Date: April 7, 2016
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Hello my name is Nadine and I just once again want to share my story with you. Before I got involved with Gender Links (GL) I was in a very confusing situation because there was no one I could talk to. My mother knew what I was going through but I thought at that moment that my mom had too much on her plate to deal with and do. As I mentioned earlier I am from an abusive home, my dad was always drunk and would hit my mother. There is a lot that I remember even when I was little there were many good (happy) days but there were more bad days. For me it was always a day of wonder (anticipation/ anxiety?) was he going to behave himself today or if me and my brother and sister sleep outside again. Just thinking about it now already opens old wounds.

One particular weekend my mom was at home and it was a wonderful day. My baby brother Gayro, my child Luciano and my baby sister Luzandre’ were busy playing in the lounge on the carpet while my dad was busy drinking in the room. I was busy doing the washing outside and this is when I heard my brother scream out on the top of his lungs and I immediately ran into the house. This is when I saw my little brother holding his head and when he removed his hand from his head the blood came pouring down his face – my father took his wooden astray and hit my brother in the middle of his head while he was busy playing with the two other little ones. When I saw this it was like something came over me and I went into the room and did something that I feel ashamed about until this very day. I didn’t raise my hands at him or hit him but I grab him off the bed and shook him until he was sober. When I was done he asked me what was I doing and why. I am not proud of what I did because the Bible says honour your father and mother then your days will be lengthened.

I remember one night when my oldest son was about three (3) months old a few weeks before school started (because after his birth I decided to go back to school) – it was me, my eldest sister, my baby brother, baby sister and my child. My mother was busy getting ready for work. At that time my dad was already busy drinking but he was not drunk yet. The taxi picked up my mom at 10pm that night because that week my mom was working night shift. The taxi basically just left and then my father started with his things. He started scolding and pacing up and down. He kept coming in and out of the house but we did not pay much attention to him.

We were laying and all of a sudden he heard people talking and shouting at him and it was not even three (3) minutes he came storming into our room. He was looking for my child because he would always say he is looking for his puppy because he called us all his dogs. I told him that Luciano is sleeping and that he could not take him from his warm blankets. He then told me that it is not my F8%$#g child and demanded the children because he wanted to stand outside with the child. Three months old, imagine a three month old baby standing outside at 10pm in the cold just wearing his crawler (body suit). I then told my dad that I am not going to give my child because of the cold.

This is when he started losing control because I did not want to give my child. He first threw me with one glass because there were two (2) glasses standing on the table that we drank cool drink from. He missed me but as he was throwing I had to make sure I was protecting my child. The second time he tried to hit me with the second glass I tried to stop the glass with my right and then the glass broke in my hand. At first I did not feel the pain but when I lifted my hand the blood started spraying all over. My sister took my baby and my baby brother took my baby sister and ran to the neighbours that live behind us. I followed and when I got there they immediately called the ambulance. I called my mom while I was in so much pain and my mom could not even make out what I was saying. The aunty then took the phone and explained to my mom while I was on my way to the hospital. Immediately the next morning I had to go for an operation and the operation was successful.

The doctor made a case against him and he went to jail but because he behaved himself so well they let him out. I tried to go back to school but the teachers at school did not want to help me. I was rather told to write with my left hand which I could not do because I am not left handed. The principal also told them to give me copies of the work but they did not want to and this is when I decided to give up and not go back to school. I regret this decision and I blame myself because I feel like I could have tried harder.

When I joined GL in June 2013 I was broken. To have met the women there was both sad and welcoming because to hear what those women went through made me realise that there are more women that have gone through the same experience as me and I learnt a lot from listening to their stories. I learnt that women are strong people and that we can endure a lot and get through a lot.

I started the training in 2013 with Juliana and Ntombi and I didn’t know about the first phase (course) but with the second phase (course) Aunty Ansie informed me and asked that I come because I could learn a lot from it. With the third course (phase) I could not attend because I was working and the boss at the company treated his employees differently (funnily?).

My main challenge was to open up and talk because it was very painful at first but since I joined GL I started opening up and today I can also laugh about what happened. Before the course I was sitting at home and doing nothing about my circumstances. I constantly felt sorry for myself and sat thinking about everything my dad did to me, my brother, my sister, my child But after I joined I felt much better and I am working for my children and family and I am still planning to finish my studies in order to get a better job because at the moment we are struggling but we are coping.

The training helped me because my son in not as nervous (anxious) anymore because he always use to bite his fingernails but since my dad is not with us anymore it is much better. He is playing now and there is lots of laughter and love in the family. My dad was constantly aggressive when he was drunk but I am not experiencing violence anymore because my mom became a strong woman and started standing up for her children. She then decided that enough is enough and that she won’t allow my dad to hurt us anymore. She let go of my dad.

I am now influencing people’s lives in a way good way because there are many young girls that I talk to at work and I motivate especially when I see how these guys are hitting their girlfriends. As soon as I get a moment with them alone I talk to them. Unfortunately my community does not see me differently because many of them said that it is because of me that my mom and are not together anymore.

I have learnt to be a very strong person and not to allow people to walk over me and I am applying the lessons learnt by keeping to what I believe and by being a strong and convicted person that does not allow other to influence me. My future plans are to be what I have always wanted to be and in 2030 I see myself in a big house that I built for my mom with a proper job which I am working towards already in order to make my family happy. I just want you to pray for me and motivate me now and then just to remind me why I am doing all of these things.