Zimbabwe: My whole life is a mess

Date: October 10, 2019
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I lost my virginity at thirteen to a man who was aged nineteen in Mutare, Manicaland Province. He later became my first husband and had one child from that marriage. He was very abusive, a drunkard and would sleep out anytime. He would not tolerate being asked where he would have spent the night. He just said that a good and obedient wife should not ask where her husband would be. He lied that he would be hustling so that we would have enough for survival. When he came home drunk he would pee in bed and put the blame on drunkenness. My parents relocated to Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West Province. I stayed behind with my husband. 

A few months after my parents’ relocation my husband became uncontrollably abusive. He bluntly told me that there was no one to protect me. He blamed for having trapped him into marrying me. He even told me to find someone to remarry since he was already on the lookout for a suitable wife for himself. He would lock me outside our wooden cabin and go for days without returning home.  

He no longer bought any food stuffs for the family though he paid the bills. I would go round in the neighbourhood doing some laundry so that I bought some food items for the family. One day he said that he was free and needed time to spend with our child. It was a relief to me because I would job hunting without the burden of the child strapped on my back. He took our child to his relatives and I never saw the child again. I reported the case to the police but was brushed off because he had earlier reported that I had deserted the baby. He had told the police officers that he was taking the child to his mother and sister so that they took charge. The police officers even threatened to arrest me for baby dumping.   

At times he returned home very drunk and in the company of a girlfriend. He would introduce me to the lady by stating that I was the silly woman he was talking about. I cried and begged him for some money to follow my parents. He would tell me to look for a boyfriend to sponsor my trip. He said that I had go to my parents and not bother to return to him for he never loved me from the onset. 

Most of my neighbours felt pity with the way I was being treated. I had saved some money which was enough to take me to Harare. When I got Harare I was stuck and finally referred to the national broadcaster to air my concerns in case someone would assist me. I did not know where Chinhoyi was, how to get there and how much it even cost by public transport. Some well wishers made contributions and I finally left for Chinhoyi that day. The bus crew handed me over to police officers in Chinhoyi who then helped me track my parents.  

My mother had passed on and my father had remarried. My step mother had her own children and she also started ill-treating me. She usually lied to my father that that I was being arrogant and was sleeping around with married men. My father did not bother to verify the accusations but just reprimanded me for the lies. I fell in love with a single man in the neighbourhood and quickly eloped to him. I was running away from the accusations which were regularly being laid on me.  

I got into my second marriage at the age of twenty and my husband is eleven years my senior. This second marriage is even worse than the first one. He beats me, publicly humiliates me and is not supportive. He even insulted me for not being a legal citizen because I neither have a birth certificate nor a national identity document. He drinks beer nearly every day and even takes drugs such as marijuana. He publicly insults me saying that I bewitched him into marrying him and he is ready to divorce me. He boasts that he would never pay any bride price to my family because it would be wasting his resources. 

My second husband’s brother also beat me up during my husband’s presence. My husband did not intervene and seemed to enjoy it. I was advised by a friend to report his abuses and he was arrested. I was taken in by FACT Shelter and he has never paid me a visit.