Zimbabwe: Punished for refusing to leave my matrimonial home

Zimbabwe: Punished for refusing to leave my matrimonial home

Date: March 23, 2016
  • SHARE:

Zvimba, Zimbabwe, 23 March, 2015: My name is Rosemary Muza, I am a 53 year old woman who is a victim of physical and emotional abuse. Since 1961 the year I was born, I never faced any challenges as I grew up under the care and guardianship of loving parents.

I got married in 1980 to Mudyiwa* when I was 19 years and I was living a happy life with my husband. God gifted us with six children within 20 years of our marriage. We were an admirable couple and many people looked up to us for inspiration. We were a shining beacon in our community because our lifestyle was exemplary and the love that was reigning in my family was the talk of the village.

After 33 years in marriage, that is, in 2013, the tale of a loving family took a new twist as my husband destroyed the peace that was reigning then and replaced it with chaos that was manifested through hatred and violence in the family. Today I regret ever getting married to my husband and I always curse the day I accepted his love proposal.

The whole drama started when my husband decided to be unfaithful through having extra marital relationships. His promiscuous behavior caused me a lot of pain as it tortured me emotionally. I was not able to caution him to stop what he was doing because whenever I try he used to assault me.

The situation became worse when Mudyiwa spent our agricultural proceeds which were our only source of livelihoods for alcohol and girlfriends. Life was now difficult for me and the children because we were now living under extreme poverty because my husband misused the money meant for basic commodities.

My husband later stopped paying school fees for the children and I was forced to do it single handed. I used the proceeds I was getting from the garden to pay school fees for my children. I was working hard to better my life and that of my children while Mudyiwa was busy chasing after women. He took on board alcohol abuse and his behavior earned him a nickname “Mudyiwa.” However, what pained me is the fact that what was being used by my husband to spoil his girlfriend’s came from my toiling and sweating.

The continuation of the unbearable situation caused me to suffer from stress and I went to the clinic to seek medical help. Since it was mandatory for everyone who visits the clinic to be tested for HIV, I was tested and officially diagnosed HIV positive. I went on medication and I told Dhangu but he refused to go to the hospital. He cited me as the cause of that calamity that had befallen us and he said he cannot live with a woman who is HIV positive.

After I disclosed my status to my husband, he tried all means possible to chase me away from our matrimonial home but I resisted the move. Dhangu took on board physical assaults and several times I used to sleep outside after being locked out. I maintained my stance and I declared that I will never leave behind the properties I worked for to be enjoyed by my husbands’ girlfriends.

Early 2013 my husband moved out of our matrimonial home and went to live with one of his many girlfriends. Unfortunately, his decision to move out failed to be a relief to me as he continued coming back to insult and assault me. He vowed to continue insulting me until I returned to my parents’ home. He wanted me to leave our matrimonial home so that his girlfriend will move in.

The thought of another woman moving in to stay in my house and enjoy what I toiled and sweated for always cause me to have nightmares. I vowed not to leave my home and I kept on telling myself that I would rather die because I cannot live to see it happening. To force me to leave, he took away from me a cheque of US$ 300 I realised after selling a ton of maize. Imagine that I spent the whole year working in the fields with my children under the raging sky and someone came to take away the proceeds from us. You can imagine the pain and the bereavement I went through.

As if that was not enough he also took away from us nine bags of maize saying that we do not have the right to use his land. I reported the case to the police and his niece bribed the police and he was released without any charges. To celebrate his victory he passed through my home on his way from the police station and told me that he is immune to the law and the police would not do anything to him because he will be protected by his niece.

On the 18th of April 2013 while people were in a jovial mood enjoying the independence celebrations he decided to exert more pressure on me to leave my home and pave way for his girlfriend. That is the day he broke windows and destroyed the toilet, things that I attained through hard work. After vandalising the property he told me that his girlfriend instructed him to do so because she is now losing patience and she cannot wait any longer to occupy my house.

I reported the matter to the police and they arrested him and locked him in the police cells. His niece arrived at the police post and he was immediately released. He insulted me in the presence of the police and no action was taken against him.

My children were the pillar of my strength and kept me going forward despite all challenges. My elderly son who works in South Africa bought me a water pump for gardening and a welding machine for the welding business. This did not go well with Dhangu and he took the welding machine and the water pump to his girlfriend’s place.

After two days he came back to deliver what he called a final blow and took a bicycle, a scorch-cart and six goats. I reported the matter to the police and nothing came out of it and he boasted to me that even the Police General do not have the authority to arrest him.

After that incident that took place early June this year (2014), he barred me from using the family garden and life is now becoming unbearable for me because I am living like a prisoner in a free country. I no longer report to the police after I realised that they are not willing to help me and they were blaming me for everything that has befallen me. To date, my husband is still fighting for my departure and he is determined to fulfil his evil plans.

What is worrisome is the fact that my health status is deteriorating as fuelled by the continuation of the physical and emotional abuse. I keep on looking at the horizons wondering when all this will end so that happiness will be restored in my life.