South Africa: No way out

Date: November 26, 2013
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Limpopo, 26 November: I started dating Andries in 2009, while he was still dating another woman. I became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. His parents were not interested in getting to know me or discussing marriage with my relatives.

Andries would force me to prepare food for him when he came home drunk. I did whatever he said. I didn’t know what to do because I loved him and did not have anywhere else to go. If he found me sitting doing nothing, he would shout at me. His family thought it was funny and his mother would encourage me to persevere through the abuse.

He beat me with an iron rod when he found out that his other girlfriend was dating his friend. He beat me several times with the iron rod. My body would swell and my skin would be blue. I decided to run away, so I left my son with Andries because I could not run carrying him. My grandmother told me not to get Andries arrested because he was the father of my children. I returned home, back to more abuse. I really regret giving birth to his children.

He came back one evening demanding that I make food for him. He accused me of being lazy. He threw the pap at me and demanded that I sleep with him. I ran and hid in the toilet outside. The baby cried and when I wanted to get inside the house, I found that he had locked me outside.

When he opened the door, he came out holding a broomstick and chased me. I decided to run to the police station. I was wearing nothing but my underwear. The police gave me clothes to cover myself and took me back home.

Later they took my children and I to a nearby trauma centre, where I filed a case against him. However, I did not proceed with the prosecution because he was the father of my children. When I got back home, Andries blamed the abuse on alcohol, said he was sorry and asked for forgiveness.

We are still staying together. He wanted me to stay because he did not want his children to suffer and he wanted to build a good future for them. But Andries enjoys abusing women. He threatened to kill me when I asked for a divorce. I am afraid of sharing a bed with him. I cannot eat and I cry when I remember what he did to me.

I still see him as a threat to my children and I. I think I’ve stayed because I have no family and no one to support us. I have no way out.

*Not her real name

Honesty lives in Limpopo. 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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