Elizabeth Visagie

Elizabeth Visagie

Date: April 7, 2016
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My name is Elizabeth and I live in Vredendal. I am a mother of five (5) children; am married for 20 years and one of my sons is in a wheelchair.

For the first 18 years of my marriage I was being emotionally abused by my husband. I started with the Gender Links (GL) course in February 2014 and in the beginning I was very shy to tell my true story but a few days later our facilitator who presented the course said that she cannot continue presenting the course if we wanted to take a step backward, the time has come to take a step forward and this is where I realised it was time for me to talk openly about what was happening to me.

During my marriage as it went along my husband treated me like nothing, everything revolved around him. He gave me a certain amount of money and I had to do everything I could with that money like buying groceries, paying accounts, etc. and if I asked for more money afterward he would just say that he already gave me money.

I was so scared during the 18 years that we were married and I did everything for him and just accepted everything as is. During 2013 – 2014 my husband had various extramarital affairs and it had such a huge impact on my life. My children underwent a metamorphosis and one of my kids had to go for psychological treatment and my son still has no respect for his son.

I have attended previous courses presented by GL and what I found most useful during the courses is that you are unique and special. My biggest challenge that I had to overcome was to talk and I overcame this when I opened up and said that I am my own wife. Before I joined the course I worked at nearby farms during in season times and at the moment I sell small goods from my house when I have enough money. Yes I believe with my whole heart because I am a complete different person since starting the GL courses. No the council has not yet helped us and I wanted to register my business but did it at the Business Development Centre who helped me. I had a friend who I shared with and we spoke about our feelings and emotions and we make our goods together.

Yes because the emotional abuse has been coming on a long time. I am by no means being emotionally abused anymore and there is definitely a huge change in my relationship and the reason for this is because I put my foot down and my husband cannot get used to it. I said that enough is enough. Yes the change had a huge impact on my husband because he cannot get used to it because I say how I feel. Yes there is a connection because you as women are independent.

The change in my life is very positive because other women ask me how I got it right and I explained that there are many institutions that can help but you just need to come forward and ask for help. Yes in the community they see the change because in the past I was tired and worn down but now when I walk in the road people turn their heads to look at me. Yes my actions to a large degree changed a lot because [people see me now in a different light. I have acquired new skills and I also weave baskets now.
The lesson that I learnt is to come forward if you are being mistreated in any way. My future plans are to make a success of my biltong business. In 2030 I want my business to be successful. Yes it is so important to be independent because then you as a person is feel more worthy and you also don’t need to be dependent on your husband.