Zimbabwe: I regret dropping out of school

Date: October 10, 2019
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When my parents died, I was taken in by my paternal grandmother and my uncle took care of my educational needs. I then dropped out of school and am currently staying in an abusive marriage. I was impregnated whilst still at school and my in-laws accepted me because I was only fifteen years by then. My uncle came several times to take me back home but I refused. He even took up the matter to the law enforcement agents but they did not take any action. My in-laws feared that their son, who is my husband, would be arrested for having a sexual relationship with a minor. Everyone in my husband’s family seemed very supportive of the marriage. 

At first I had a very good and stable relationship with all my in-laws as well as my husband. He would support me in every way possible. My uncle finally gave in to my staying at my in-laws place. When I gave birth to my child, my husband started dating other women in our community. He would come home late and give some flimsy excuses if I asked where he was. He was later in the habit of not answering my questions if I asked him where he was. He would appear as if he had suddenly turned deaf and dumb. At times he would just play with the baby ignoring my questions.  

When I reported his wayward actions to his sisters, my mother-in-law quickly came out to defend him. She accused me of having disturbed her son’s prospects of achieving his goals in life. My mother-in-law openly told me that she did not want me as her daughter-in-law as she expected her son to marry another girl. She even said that she had made the arrangement when my husband was still a young boy and I had dashed all her plans.  

I was later told by my husband’s sister that the said girl was having an intimate relationship with my husband. I approached her and reprimanded her from doing so but it backfired. My mother-in-law confronted me and told me to stop such childish behaviour of confronting her chosen daughter-in-law. To add insult to injury, my mother-in-law hinted that I needed a beating from my husband. It was no idle threat as I was physically assaulted by my husband that same day for confronting his girlfriend. He even insulted me that if I wanted to leave him I was free since he no longer loved me and he had set his eyes on someone else. He told me that he no longer had any future plans with me. 

I then attempted to commit suicide. I poured paraffin all over my body and lit myself. My husband’s sisters and other neighbours rushed to my rescue before it was too late. I later recovered in hospital and later returned home to face more abuse and ridicule. My husband even calls his girlfriend and makes appointments during my presence. He would immediately leave to meet her in a jovial mood and expect me to turn a blind eye.  

I have now resorted to buying and selling cobra. I go around the village and nearby schools selling the cobra I would have packed in small containers. I have managed to feed and clothe my child because my husband is no longer being responsible as he used to be.