Zimbabwe: Abandoned by our mother and later abused in marriage

Date: October 10, 2019
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My name is Mamoyo* I was born to a family of two and my parents separated when I was eight years old. The situation exposed me to abuse and created a bad foundation for my life. 

I started living with my younger sister and my father after my mother had left. The reason why mother left was because my father lost his job. My mother said that she will not continue living with a jobless man so she left. The burden of running the house was left on my shoulders. I was left to take care of my younger sister and my father. 

I failed to go to school because I was supposed to be at home taking care of my sister. My father took up drinking as a way to fight stress and it worsened our situation. He was always drunk and most of the times he would not come back home. We used to spend the night alone and the door would not be closed because we were too young to remember to close the door before we sleep. Our security was not guaranteed but our father was not concerned. 

Seeing other children going to school was a painful experience but there is nothing I could have done and I accepted my fate. We were living close to our grandparents but they used to make us work very hard before they give us food. We were very young and sometimes we were eating improperly cooked food because we were not able to cook well.  

I moved from home and started working as a house maid while taking care of my young sister whom I had left home. I started working at 14 for us to survive. My father later remarried and our stepmother was so loving and caring. 

I got married at 17 to Beta*. My husband was so caring and we were living happily until I got pregnant. He sent me to his rural home to stay with his parents. He never visited me since the day I left and he never sent money for my upkeep. I stayed at our rural home for six years and I was not allowed to visit him. I heard that he was now having girlfriends but there is nothing I could have done to stop him. He later married another wife and notified his parents. 

My in-laws ill-treated me and their intention was to make me leave so that I will pave way for the new wife. I endured the abuse and I vowed never to leave the place I called home. The situation got tough because the family was now too big and my husband was failing to provide. The second wife gave up and left but the situation remained the same.  

I have three children who are still at the school going age. I am failing to pay school fees because my husband is no longer working.