Date: April 7, 2016
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When I was 16 years old I was raped. I had to go back to school but the children teased me all of the time. Just there I decided that I am not going back to school and left school in standard five (5). I never ever made peace with the fact that I left school and at 18 years old I fell pregnant and had a baby. Things were very hard for me at my parents’ home and therefore I moved to Groot Brakrivier where I lived with my sister. I had my baby on the 25th of June 1983 and it was a beautiful baby girl. My mother came to fetch me with my baby and we returned to Slangrivier.

There I made contact with my child’s father. He first came the Saturday and I showed him our baby but he did not say anything. He just picked up the child and gave her a hug. The next Saturday I expected him to give money (maintenance) towards the child and to my surprise he gave a R10, can you believe that? I then told him that the child cannot be raised on R10 but it continued like that. I went to church and baptised my daughter alone. He never took care for his fatherly duties but I am grateful that I had a father and five (5) brothers of which four (4) of my brothers worked and helped me financially with milk, soap, clothes, etc. With time I decided that I am going to take him to court for maintenance in order to provide for the child. I then went to court for maintenance. We appeared in front of the magistrate and he gave my child a R40.

I then decided to look for another place to live and went to Groot Brakrivier at my sister’s house again with my child. I ran the house for my sister because she had tuberculosis (TB). She was hospitalised in Santa and she and her husband had four (4) children who I had to care for.

Things turned ugly one Saturday night when we were both very drunk and the next moment I found myself in his arms. I felt so bad the Sunday that I did not even want to go to hospital because I could not look her in the eye. That Sunday afternoon I went to lie down but then by brother in law wanted to have sex with me again.

My sister came home and the truth came out (writing and thinking about this right now I am getting warm in the face). She started taking revenge and she made my life a living hell. Me and him (my brother in law) took the train to Cape Town and there we lived for two (2) weeks with my older brother. Oh my family was broken. When his holiday/ vacation money was finished we had to come home. Where to now? We hitchhiked out of Cape Town, it was a two (2) days trip but we eventually landed up in Grootbrak. I asked him where am I going and he took me to his parents’ house but his mother did not like that. Closer to time I started looking for work and started at the shoe factory making shoes.

Then she (my sister) started working in Cape Town. He had to look after the children and I had to play wife again and look after his children. But then one night she came back again and that night was a nightmare. He had sex with both of us. First me, then he fingered her and when he was done he got onto of her.
The Sunday morning I didn’t know she was going to burn me. I was busy doing my hair and curling it with rollers (curlers). The next moment I felt that I was being thrown with boiling water that had oil in. The ambulance took me away and I had to ask other people to look after my child because I was burnt. I laid in hospital for almost three (3) weeks and when I was discharged from hospital I had to go and live with his mother. I could not even wear a panty; I just had to lie there. I was really abused by my whole family because everyone avoided me. My child then had to sleep by his mom’s place and this is how things continued. One day when I was coming from the clinic and she confronted me and physically attacked me until blood came streaming from my wounds. His children also scold at and called me a slut and I could not walk anywhere (I couldn’t show my face anywhere), I was too embarrassed.

He later divorced her and in 1990 I fell pregnant with his child. He did not know that I was pregnant. It was two (2) tube babies and it was very heart-breaking because the babies had to be removed. He then slept in my bed but when I was burned he went to sleep with her. In the mornings he would come from her with lots of love bites in his neck but I could not say anything or he would hit me. By this time I was so deep in the bottle (alcohol).

In 1992 I married him in court. My parents were not very happy but we still got married. He hit me as he pleased and I thought that it would never stop. I started becoming interested in things, like singing in the church choir. He would beat me, my head had holes and he would kill his cigarettes in my face. He did not mind having sex with me without permission, especially when he was drunk.

My daughter fell pregnant and I had to tell him that she needed to go and finish her matric. He beat me so much that weekend and he beat us so much I thought that my daughter was going to lose the baby. Then she started running away to her unborn child’s father he looked after her while she was pregnant. In secret I had to hire cars in order to visit my daughter and check if she is okay. I was very depressed at that time.

Beron (my grandchild) was born in the year 2000. The welfare brought me his two (2) sons and I could also not say no because one was two (2) years and six (6) months and the other one was two (2) months. Their names are Benjamin and Bradwill. He did not give me a chance to enjoy myself. In 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer but I am healthy now. Thank you very much Gender Links (GL) that I could participate and what I learnt made me a stronger person. I forgave my husband. I gave him a second chance and things got better. Thank you GL for uplifting me further.

He recently abused me terribly by scolding and fighting with me. He even told me that I should die on the hospital theatre table. I told him that I am a religious woman and that God will decide about my life. This year we will be married 23 years on the 4th of December but I do not think that any women would want to go through what I went through. There were many days when I wanted to commit suicide but I just thought about my children.

I pulled myself together and am a beautiful stable woman now. I started applying for contracts and in 2013 I got one from the municipality and there I realised that *Toodles can stand on her own legs. I had a job when I joined GL. I became an entrepreneur and have a contract for three (3) years now. GL started drawing us in and we started moving closer to them. This taught me even more about being a woman, even about my rights. I met many people because I told myself until her and not any further. I could not finish my schooling career because of financial constraints but today I can help my children with the things I could not do.

My future plans are that when my husband retires one day is that we will grow old together if God allows and in 2030 I want to be a beautiful pensioner. One day I want to own my own house with four (4) bed rooms, built in cupboards and a beautiful kitchen. This is my heart’s desire and that everything in my home will just be comfortable. I am tired of struggling. I dream of my own house and I know that I will one day own my own home.