07/10/2017 12:28 SAST | Updated 07/10/2017 12:55 SAST

Dear Ntsiki Mazwai: Strength To You, Speaking Out Could Not Have Been Easy

We need to understand that the veracity of Ntsiki's allegations does not lie in whether or not people believe her.

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When poet and singer, Ntsiki Mazwai took to Twitter on Friday morning, to let people know that she was also a victim of rape allegedly at the hands of kwaito star Brickz, real name Sipho Ndlovu, she was not ready for the replies that followed and neither were we.

While the comments were a mixed bag with many supporting and applauding her for speaking out, others attacked Ntsiki and questioned why she had not spoken out many years ago when the alleged rape took place.

It was these responses that were more than heartbreaking -- on the one hand, women are encouraged to speak out and report sexual abuse regardless of how long it may have been since it happened, but when Ntsiki speaks out we want to question her. How?

In July, Ndlovu was found guilty of raping his 16-year-old niece at his Ruimsug home in 2013.

During his sentencing proceedings, a letter penned by the teenager was read where she wrote about how he had broken her.

"Malume you have broken me deeply and I can't put everything that I am feeling into writing but my heart is bleeding of anger sadness and brokenness. I trusted you and treated you like my father. When I cry at night I ask myself what did I ever do for you to come and rape me," read parts of the letter.

It is worth noting how throughout Ndlovu's trial, the family stood by the teenager -- it was his wife who helped the victim lay charges against him, which is highly commendable.

People have been questioning Ntsiki's "timing" asking why she's only talking about it now -- because he's already going to jail, right?

Well, perhaps it is for that same reason that she found the courage to speak out.

It is wrong for people to want to dictate how others, especially rape victims, should deal with their pain.

How or when Ntsiki decides to speak about her experience and pain has nothing to do with us. The time rape victims take to report rape is not our business either, even if it's Ntsiki Mazwai -- that vocal woman who very often finds herself in the firing line because of her (unpopular) views.

We need to understand that the veracity of Ntsiki's allegations does not lie in whether or not people believe her. With that said, people still have a choice not to believe her, but calling her names is wrong. Perhaps we could keep those opinions to self? Especially considering how rife victim shaming is our society?

Some have asked how it could be that someone like her would keep quiet for so long about the alleged incident, again, that's none of people's business. We can't assume that because she portrays herself as an independent, strong individual who's highly opinionated, then she cannot be vulnerable and scared of being victim shamed.

One of the things that hurt me was one of her comments:

And this could not be truer, that's why it's so sad.

I applaud people including celebrities who have come out in support of Ntsiki.

Again, whether she spoke about the alleged incident today or in another 10 years from now, still has nothing to do with anyone, it's her pain, her story, her life.

In one of her latest tweets on Saturday morning, Ntsiki hinted she could be laying charges against Brickz.

So I guess that answers everyone who questioned why she tweeted it instead of going to the police?

Strength to you Ntsiki, all the best in whatever you decide to do from here.