Date: April 7, 2016
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After the last training the I stories I wrote was about my first stepfather. My other heart-breaking experience my second stepfather took care of. After my first stepfather’s death (passing) my mother married my second stepfather, Charl.

In the beginning things were okay (a broom always sweeps clean at first). After a while he also started becoming funny (different) with me and my sisters. My youngest sister was still on school so she lived inside the house while I, my other sister and my eldest son lived in a bungalow (Wendy house). He definitely did not want us in the house and my son could also not play outside because he did not want us there yet before he came we lived in the house with my mother.

I was unemployed and therefore we had to wait until my mom came from work in order to eat. Luckily there was an outside toilet and tap that we could use. He was very rude to us during the day and when my mom would come home at night he would turn the story around and say that we were rude to him. After a while we felt that my mom did not love us anymore because for the second time I had to go through the same thing.

I fell pregnant with the second child and got married. I moved out and lived with other people. The abuse did not stop and he continue to mess with my other sisters yet my mom never helped them and always sided with him. I received an interdict from him instructing me never to set foot at their house.

In 2007 I moved back home after giving birth to my third child. The peace also did not last long because he was not happy with the relationship between us and our mom. This is how it went on for years and the abuse did not stop. Last year he tried to get an interdict against me and my family because he wanted to put us out on the street.

This was the most hurtful of all because he also wanted to treat my children like he treated me. I accepted the Lord in my life and the day at court God dealt with him. The best part is that my mom still wanted me in her life. Now he is sick yet my husband and I are supporting him and my mom.

I can only thank Gender Links because I opened up the wound so that I could heal from the heartache. God also gets all of the praise for the strength he gave me and for teaching me to forgive. I take every day as it comes and I take it step by step.

The moment I got to know Juliana she also taught me new things and made me feel good about myself. I started the training at George Municipality in 2013 with Pebbler and have attended have attended three (3) courses/ phases. The training I received was very good for me because it was about self-image and I didn’t find anything useless because the experience that I gained and what I heard we all applicable to me so nothing was unnecessary. My main challenges were to talk to him again and to forgive him, but because I accepted God in my life and received the power to overcome it and forgave him.

Before GL I was unemployed and still am unemployed but emotionally the training helped me because I always thought that it only happened to me but after the training I know that there is support and now the road starts to peace and forgiveness. To talk about my life helps a lot because many days I still think about it but I have the confidence that beautiful things have happened in my life like the birth of my three (3) sons.

Unfortunately the council did not assist me with anything.

In my previous marriage I experienced abuse with my husband but things also got better.
Now there are the usual disagreements/ arguments but not the intense abuse and fighting anymore. I accepted Christ in my life and when I sense that things are about to get out of hand I walk away and use/ apply wisdom. Previously I use to walk to the tavern (shebeen) but I don’t do that anymore. Unfortunately my husband still drinks.

Nowadays my children see their father more at home more often and we get along (understand each other). They enjoy it and when we do want to argue we remember that the children are listening. I have always said that I want to raise my children without abuse and treat them with respect. I think that if many women have their own income then they feel worthy and not dependant on a man.

I now advise others too. For women who feel that they cannot continue anymore I can say that they need to stop the abuse themselves, that they must stand up for themselves; work on their self-image, because beauty starts from within yourself.

People see me differently because it is your manners make you beautiful and they also see that I stand up for myself. Women also stand up for themselves these days. If for example you go to the police station then you get proper service and counselling. These days you find people everywhere e.g. teachers, police, councillors, doctors and pilots. I also speak to women at the church about their rights because abuse takes place in various forms and I distribute pamphlets about abuse to my friend, neighbours and community.

I have learnt that a woman is a strong soul, abuse should not happen to her, children are also important and they too get traumatised and experience hurt and that you must receive healing in order to move on with your life. I now know the different kinds of abuse and I will try my best to prevent it and stand up for myself. I would like to raise my children with opportunities that I never had and let them know that I am there for them. I want them to be comfortable to talk to me if something is bothering them.

By 2030 I would like to be in my own home and own a car for my family. My sons must have a good future and I would like to see them educated. It was good to experience Mossel Bay and to get to know other people. I am thankful to God because my circumstances are different to other people’s therefore I can just thank the Lord. I learnt a lot from the women, to stand up for myself and to be strong in order to face the challenges in life.