Zimbabwe: Lack of financial empowerment exposed me to abuse

Date: October 10, 2019
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My name is Tarvy* I am a woman aged 41. I originated from Masvingo in Zimuto area. As a child I grew up with my parents. I did my ordinary level in the same area and I passed three subjects. After completing my ordinary level studies I stayed at home for some few months. 

In 1995 I moved to Norton to stay with my aunt. We stayed together until 1997. I fell in love with the man who later married me. At the onset our marriage was so good and we were staying with my mother-in-law. 

The problem started when my mother-in-law started abusing me for the failure to fall pregnant. She was in the mood of insulting me saying all sorts of bad things. She was very good at torturing me with words and my offence was that I had failed to give her grand-daughters. I regretted ever getting married and I started hating marriage. The situation took a new twist, I fell pregnant after 6 months but I had already lost hope.  

I later gave birth to a boy child. I am now a mother of two, a boy and a girl. The abused stopped at that time and we started living happily. I then made a decision to move to our own place because I needed independence. I realised that if we continue staying with my mother-in-law there will be always conflict. We found a place to rent and everything was flowing smoothly because I was now employed and earning an income.  

I was retrenched from work and life became very tough. We failed to pay rentals and we moved back to my mother-in-law’s place. The abuse continued because I had no source of income and I was not giving her anything. My husband’s salary is not enough. I do not have any business or involved in any income generating project. I tried vending but all the capital was used at home and the business collapsed.  

These days i find comfort at church where I always listen to comforting words from the bible that gives me hope. I really want to work with my own hands and develop my life. I realised that if I spend time not at home all will be well so if I get a job everything will be fine. 

Another issue that once troubled me is that my husband was restricting me from talking to men. I was once beaten when I was greeted by a male neighbour. I was living like a prisoner but I thank God that the situation has changed. The situation is now better but the only challenge is where I stay, there is no peace.