Zimbabwe: Abused, dumped and raped

Date: October 10, 2019
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I did not go far with education and got married early at the age of fifteen. Mike* who was my first husband worked as a gardener in Harare. His employers trusted him because he of his honesty and hard work. They bought us a four roomed house in the Harare’s dormitory suburb of Chitungwiza.  Our two children went to school there and we lived happily as a couple. Mike* started dating other women and everything changed in the family. He would lie that he would be sleeping over at work yet he was with other women in the neighbourhood.  

He would beat me up for the slightest misunderstanding. I had to seek medical attention on several occasions after being beaten up by Mike*. He denied me access to own a mobile phone saying I wanted to report him to my relatives. I would only have a telephone dialogue with my relatives during his presence and using his mobile phone. He no longer paid for our children’s needs and food became scarce in the home. One day I found some money that he had hidden in the house yet he was saying that he had no money. I quickly packed and left with the children to my parents in Kadoma. 

My father got me employment in Kadoma and I managed to look after my two sons. The year that my parents died was the same year that I lost my job. I later remarried but lost my husband in a road traffic accident after we had had no children. His relatives then came and took away everything including some assets that I had personally bought. They said that since we had no children I had no right over their relative’s belongings. They alleged that I had nothing hence they took possession of everything including my own electric stove. 

I later got employed by a mine boss to work as house maid. He stayed with his family and his HIV positive cousin brother, Joseph*, whom I was to take care of. Things went on smoothly and I did my duties well of nursing Joseph*. I initially had to sweet talk Joseph* to eat but he eventually took his meals and medications without any hassle. When my employer’s wife realised the sterling job I was doing she agreed with her husband to give me a pay rise. I doubled my efforts on my performances because I did not expect that. 

One day I received a telephone call from a stranger who told me to go to Chitungwiza and collect my belongings I had left there since Mike* had sold the house. I was given leave by my employers and I had to sell some of my belongings and discarded the rest because of their state. I got nothing from the sale of house because I could not even locate Mike*. I returned to Kadoma heartbroken and resumed my duties as a house maid. 

By the time Joseph* recovered we were very close but I treated him as my boss. One day we were alone at the house when he summoned me and I obediently went into the room. He instantly closed and locked the door then pushed me onto his bed. He tore my undergarments raped me once. I was not using any contraceptives because I longer entertained any idea of having sex with any man. I had resolved to look after my children. He wanted to repeat the same act but he bolted out of the room when I bit him on his left shoulder and screamed. My boss came and I narrated what had happened. Joseph* was nowhere to be found. I reported the matter to the police and was tested for the HIV virus. I got retested after three months and was found to be both pregnant and HIV positive. My pregnancy was terminated after the court of law had granted the permission. I am still working for the same family and they have taken the responsibility of paying for my children’s school needs. Joseph* is still on the run and am now on medication for the virus he infected me with.