Never too late to make wise choices about life

Date: November 21, 2012
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Written by *Candice

I (Candice) am a 23 year old woman who has experienced emotional, verbal and sexual abuse in the relationship I’ve been in since 2005. I had an organised and ordered life before I fell in love with a young man of 25 years old.

I learnt that the young man was a mechanic and a tattoo brander. I was attracted to his economic independence. My boyfriend also seemed to enjoy the fact that I agreed to be in a relationship with him. Peer-pressure and my poor background prompted this union. He promised that he would support me unconditionally. He promised me heaven and everything good. This assured me I had found a brilliant and focused permanent partner.

He was 25 years old when I was only 18. He had the habit of drinking and after getting drunk he would force me into having unprotected sex with him despite my advice on unprotected sex. He would sometimes call me degrading names when I tried to caution him on his behaviour. I remember one day when he wanted to have sex with me and when I refused he said: ‘…you poverty founded moron, don’t you know that I do as I please with you?’ I had a dysfunctional relationship, full of distress and bitterness. He seemed to enjoy my lamentations. By 2006 he had started drinking extra ordinarily. He demanded to make me a tattoo of his name, which meant we would never separate. Life did not have meaning to me, being verbally and sexually abused and now being inscribed an enemy’s name, it was hell.

One day I found I had a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The hospital gave me a partner track slip to give him. He responded angrily refusing to go to hospital. He took the track slip, tore it into small pieces and threw them at my face. He vowed to continue unprotected sex no matter what health practitioners said. I became a repeated STI patient at the clinic; making me socially insecure.

I devised a plan to end this relationship amicably to no avail. In April 2006, I went to see a social worker at Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC). I poured all my sorrows out to him in a counselling session. It took me only that day and I felt psychologically, spiritually and mentally relieved. He also gave me a number of alternatives and referrals to choose from. I told my boyfriend it was over. He threatened to beat me and to follow me everywhere. I reported the matter to the police, who reprimanded him and I was saved from the abuse. Since then I have decided to make wise choices about my life.

I feel NGOs should be supported to execute their duties aimed at ending gender violence by instilling human norms and positive living holistically. I would like to advise young people to associate with NGOs in their localities like I did with BNYC to gain knowledge that would enable them to shun GBV and other forms of abuse.”

*Not her real name.
This story is a personal account that is also used in The Gender Based Violence Indicators Study Botswana by Gender Links and Women’s Affairs Department, Botswana.



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