Drug abuse: A cure for low self-esteem?
Selsie was a beautiful young girl admired by all. So gentle in her ways and wise in her sayings even at 5 years of age. After her mother’s death, she was adopted by an uncle who began raping her at the tender age of 5 years.
Months later the little girl who understood little or nothing noticed that urine will leak from her vagina involuntarily. She wet the bed severally and was beaten by her aunt who called her abusive names such as ‘smelly thing’. No one bothered to clean her up and more often than not she was left out of social gatherings.
By the time she was 8, she experienced precocious puberty. She had no one to tell her about the body changes she was experiencing and her aunt on the contrary tried to ‘iron’ her breast as she claimed they made Selsie ugly.
By 15, Selsie was so ashamed of her body, scared of social gatherings and suffered from a very low self-esteem. One day as she walked down the street, she noticed a boy sitting under a tree who greeted her and gave her a little package. Now this “Good Samaritan” who went by the name David was a lone child to his parents, a school drop-out and he was friends with guys from the neighborhood who took illicit drugs and alcohol. An act initially done to improve his self-esteem but it quickly became a habit with dangerous consequences. For Selsie, she finally had a friend, someone who cared, someone who didn’t abuse her, she was safe. She willingly accepted his gift, he had given her cocaine and after taking it she felt so good and she felt like ‘she was the only girl in the world’ and nothing else mattered. As her friendship with David grew, she slowly but surely became a cocaine addict.
One year after, she started having seizures. Some days she would seize up to three times. Her aunt accused her of being a witch in addition to her already deformed self-image. She was further segregated and isolated and she took solace in cocaine. She only got worse as time went by and on one occasion she had a seizure far away from home and onlookers rushed her to the hospital immediately. At the hospital she was well taken care of and introduced to a social worker.
The social worker counseled Selsie and slowly, the now 18 – year old Selsie opened up to the social worker. After hearing her touching story, the social worker contacted the director of the hospital who decided to offer help to Selsie. More investigations were carried out and she was diagnosed with a ‘vesicovaginal fistula’ ( an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina). She also suffered memory lapses due to cortical atrophy (as seen on a Brain CT scan) most likely due to the chronic cocaine abuse. She was linked to the psycho-social care services of the hospital where she was counseled daily. It took many months of counseling to help her get rid of her addiction.
Her aunt and uncle were arrested and sentenced for violation of human rights. Beautiful Selsie was adopted by the director of the hospital and she lived with him and his family.
Today, Selsie has a new life and a new family because she was fortunate to receive help early enough. We may be a positive changing factor in the lives of people we meet everyday.
How do you treat people?
What do you tell them?
Selsie only resorted to drug abuse because that’s the only way she could feel safe. Most people fall into negative addictions because of harsh life circumstances as we see in Selsie’s and David’s cases. It is more difficult to get someone out of an addiction than to prevent them from becoming an addict. Talk to someone today and save them from a drug addiction.
It can be difficult especially when we are faced with challenges like rape, molestation and we do not know who to turn to. Well there are some services available to report such acts and also to help counsel Victims so that they are freed from the many side effects of psychological torture.
Here are some people/places you can go to if you know/are a victim of rape or substance abuse:
-The Ministry (and it’s delegations) of women’s empowerment and the family
The Ministry (and its delegations) of Social Affairs
-Hospitals/Health Centres (Note that sometimes victims need medical attention. Also some hospitals have social workers)
-Forces of Law and Order.
By FOZAO MBI Vanessa.