Lesotho: My husband wanted a boy…

Date: September 15, 2014
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My name is Ketleho and I live in the Mohale’s Hoek district in Lesotho. I was married to a man that I dearly loved and even today I still do not understand what happened to him that made him change so much; he was like somebody new to me. I really did not know him anymore and when I asked him about it he would get very angry and start to beat me up.

My husband abused me as though he had been forced into our marriage, but we had fallen in love and we were so much in love and I did not understand what really went wrong, but he did not want anything to do with me. He wanted to have a child as soon as possible, but it was a challenge because I was not able to conceive, it was really difficult and he was not prepared to see a doctor so as to determine what was really wrong.

All the blame was put on me and because I loved him I was ready to sort out all our problems and see what we could possibly do, but my husband was not keen. God works miracles and in 1977 I fell pregnant with my first child and my husband was very happy, seeing that his dreams had finally came true, but he was disappointed when the child was born because she was a girl and apparently he said he was expecting a boy. Things got really nasty, but it was not my decision to make and I was not the one who made the baby a girl, when he wanted a boy.

He would insult me every day and he did not even touch the baby because she was not the boy that he wanted. Things were really tough for me and it was just when I was hoping that things would get easier for me because he had been complaining that there was no baby and finally the baby was there. He would not buy food for me and the baby; he would beat me up without any apparent reason, I was living a very difficult life. In 1981 I got pregnant again and the second baby girl was born. It was the toughest year of my life, my husband was very angry; he would beat me very hard telling me that he was tired of me giving him girls as if it was my fault.

My life was very difficult and I did not know what to do with my girls. It was nobody’s fault, we do not choose the sex of our babies, but my husband was taking it as if I had something to with it. I told him maybe it was better if we did not have any more children, but he refused and told me that he would try until I had a boy, it was very difficult. In 1984 I fell pregnant again and again it was a very beautiful girl and that time I was nearly killed, he was very, very angry and he wanted to kill the baby, but I fought him. It was neither the baby’s fault nor my fault, the baby was a gift from God and he was the one who decided. I tried to tell family so that they could intervene, but they failed because my husband wanted a boy and there was nobody who could do anything about it. He wanted a boy and he was willing to do whatever it took to have one even if he had to kill me, he was ready to do that. I tried to get help everywhere but what I wanted was really very difficult because nobody can make that decision. In 1987 I gave birth to another girl and that was the end of my marriage he was furious and the moment he was told that a baby had arrived and it was another girl he packed all his clothes and left me with our four girls. He told the family members that he could not stay with me. He was going to look for a “realÀ woman who would give him an heir. I was very angry, I did not deserve that. I was supposed to live with the man I love with my whole heart with our children that he was always talking about, but it was different.

It has been many years now since I last saw him. I am struggling with all these children as I am not working. He does not care about his children and they always ask me about their father, but I think its better that he left because at least nobody is insulting me and beating me up. I just do not have anything, but I have peace and my life.

*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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