Zambia: My cruel and dangerous husband

Date: December 1, 2014
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Where will I go if I report my abusive husband to the relevant authorities, who will take care of my children?

I was physically, emotionally and financially abused by my husband for 17 years but I never planned to leave him. He made me suffer, but I kept asking myself where I would go if I left him as I come from a poor family. My husband would come home with different women; chase me from my matrimonial bedroom so that he could make love with them. I could not do anything, I would just hear his girlfriend groaning in an effort to frustrate me but I could not stop them because my husband beat me.

I became a slave in my own home and I was ordered to dust his girlfriends’ shoes, open the gate for them when they  went out or came back from work. If I refused to do all these things, my husband threatened to kill me and he would beat me up using a stick, punch me or hit my head on the wall.

I became a slave to his girlfriends because I was asked to wash their clothes, prepare food for them, dust their shoes and wait for further instructions from them. When my husband knocked off from work, he would start beating me without any proper reason. He told me that he would not stop beating me until I moved out of his house because he no longer loved me, but I did not do so.

I love him and the wealth and property that we acquired together was another reason that I did not want to leave him. I thought he would change his bad behaviour but he did not and he continued to physically, emotionally and financially abuse me.

He would sometimes undress me and undress my three daughters and tie us with a rope to the big tree outside our home with our legs wide spread so that people could see our nakedness. We cried for help but people who came to watch how we were suffering at the hands of my husband and the father to my three grown up children could not help us because they feared him.

People watched helplessly when I was tied up with my children from morning till dawn. He called us prostitutes and told us not to cover our private parts so that people could view a ‘film’ according to him. When it was dawn, he untied us. Our hands, eyes and bodies were swollen and itching.

My husband repeatedly abused my daughters and I, but we had nowhere to run to, no one to help us because he was so cruel and sometimes dangerous. My husband would beat me and not stop until he saw blood. To make matters worse, I was financially abused but I continued to wash for him and do everything that he wanted me to do, but he never thought of me. I feel a man should provide for his family and should think of his wife, especially if she is not working, because she does a lot of work at home as a house manager.

Despite my family knowing the problems I was facing with my abusive husband, they were against my wish to leave him because of his wealth. Poverty has contributed to my suffering because I do not come from a well to do family. I knew that my family could not help me financially if I was to leave this abusive marriage but my instinct was wrong.

I am now a free person, God has answered my prayers. I have been liberated from this monster, ‘mad max’, as he was fondly called. I have made a final decision and I cannot listen to anyone’s advice, including my blood relatives, because they are sometimes misled.

I am the one affected and it is important for me to make the final decision.

Why should I stick to an abusive husband because of his money? I have now realised that money cannot buy life. I am free and free forever because enough is enough. I decided to leave everything behind and I have started a new life with my children who were traumatised. It is vital for my fellow women to learn from my story. They should not stick to abusive, rich husbands, but should think of their future and that of their children.

*Not her real name

This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links News Service encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.


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