My nightmare marriage

My nightmare marriage

Date: November 25, 2010
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My name is Rebecca Mark and I’m from Malawi. I was married to a South African guy and we were happily married and blessed with a son.

I have been trying to write, but still finishing a single paragraph is difficult. However, I pray that today God will make me strong and help me to write about my ordeal through to the very end. It is especially important to me because I will feel better if I can take out the fear that I have in me.

When my husband was drunk he was a problem. He never wanted me to speak to anyone apart from him, even when he is sober: when I would do that he would beat me until I bled. One day when my son was only five months old my boss gave me some money for a job I had done and also advanced me some money because I needed to buy milk and Pampers. He said I would have to work for a few days without pay.

I went home and my husband asked me where I got the money to buy the Pampers. He started calling me names and he took all the milk and diapers and threw them away in the bin so there was no milk for the baby. After that he started beating me. He beat me until he got tired and my baby was lying on the bed crying but he kept beating me more and more. After that he told me to take my baby and get out of his house. It was night and I didn’t know what to do.

The landlord saw us and asked where I was going with the baby at night. I told her that he chased us out of the house and she convinced him to let us back in, but he told me I was not allowed to leave my room, even to pee. I waited until he fell asleep and then I went to the kitchen to find some food for the baby.

When I woke up in the morning my face was swollen and one entire side of my face was black and bloody. My husband woke up feeling guilty about what he had done and he apologised. I told him I forgave him as I was afraid if I refused he’d beat me up again, but in my heart I said I would never forgive him.

When he went to work the landlord told me I should go to the police and the hospital. I was so afraid and didn’t know what to do because I thought if he found out he would kill me. I phoned and spoke to my brother and he found me another place to stay in the city.

The landlord told me that when my husband found me gone he stopped going to work, started drinking and had no money for food or rent. She kicked him out. He eventually went to my brother and was able to locate me after a few days and he then followed me.

I was in the street helping my friend to pretty people’s hair, she was a hairdresser. I saw him coming toward me; I was terrified and I was shaking thinking that maybe he was coming to beat me again. He started to smile and he told me that he just wanted to talk. My friends convinced me to speak to him even though I was scared.

He eventually left but said he would come back the following day. In the morning he showed up at my door and told me he was taking me back to his village. When I refused he got angry and grabbed my hand and forced me to call my brother to say I was leaving. I continued to refuse to leave and he told me I had wasted his money on our traditional wedding. He said I should give it back to him.

He told me he was going to kill me and then kill himself. I asked him what would happen to the baby. He said he didn’t care. He asked me for the keys so he could lock the door and kill me. I lied and said I didn’t have the keys as I slipped them into my bra. I told him that I threw them out the window and he went outside to look. At that point I managed to open the door and I ran but I was not able to run with the baby on my back so I fell and he caught me before I left the yard.

He grabbed my neck and twisted it and said “I will kill you!” A neighbour came out of the house and took my crying baby. Other people gathered around but he told them I was a prostitute who stole his money and he dragged me back into the house and beat me until I stopped breathing and then he ran away.

Apparently some neighbours came and took me away, I was unconscious. My brother eventually came and we went to the police. I was then hospitalised and they had to put four sticks across my face to hold it together because the cuts were so big. The police never found my husband. Soon after, I heard he died in a car accident.

Today I’m working and am happy and enjoying my life without fear. I know it is difficult to be a single parent but I’d rather be alone than living my life with fear and unhappiness.

This article is part of a special series on the 16 Days of Activism for the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service that offers fresh views on everyday news. For more information on the 16 Days Campaign go to


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