Zimbabwe: A victim of wrong religious beliefs

Date: October 10, 2019
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I am a secondary school drop-out who initially thought that getting married might be a solution to poverty. My husband, Mhukahuru*, neither drinks any alcoholic stuff nor smokes. He used to be a very loving and caring husband. He no longer buys food for the family like he used to. He now buys food items in very small quantities as if he is buying for one person’s meal. He expects me to fend for the family’s needs like groceries and paying school fees for the children but does not allow me to leave the homestead.

Mhukahuru* only prays for women congregants in the church. This has led him to have extra marital affairs and abandon all his roles as a responsible husband and father. Mhukahuru* attends the apostolic church services. He likens himself to a bull which has to leave its mark by having lots of off-springs during its lifetime. He justifies this by having lots of girlfriends and they will amongst the church congregants. Most of them are widows and he justifies the relationship with them as just prayer sessions. He confidently defends himself by stating that they also need a shoulder to cry on. He would then go around sourcing for foodstuffs for them and even paying for their bills and children’s school fees yet he does not do so for his own.

He is even reluctant to have his children have birth certificates citing his busy schedule. Upon pressurising him to have our children have identity documents as their constitutional rights he cited his religious beliefs as not permitting to do so. Our two children have not been admitted at government school because they do not have birth certificates. Some of my friends have advised me to have them registered in my name but I believe that Mhukahuru* should just take responsibility for his children. In my community, I am now known as the woman who goes around looking for piece works to put food on the table in her home. Some widows are even better off than me.

Mhukahuru* insists that we should have lots of children yet he does not want to be responsible for the welfare. Of late, Mhukahuru* has developed the attitude of beating me up whenever I ask for something. He even gets cross if any one of our children asks for something from him. My husband does not care about paying for rentals and bills. He then vents his anger and frustration physically on me. He can use a belt, booted feet, claps or head buts when assaulting me.

Mhukahuru* is often on sexually transmitted infections medications as can be evidenced by the tablets I often find in his pockets. He denies that he is the one having the medication but they will be for some colleagues. My fear is that he may infect me with deadly HIV/AIDS virus thus I am now denying him his conjugal right. I would insist that we use protection like condoms but he would not allow that and I end up being beaten. He does not want to go with me for HIV/AIDS testing. He claims that he goes for testing with everyone he would want to have sex with. He at times having telephone calls with some of his girlfriends during my presence.

I sought advice from relatives and was told to go Msasa Shelter for protection from my abusive husband. I am now waiting to appear in court so that he is forced to take responsibility for his family’s needs. He is also supposed to have his children acquire birth certificates so that they attend school like others their age.