South Africa: I feel at peace now

Date: December 3, 2013
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Limpopo, 4 December: On 14 August 2012, I was sitting at home with my child watching TV. Thabo got a message on his phone and excused himself. After some time, I went out to buy airtime at the spaza shop where I found Thabo talking to a woman. I asked Thabo what he was doing there so late at night. He said I was not supposed to ask him questions and he would beat me up for enquiring. I was stunned.

When he came back home, he started shouting. He took his phone out and showed me that he had made that woman pregnant and he wanted to marry her. I grabbed the phone and broke it, so he did the same to mine. He told me I should leave the house and leave his child, but I told him I would never leave my child behind. He shouted, “I didn’t even marry you – there’s another woman I want to marry.”

I left and went to his sister’s house. She advised me to call the police. The police took me to a hospital’s trauma centre where I spent the night. The centre arranged for me to be taken to my father’s house and advised me to apply for protection order against him. I applied for the protection order and asked them for help to collect my belongings from his house.

My aunt agreed to pay for all the transportation cost incurred in the collection of my belongings. She also advised me never to go back to him because he might end up killing me. She told me to go back to school because marriage would not give me anything. I later applied for a child grant.

I feel at peace now that we are separated. I have learnt a lot and I would not get into that kind of relationship again. He did not want me to work or have friends. I had lost weight because I wasn’t eating properly. I sometimes feel scared that he might come and find me. On occasion, I have even contemplated suicide.

I am now staying at my home with my grandmother. I got support from my family, friends and a trauma counsellor. The I-stories support group has also helped because other women talk about their experience and I have now realised that I am not the only one. Now my soul is at peace.
Not her real name*

Thandi lives in the Limpopo province. This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links News Service as part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender violence, encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.



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