Date: April 7, 2016
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My story with Gender Links (GL) started in 2013 when I was going through a dark time in my life. I was jobless, homeless and hopeless. I smiled with the mouth but my eyes were cold and hard. My first experience with GL made me feel at home immediately. The reason for this was because there were other women who had similar experiences and this gave me encouragement to also open up. Juliana the facilitator also made it easier with her personality. What I learnt there was to laugh again and gave me the will to go on again. And I also realised as a woman I am very strong. I would like to start my on NGO for abused women and children. A home that women can come for help and I want to start it in my community Blanco.

I first heard about GL in 2013 and was immediately captured by the programme and it was the third session (phase?) that was being presented. I would have like to attend sessions one and two as well. The reason I did not attend the other two was because I did not know the organisation.

What I found useful was the information that was presented especially how to start your own business. Unfortunately I was not at the right place in my life and was working for a year. Everything for me was educational and I can’t say that there was anything that was not educational.

My biggest challenge was not to fall back in the cycle of abuse and I had to be strong for my children. I also got it right to believe in myself more and also to put my children first. Another big was probably to survive with the bare minimum and every small job that I got I took in order to provide for my kids and despite the circumstances and to accept the situation and move on with life and to now see the silver lining around the dark clouds.

Before GL I worked at EC Traffic Control for one year and six months which was a lovely experience. Where I could also learn to laugh but the best was when I received my first salary, money that I worked hard for. I was jobless for six (6) years so it was mine, or should I say my kids’ and I could provide for them like they were used to and even better.

Currently I am unemployed and am still dreaming about my NGO but myself and two friends are now busy starting our own catering company and I am looking forward to this. I still want to start my own NGO so that I can give employment to other women, teach them to cook and to give them some experience.

The training in 2013 made me aware that there is hope, that there is a way out and that there is good in the bad circumstances. It gave me the change to give my experiences back and thank you for taking the chance to work with broken women and to make them realise that there are women who care. The council helped me to be part of GL but I cannot remember that they did more than that. However I had friend who helped me a lot. Friends that did not look down on me, where I lived and what they could get out of me.

When I was younger I became familiar with abuse when my mom’s ex-husband use to hit her and the aunty that raised me also abused her. But I never thought that I went through it yet I am sitting today more than a conqueror in my own hurt. My ex really broke in into pieces and my self-confidence to the ground. I was beaten, said nasty things to, embarrassed in front of my children and made felt worthless. To feel so alone in your circumstances in no joke, because you need to smile inform of your kids in order to hide the hurt. Your kids need to run after/ behind you when you want to run away from the beatings. The embarrassment when you must run with torn clothes in the street and your problems making them others.

I therefore had to bring about change in my life. What I learnt was to stand up for yourself. I took a decision to stand for my rights as a woman and for my children. And for that I thank God for how many years I prayed to be rid of the man for who I was no more than a mattress. I also became cold sexually towards men. But I am free of my abuser. I can look him in the eye and talk but what still hurts is that in his eyes he did nothing wrong. As a mother and wife is performed my duties, yes I had my faults but was not raised like that to be a man’s punching bag.

And today I am free from my abuser. I met someone who makes me feel so good about myself, as if I am the most beautiful woman on earth. The whole world must respect me who I am and with who I can see myself. My ex and I are no longer together and with a clear conscious I can no say that I am free from my abuser and I forgave him but I will never allow him back into my life. My kids now have me back for themselves, we enjoy the house where we live now and we feel free because no one is worried about what will happen next (abuse). My kids are happy although my daughter misses her dad she knows that he will never be a part of our household anymore

With my experience I know that I can make a difference in other women’s circumstances I just need to breakthrough to her in order to make her realise that she is no someone’s punching bag and that she has worth and that she is a women made out of God’s hands and in His image.

With the NGO that I want to start it will change a few women’s financial circumstances because I will appoint them in the catering company and will also have them attend courses where they can empower themselves. It is a dream of any women that has gone through hurt and depression.

For me it did not matter if the community won’t see a difference but my family did. That is what matters but after a while I realised that I got support from the community as well. I wake up every morning with a grateful heart and I can face anything with the hope that everyday I will get stronger and stronger.

What I learnt out of everything was to talk about my abuse. To know that there are other women that also need help and that I should not be shy to speak. I was full of pride and did not want people to know my circumstances. I was also good at smiling and used it to hide.
To be more open to let other know that they can talk and that they are only hurting themselves by making excuses by thing that their men (abusers) will change.

Me and my friends are still busy setting up the catering business and we are seeing someone on the 14th of September at the municipality. With my NGO I also want to start because I am currently busy preparing to meet with SEDA.

In 2030 I would like to look back on a good business, drive my own car and that my kids would have learned how to be strong and to take a nice South African holiday in order for me to tour through my own country. To also be a speaker at a women’s event and to tell them that there is happiness after abuse.

I am a stronger woman than four years back and I see every new day as an opportunity to grow. Thank you very much for the platform where we or I can begin to get my life in order. My son is a town planner; my baby is in grade 8. My kids are happier without abuse in the house and I want to keep it that way.

I have my life thanks to a strong woman that raised me. That taught me words and taught me to be strong but what I know now is that I can’t put my kids through that again. I did not grow up with my mother around and I don’t regret this because I am stringer. My aunt was my rock, my everything. I was also molested by my stepfather but today I am stronger because I can move on.