Lesotho: My husband nearly killed me

Date: September 9, 2014
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I am a woman and mother to my children. I live at Lekokoaneng and I have seven children from my husband who never took a rest from beating me. I was married in 1963 to this man who is older than me by 20 years. I was 15 when I got married to my husband.
From the time that we got married when I was very young he took very good care of me, giving me everything that I needed. He brought me up like his own child and of course I reasoned like a child. My life began to be difficult as I grew older and my mind became that of a woman. My husband was a womanizer; he did not only get involved with girls but also married women. My friends would come and tell me about my husband’s actions and when I tried to warn him as his wife I would be beaten like a dog and thrown out to sleep outside the whole night.
Some other times I would go back to my father’s house, then he would come for me and talk with my parents and they would tell me to go back with him. I went back with him. My husband worked on the mines in South Africa. He used to go to work and spend more time there than he should. I would go and ask for money because we now had a child who needed to be cared for. When I arrive at his work place his managers would want to give me the money but my husband would refuse and come back home with me. When we arrived at home he would be very angry and beat me up asking why I went there to humiliate him in front of his bosses.
When our kids grew he abused us together to hurt me, he would go after them with a knife and sometimes with a big stick, my children ran away and when I fetched them he beat me and made sure that I slept outside as usual. One day I decided to leave him, I ran away to Gauteng where I stayed for a long period. My father got sick and died in my absence, because I was running away from my husband whom I feared.
My husband looked for me everywhere and he found me and brought me back with him. He was feared by people in the village, whatever he wanted people would tremble and give it him. On my return, I stayed with him for about a month and I ran away again for he was still abusive to me and my kids. I was then told that my father was being buried so I decided to go and see my family but my stumbling block was this man because I knew he would be there too and indeed I met him there.
I did not want to go back with him since I had made up my mind to divorce him. We fought like cat and dog. My husband was very strong but I decided to do whatever it took to defeat him, I told myself that even if I died I would defeat him that day. We fought and he beat me up until he broke my leg and arm. He was so scared that he even sent me to the hospital and when I was released he was very good to me and treated me like the wife I was to him. I relaxed until last year (2011) in December when he started his old bad ways. He raised a hand to me and beat me again but since we are now old and him being older than me by 20 years I defeated him even though he managed to disable my finger. By the time our children came to separate us he was down and he had to explain why and he told our son.
Every time after he beat me he would be the sweetest thing ever and apologise and promise it would never happen again. His acts caused the entire village to hate him and never to associate with him at any level, because he did not care about other people’s feelings, as for me I stayed with him because there was nothing I could do because he was my children’s father. I still stay with my husband even today although I receive such maltreatment from him. Today when I write this story he does not know where I am because if he did he would beat me.
I never lived happily with my husband or enjoyed my marriage like other people who are married. I have stayed with him until today, I am beaten, go home and come back to him but I no longer fear him now because he is old.

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


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