Zimbabwe: *RB

Zimbabwe: *RB

Date: May 17, 2016
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Living in a male dominated society has made me to believe that a woman should be under a man and that only a man should have a final say in decision making. I only found out that l was docile and naive after l had been physical and verbally abused. My name is RB*, in my marriage life l have been physically, emotionally and verbally abused and this has made me docile and because l was not able to say what l wanted to my husband that’s when he started to abuse me. My husband physically abused me to an extent that l was admitted at the hospital because of the serious injuries that l had. The moment l came back home after a few days in the hospital l found him with another wife and when l asked him who she is since we were legally married and he did not tell me that he wants to marry a second wife he physically abused me again.

This negatively affected me because l was not employed and my source of income was only him. I then kept quiet and this traumatized me to an extent that l could not talk to anyone in the society even the family members. After the second wife had noticed that there was no piece in the house she ran away. The fact that l had accepted my miserable situation and had nowhere to start l lived with him even though he was abusive. The abuse that l was going through also affected my children because l was abused in front of them and they did not understand what was happening and the reasons why l was being abused. My husband did not allow me to associate with other women in the community even the neighbors and l also normalized the situation without noticing that l was abused.

I heard about Gender Links through a friend who advised me to work closely with the organization so that l can have my freedom back, know my rights, and also to empower myself by starting a business. Unfortunately my husband died and he was still abusive. Due to the abuse that l went through l became so afraid to try and get a partner and be married again.

When l attended the first workshop in Gender Links l felt so optimistic about life and that l can move on with life and also support my children. Through the entrepreneurship program which inspired me and uplifted me l then started pursuing my dreams of being a dressmaker. During my marriage l was not able to do that because my husband always said he can provide for the family so l must not do any manual work to provide for the family. I did not notice that he denying me the opportunity to empower myself as a woman. My business was successful because people liked my designs and l was able to apply the skills l leant from the entrepreneurship program.

The entrepreneurship program has played a key role in building my confidence again as a woman and also in giving me assistance on how to manage my business and also on how to associate with other members of society. Also the entrepreneurship program has greatly assisted me in giving skills on how to advertise my business. This in a way has assisted me to have a lot of customers from different places.

The economic and social empowerment that l have attained through working with Gender Links  has allowed me to be able to feel that am also part of the society again and am now able to talk with other women especially on social issues concerning women’s rights. The Gender Links program has also taught me on how to deal with different characters in a society especially different customers that l do business with. Through the Gender Links program l have noticed that if a woman is not economically empowered she can be easily abused by a man compared to when she is economically empowered. I would like to thank Gender Links and l feel honored to be part of the program because l have been enlightened on the critical issues that affect women and that hinder women from transforming their lives.