South Africa: Abuse led me to drugs

South Africa: Abuse led me to drugs

Date: December 5, 2014
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*Trigger warning: Violence*

My name is Karabo (not my real name). My mother was sick and so I had to stay with my aunt. They sent me to Ozwathini to my father’s family to stay with my father. I did not know that my father was mentally ill. My father was so sick at that time, and he passed away. After his burial they chased me out and I had nowhere to go. I then decided to come back to Pietermaritzburg where I met my boyfriend Spinach who is the father of my child. I decided to stay with him. At first we were fine because we were both drinking. The problem started when he forced me to have sex with him every day even if I didn’t want to. He would force me to sleep with him and as result I fell pregnant. Even when I had told him that I was pregnant he still continued to force me to sleep with him. One time we were sleeping and he started I agreed at first and then I told him that now I am tired, I tried to run, he caught me and started beat me. I tried to fight back but he overpowered and raped me.

I did not report to the police and also I did not go to hospital because I was scared that he will kick me out. I continued staying with him, while this abuse was happening. I went to the hospital for antenatal clinic and I did an HIV test and it came out positive. I went to see the social worker at Northdale Hospital. I told the social worker about the abuse I was experiencing at home. At that time I loved him and I did not want him to go to jail or anything I just left it like that.

I started taking my ARV treatment. He started swearing at me and beating me up, asking where I got the disease from. He called me names and told me that I am mad. It continued until I gave birth and beyond. He was getting worse to the point that the stabbed me at the back while I was running away from him. I went back to the hospital for my check-ups and I reported again to the social workers. He was now selling the home brew beer and dagga and he was also using it. The social worker referred me to the shelter. I have been staying there for 6 months now and my child is growing. Even though I still love him and he has promised to marry me but I am thinking about my child. I also want to be helped to get my identity document.

I have lived a bad life because even after my father passed away, when my relatives kicked me out, I became a prostitute to survive. Some men would take advantage of me, sleep with me and not pay me and I will end sleeping on the street with other street children. One day I saw my aunt and she called me, Karabo I have come to fetch you and my boyfriend started to fight with them and he wanted to stab them. They ran away. We have been all over with him, to all the beaches. My boyfriend loved me so much. We used to smoke and drink and we were smoking glue as well as shoplifting to get money. When I look at myself now my life has completely changed, I am no more smoking and drinking even though sometimes I think about it and how it use to make forget all the pain in my life and made things easier for me. Now I think nothing beats to be with my child and see him grow. I do get stressed that as he grows and he ask me of his father and that my family does not want us. I worry a lot knowing that I am there, at the shelter temporarily and I don’t have my ID yet, I don’t know what I will do.

I want to reconcile with my family and it seems every time the social worker calls them they are not ready to forgive me. I want to start over again and show them that I have changed, I am no longer the same Karabo, and they use to know. I know they are angry with me and that Spinach did not pay for the damages for the child as it our culture when the girl gets pregnant.
I thank the Haven and Gender links for this opportunity to write a story about my life and to know that someone would read my story and listen to my feelings




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