When a policeman turns abuser

Date: January 1, 1970
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As I write this story, I am living in a shelter. In September 2006, I met my partner who is a police officer. By October, I thought I was in love with him, but there were problems and we separated. I found out I was pregnant and told him. He begged me to come back to him. I decided to go back to him in January 2007 even though I realised I didn’t love him anymore. In the beginning, it was good

When I was four months pregnant, he started to hit me. I was always unhappy and he said that I was being silly and that he would not pay lobola. He slapped me on my face he and poured water all over me.  I left him in the house and ran away.
After a few minutes, he phoned me and apologised and then I accepted his apology. Things were good again. I gave birth to my beautiful child in July 2007. Just a month later, he became physically abusive again. He was always unhappy and I kept apologising even though I had not done anything wrong. He would go out without saying where he was going.  I would wonder where he had gone. When we slept in the same bed, he wouldn’t even want to touch me. He slept with his clothes on and his phone was always ringing at night.
On the 21 September 2007, he came back from work at 19h00. He usually comes back at 16h00. He took a bath, took his father’s car and went out. He came back at one o’ clock in the morning. I confronted him and asked him as to where he had been. He just kept quiet and ignored me; he took his earphones and put them in his ears. I took those earphones and threw them away because I was very cross. He ignored me. I decided that it was best for me to sleep because he was treating me like a fool. I was sleeping when he slapped me then punched me. My baby was next to me at the time.
He went to his safe took out his gun and went outside he then shot in the air. He came back inside, pointed the firearm at my nose, and told me to smell the smoke that came out of the gun. He told me that he was going to shoot the baby and me and then pointed the gun at the baby.
The next day he apologised. I did not accept it but pretended that I had accepted his apology. I did not love him anymore. I told his mother what had happened. She told me I was being cruel and that I was telling lies about her son. She also said that I am Xhosa, I should go back to my parents house because I don’t have respect for her son who is Zulu. She said her son chased me away because she didn’t like me because I was thin, I was skin and bones. She also said that she can see that I didn’t love her son, I only loved his money.
I remember one day I was talking to my brother who is in jail. My heart was very sore and I cried. My partner came in and asked why I was crying, I told him the whole story. He said that he cannot be with someone who is having family problems. He said it is better that I go back to my family. He then went out and told his mother and his mother agreed with him.
On the 24 September 2007, we returned from the shops and he wanted to have sex.  I asked him if he was sleeping around because I needed to know his HIV status. He hit me again. That night he told me to go back to my parent’s house because I had another man. I did not answer him because I knew that he was going to hit me if I answered him. He then said I am making a fool of him by not answering him. He started hitting me on the bed and the baby was there too.
I saw that the baby was going to get hurt I decided to sleep on the floor. He kept on talking and I told him that it was best that he goes and sleeps with his younger brother. He really went out when I got up to close the door. He punched me on my mouth, I fell down, and he kept hitting me. He then handcuffed me, my nose and lips were bleeding.
His mother came and asked what was going on I could not answer her. She blamed me. His sisters told him to take the handcuffs off. When they were not concentrating on me, I tried to escape and ran to the police station. He ran after me and found me on my way to the police station. He kicked me to my feet and I fell down. His younger brother was present and he did not help me.
He sent his younger brother back to the house to fetch the handcuffs. He then handcuffed me again and continued hitting me. Security guards who patrol at night asked what was going on he told them that I was mad. He said that they must hold me because I would be hit by oncoming traffic.
His father came with the car, put me in the car and drove back to the house. He unlocked the handcuffs after we arrived in the house. I escaped again and got a lift from someone who said he is an off duty traffic officer. He stopped a police van from Meadowlands Police Station to take me to their police station where my boyfriend works. He told me I could not open a case against him and when he comes out of jail he would come back to kill me. The police phoned an ambulance that took me to Baragwanath Hospital where they treated me and referred me to a social worker and the social worker referred me to NISAA.
I had to leave without my daughter. NISAA helped me go to court and get my baby back. When I left, I was breastfeeding. When I got my baby back I could no longer breastfeed her.
The sad part is that I am unemployed. I have a three-month-old baby and he made me leave my job. I am looking for a job because I owe the bank money. I borrowed money to bury my brother who died October 2006. The good part is that I am out of that relationship and I have my daughter with me.
*not her real name
This story is part of the I Stories series produced by the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service for the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence

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