Last year when I was on maternity leave, Riyaahd took a few days off to spend time with myself and baby Scarlett. Early one morning, Riyaahd took Rose and Jonah to school and when he returned home, he crept back into bed to have a nap with the baby. I sat next to them in bed, and decided that I would catch up on some work on my laptop. I opened chrome and as expected, my homepage opened up.
I nearly choked on my cup of coffee.
“Riyaahd. Is there something you need to talk to me about?”
Riyaahd turned to look at me over his shoulder. His one eye was barely open. I turned my screen so that he could see exactly what I was looking at.
Riyaahd turned around fully, eyes wide.
The woman on my screen bent over to accentuate her anus.
“Riyaahd, why is my homepage Pornhub?” I asked. I expected to see the Google search bar, perhaps with an ironic illustration or obscure reference to facts no one gives a fuck about. But instead I was greeted with a wild feather duster in an unnatural habitat.
We sat and stared awkwardly for a few more seconds, before I realised I was watching porn with my new-born and my born-again husband.
Riyaahd looked at me, eyebrow raised higher than I have seen before. “Baby, I dunno what you watching in your spare time – but I never had your laptop”.
I closed the whole laptop.
Now, to be fair, I am no stranger to porn. I’ve seen it, I’ve skommeled to it, and I am pretty sure there are a few scantily clad images of me still available on the web. But now, I keep a Christian home. And no bukkake formed against me shall prosper.
So, when I saw someone’s French maid spread eagle on my screen I immediately assumed that my husband had lived a double life while I healed from my C-Section in Groote Schuur for the last week. But, before I could pack up my child and leave, Riyaahd started laughing at an interesting realisation.
“Baby, this is your profile. Don’t your daddy use your profile on his phone?”
The mystery was far from unsolved though. Weeks prior, I had set up a Gmail account for my dad and linked all his devices to it. Sidney Senior was in the clear. Riyaahd was still the prime suspect.
“Baby, I don’t have a problem with Porn, but that kin was…”, I tried to open up a channel for communication.
“I don’t watch porn, baby. You know this. It’s against our religion” he said.
And there I left it. I trust my husband, so I opened my laptop, changed my homepage address and continued with my work.
Sometime later I needed the toilet.
Now, anyone who has had a c section knows that pooping afterwards can be a delicate operation. I calculated needing at least 40 minutes in the toilet, and grabbed my son’s tab for entertainment as the screen is bigger than my phone’s.
And as I sat down, it hit me.
The children have their own email accounts, so that we can block sites on their tabs and to ensure age blocking apps don’t allow them to see certain things. I usually used Jonah’s tab, which had my account also programmed into it, so that I could swap back and forth between our profiles, and access my things when I needed to. I am always careful to exit my google account and reactivate his one when I give his tab back to him…
I feel the need to say that my children and I have a very open relationship, or so it seems most days. I have no experience in being a boy, so raising a boy has come with many lessons for myself – sometimes even more so than for my son, Sidney Jonah. For context, I raise my son as a heterosexual male child, because that is how he has thus far identified himself. He isn’t necessarily macho (as macho as a regular 8 year old boy can be) but he has shown interest in ‘boy things’. Up until a few months ago, when he started binge-watching “My Little Pony” Sidney was your average Laaitie. (His sister calls him “Rainbow Dash” to work on his nerves – but that is as far as any shaming goes in my home).
Regardless, I wish I could say ‘they only watch an hour a day, then they must play outside’ or ‘I do activities with my kids so they don’t really use tabs’ … but that would be a fucking lie and I have a whole job and sometimes the tabs and movies are my saving grace.
Nonetheless, I sat on the toilet and opened YouTube. The lord knows I was in the right chair.
I activated the cursor in the search bar. And then, as if autocomplete was in cahoots with me on the mission to find the pervert in my midst…
“Girls Private parts”
“Girls in panties”
“Girls in bikini”
Riyaahd laughed for way too long when I showed him Jonah’s search history. My little boy had seemingly opened a new chapter of his life: Girls.
In his haste to absorb as much pussy as possible agter die bak, he accidentally made Pornhub my homepage. I was appalled, but knew that this was a crucial moment for me to perform as a mother, and possibly shape his entire view on sex and women.
I found solace in the fact that even though the search was lewd, my son remained a gentleman. I would have been disappointed had he searched the words ‘pussy’ and ‘toet. He merely typed ‘private parts’. To be honest, considering the frequency at which I use the word ‘poes’, I wouldn’t have blamed him.
When Jonah came home, I sat him down on the couch. The same place he had sat down to receive his punishment for stealing my R300 only months prior.
First theft, now niche porn. My son was fucking spiralling.
I approached with caution. Riyaahd suppressed his laughter in the kitchen, and put his serious ‘daddy-face’ on for as long as he could.
“Baby. I was on your tab today”
“Okay. It’s fine mom. You know you can use it”.
“I know. Thanks baby. But that’s not it. Erm. Baby why are you googling girls butts?”
Jonah wasn’t sure he heard me correctly. At this point Riyaahd was hidden behind the wall just bussing with reckless abandon. My poor child didn’t even try to lie, he started crying so much, like I had moered him with that feather duster.
Jonah: “The boys in the van keep talking about girls private parts. I just wanted to see.”
Me: “It’s okay Joe. Don’t cry. You aren’t in trouble. You’re just a bit young to see certain things, okay? But it is normal to be curious”.
Jonah: “I’m so sorry mommy”.
Me: “You don’t need to be sorry. And the things you saw aren’t nice. That isn’t what sex is about. Women’s bodies are sacred. Don’t Google it… ask me. You can ask me anything!”.
Me: Yes, anything”.
Jonah: “Okay. Then please mommy, don’t tell ma”.
I haven’t been very forthcoming about what has been happening in my personal life for the past few months because to be quite frank, it has been pretty conventional. When I say conventional, I mean I haven’t had any significant trials, no more than usual at least, but there have been some occasions where I wished I had my own reality show, so that people had evidence of the many strange things I experience.
Since I got married, I have had to censor myself out of respect for my husband and marriage, and no longer spoke of my day to day in its entirety. This is something I am sure most people understand. Privacy is important to other people, apparently, so I adjusted accordingly.
Also, many of my readers seem to think I have gone soft since finding happiness. I guess I have – but it’s a small price to pay for my sanity. My interest in drama has waned as I have gotten older.
Blogging is something I need to feel when I write. I never want to develop an ego that misinforms me that people want to hear every detail of the minutia of my life.
But, the reason I am sharing with you of my experience with Sidney and his discovery of the female form is because it really was a crucial moment. He is a brother to sisters. He will be a husband to a wife. His perception of women is vital to his development, and the realization that it rests in my hands is both terrifying and magnificent.
I think there is a moment that happens in every boy’s life in which he starts his journey towards being either a gentleman, or a monster.
Some time ago, I embarked on the journey of writing a book.
The book is fictional, but the characters are based on my life. One of the characters is based on Lyle. If you are new here, Lyle was my boyfriend. He is the father of my second eldest child, and he was the man who abused me physically, emotionally and sexually.
Delving into the character I am writing about has forced me to analyse, second for second, each sexual assault I encountered. But more importantly, in order to write a ‘whole character’, I have had to dig deeper and try to understand what integral moments in Lyle’s life gave him his attitude towards women and their bodies, and what gave him his entitlement to think he could just take from me… from my body. What made him perceive me and other women as objects to use as he saw fit. Without consent?
What man did he see disrespecting a woman when he was growing up?
What answers did he get when he asked about the vagina?
Who helped form his opinions on sex?
If someone had taken a different approach at some point in his life and had guided him in a different way, would I have been spared the pain and humiliation of being sexually assaulted?