Secret pain in Dr Eve's heart

15 March 2013 - 02:54 By ANDILE NDLOVU

She has made a name for herself with her insightful, yet awkward, sexual advice but Dr Marlene Wasserman, better known as Dr Eve, has been keeping a painful secret.

For 11 years Wasserman has not mentioned that she - like countless of her patients - has been a victim of sexual violence.

That is until yesterday afternoon when, during public hearings into the Top TV application for three porn channels, she interrupted her submission to say that she had been raped.

Speaking to The Times afterwards, Wasserman said she had begun entertaining the idea of speaking publicly about the rape at the beginning of the "Stop Rape" campaign last month.

"It felt, for me, like it was the right time to go public with it. But, because I had to protect my family, I discussed it with them and decided that I would feel and know when the time was right and . where I wanted to do it.

"It wasn't for self-gain or any emotive reason, or to gain any political points," she said. "It is just a simple statement. I just felt comfortable with it. I don't even feel outstanding, I'm one in three women in South Africa [who has been raped]."

The rape, said Wasserman, had affected her "entire life".

As a therapist, it changed the way she looked at cases; because she now felt more empathy.

"I'm a clinician so I work with women who are sexually violated and raped every single day. I don't share it with them [the patients] but I certainly have better understanding," she said.

But she had found that nothing really helped after such a traumatic experience.

"No matter how many self-defence classes you take, no matter how much protection or barriers you put into your house, there's something that shatters inside a woman or man, and stays shattered forever, and you have to learn to live with that.''

Wasserman supports the application for the porn channels, arguing that sexual material helps adolescents understand their own sexuality.