particular the man she stabbed.
Twenty-five years on and Maja is forever grateful since that question that fateful day.
She said she had finally been able to accept what happened to her and relayed that to the prosecutor who then helped her and found her a social worker to help overcome the ordeals she faced.
Since then Maja has dedicated her life as a beacon of hope for other individuals (male and female) who have been victims of sexual crimes and abuse.
In 2006 she joined Ithemba Rape and Trauma Support Centre in Benoni.
By 2010 Maja was doing interviews on TV and radio to talk about her ordeal and encourage others who experienced similar instances to come forward and not be ashamed to talk about what happened.
Shows she has appeared on include yesteryears 3 Talk with Noeleen on the SABC platform.
“I found the love of God in my darkest hours and in time and with the right support system I found I could forgive those who wronged me,” she said.
Since she started helping people, Maja said she has been involved in many cases where women and men have stepped forward to speak about and accept what has happened to them.
“This is to make sure they can move on in life and be okay again.
“It may not be able to stop the rape epidemic altogether but it can help to curb repeat incidents,” she said.
Maja offers her counselling services to the Boksburg prison and ladies meetings at churches as well as in communities and schools and anywhere else she is asked to speak.
She can be contacted at Ithemba on 011 422 4107.
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