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  • My Marriage With an Abuser

    I grew up in a family rich in values, closely knit. My parents got divorced before I was born. They divorced because my father was a drug addict. I lived with my granny and mum and later on my mum moved on. I had a good childhood and turned out to be an independent successful woman.

    I met my husband when I went to my cousin's place in Johannesburg for the Easter holidays. He was my cousin's husband friend. Although I was reluctant to date him initially we ended up together and subsequently married. In the Hindu custom the guy must buy jewellery for the woman but he did not buy stating money as the excuse.

    It did not matter to me because I am not material person so my parents bought the jewellery for me. On the day of marriage my stepfather was not allowed to attend on the basis of race (he is white) by his family. They did not want my mom to perform our rituals. Out of respect I got married in his way. His family never welcomed me but instead they started picking on my surname, saying what kind of surname is it and also on my stepfather that he is white. I went back to my parents place and told my mother about the experience and she said it is too late. He made me pay for our honeymoon because he did not have money.

    We moved to our own flat. He would check the food and measuring how I have been eating. This went on for days until I asked him and he got angry. He kept on pressurising me to take my investment money but I refused and he would threaten to throw me from the 7th floor so that he could take it since we married in community of property. He also wanted to take my jewellery that my parents have bought for me. He said he would tell people that I had committed suicide. I took out all my money and gave it to him, but my jewellery that my parents bought I kept it. My parents did not want me to give him the money. He did not want me to work and told me a woman's place is at home. He is a man and I must do what he says.

    He used to physically abuse me, for example, twisting hand. It went on for some time until I got angry and said enough is enough and walked out and came to Durban. He followed me and apologised and said he will not will not do it again. I came back to Johannesburg again. I also learned that the mother had told him not to do anything for me – for example, buying clothes. He said I should just clean and cook for him and his child and then leave the house. So it was like that every weekend.

    We stayed in Johannesburg for a year as he was trying to do a business, he ended up leaving his job and life was tough for us. So we came to Durban where he got a job. He then had a girlfriend, started gambling, using a loan from the bank. I could not fall pregnant and we sought medical help but only found out that it was my mother-in-law who had caused it (bewitchment) after prayer I fell pregnant with a baby girl. When I told him it is a girl he said no it can never be a girl. At six months the doctor did a scan and confirmed it is a girl in his presence. This angered him and he made me sleep on the floor but I never told anyone because I knew they would not believe me because he is a pretender.

    This went on until I gave birth. I had a complication during delivery and I decided to save the baby first. I passed out during delivery and I missed out on her birth. I was anxious to know what actually happened and he said what type of a mother are you, you do not even know your own child - he said you are useless mother and I believed him and even blamed myself.

    He went back into gambling- coming late at night spending less time at home. I told him - I had enough- it is either you change or you leave and he left. He took the car- that my aunt had given to me.

    The child was two and half months; he went to court to file for divorce. And my attorney filed for maintenance, protection order and requested the car but won the case and he kept the car. (Though the car was stolen later). But he had to pay maintenance for me and the child and he came after a year and asked for forgiveness and said he will stop gambling and beating me up and I accepted him back. He only came back after the house was sold due to divorce. I took half of my money and paid all in accounts. When he came he had nothing and he got another job and opened up his business. Due to fraud he was taken to court and he lost the case and his job too and left with the business. He wanted to involve me but I said I do not like lies, he tried, to strangle me and had internal injuries. And the children witnessed. I never told anybody except my aunt.

    He was also cheating and doing pornography. The verbal abuse continued - he called me names like I am useless. He never allowed me to drive the car and I ended up being dependent on him. He would not allow me to go on the Internet to pay accounts; I ended up not doing anything even making a simple decision.

    Two years back: he wanted me dead. I took an overdose pills on a Saturday at 1h30, I tried to commit suicide. Though I was trying to hide it, my daughter saw and went to tell my husband and he said: “Don't worry she will sleep it out - and I will be free to do what I want.” The following day, a Sunday, he phoned my parents claiming he did not know what happened to me. When my parents came my daughter told them the truth. He was forced to take me to the hospital where I was put on the life support for four days. When I came out of hospital he said he was sad because I never died. That is when my mother was really angry with him.

    At that time I wanted to leave him but my mother said I should give him another chance. My mother had always treated him like her own son. After the overdose he pawned my jewellery for gambling. I was really angry and called the police.

    One day after picking the children from school, my daughter asked for a bubble gum and he refused and became violent on my daughter and I called the police and again I let him go because of the kids.

    Because we could not afford the bond we moved in with my parents under the condition that he stops gambling. Life was tough because he had lost the business.
    After be friending Dan things did not go well for him till he did not have anywhere to stay, so my parents gave him money to go back to Johannesburg and we left him at the station. He has been coming up for the court cases.

    It was a very long and tough road to recovery, with the support from my family I came out stronger. I can now do things for myself. I am independent again. I can drive my kids to school, wear what I want, I still feel betrayed especially after Dan's intrusion I feel disgusted about myself, so cheap like he is undressing me. I still cannot get closure; I am still battling until justice is achieved. In December 2012, I took him to equality court and he bribed them. And he won and made it my fault. As for my daughter she lost all faith- does not believe in police-she was traumatised (shaking). My son told my husband that I am going for karate because of you and after I will go for your friend

    This article forms part of the Gender Links News Service Sixteen Days of Activism special series, offering fresh views on everyday news.
    Gender Links
  • Call for Men to Fight Gender Violence

    According to the United Nations, one in three women will be beaten, raped or abused in her lifetime, translating to one billion women who are both directly and indirectly affected by gender violence.
    The gender-based violence (GBV) Indicators Study carried out by Gender Links in six countries of Southern Africa, show that the most predominant form of GBV experienced by women and perpetrated by men occurs within intimate partnerships.
    According to the study, men who were abused in childhood were more likely to be violent to their partners and were also more likely to have done so more than once.
    To read the article titled, “Africa: A call to men to fight gender violence,” click here.

    Times Live
  • Zozo’s Killer to Spend 30 Years in Prison

    Lekgoa Motleleng, a man accused of killing Duduzile Zozo, a lesbian from Thokoza, Johannesburg, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the South High Court in Johannesburg.

    Motleleng pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of Zozo, whose lifeless body was discovered in September 2013.

    Judge Tshifiwa Maumela is quoted as saying that: “No one has been given the right to correct alcoholics. No one has been given the right to correct those who take too much salt or sugar. No one has been given the right to correct others when it comes to the right to love their own gender… You can’t interfere with how someone chooses to live.”

    To read the article titled, “Duduzile Zozo killer sentenced to 30 years in prison,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • NGO Takes GBV Fight to Rural Areas

    The Eastern Cape Childline office and Masimanyane Women's Support Centre are taking their programmes to rural areas as part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

    The organisations will launch their programme at Nxarhuni village, Eastern Cape, an area which was chosen for the launch as it has experienced a number of violent crimes against women in the past six months.

    Senior Social Worker at Childline, Nondumiso Buyana explains that: “We've also realised as Childline in the province that mostly in the rural areas there’s not many people that are working there, mostly it will be Department of Social Development and we thought it’s best that we also form partnership and assist these communities because most people…”

    To read the article titled, “Childline takes gender crime fight to rural areas,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Forum Helps to Report More Hate Crimes

    The Hate Crimes Working Group says since the introduction of its monitoring forum, more cases of hate crimes are being reported.
    The forum, which is a comprehensive way of gathering information about victims of hate-related crime, is of the view that such crimes target people on the basis of their gender, religion or culture and often include violence such as rape.
    Yolanda Mitchell, says about 90 cases have been reported thus far, adding that, “It doesn’t seem like 90 cases is a lot, but considering that it comes from five sources at this point, there is a lot of potential for us to get more cases with this continued training and awareness raising."
    To read the article titled, “Monitoring forum helps report more hate crimes,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Call to Scale Up Fight Against GBV

    Zambia’s local government and housing minister, Emmanuel Chenda, believes there is a need for concerted family and community-based activities to supplement government efforts in combating early marriages, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence (GBV).
    Chenda is saddened by the increase in cases of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and GBV in that country.
    He states that, “This calls for us all to scale up efforts towards fighting early marriages, teenage pregnancies, GBV, alcohol and drug abuse through community and family-based activities,” adding that, “The fight against teenage pregnancies and early marriages would help mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS.”
    To read the article titled, “Govt bemoans rise in early marriages,” click here.


    Times of Zambia
  • Sexualised Violence in the National Debate

    Cross-Border Observations from India and South Africa

    In early 2013, two young women were brutally gang-raped and murdered in different parts of the world: Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old from India and 17-year-old Anene Booysen in South Africa. Both cases received uncharacteristic attention but what were the dynamics and specific factors and circumstances that propelled them into national and international prominence and can unpacking this influence the development of enhanced strategies to tackling endemic violence against women?

    “Sexualised Violence in the National Debate: Cross-border observations from India and South Africa” is a joint project between the South Africa and the India offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The project, which commenced in 2013, produced two comparative studies – one on South Africa co-authored by Joy Watson and Vivienne Lalu and the other on India authored by Urvashi Butalia. The studies analyse the political, media and community responses to the rape and murder of the two young girls in the context of perpetuating violence against women in both countries. The studies also assess to what extent the unprecedented attention to these two cases led to any tangible social transformation processes.

    What the comparative studies revealed is that although the cases were somewhat similar in nature, the social and political reactions to the rapes and murders of the young girls differed. In India the government’s response to the mass eruptions of social protest was to initially curtail it rather than to respond to what its citizens were calling for. In South Africa, while some marks of social protest were made across the country, it was politicians who took the centre stage. Almost as soon as news of Anene’s death hit the media, politicians descended onto the small town of Bredasdorp, using any opportunity as a forum for party politicking. Despite these initial problematic responses, some positive remedial measures did emerge. Although some concerns remain on the implementation of these measures what the responses to the rape and murders of these young girls proves is that the state can prioritise addressing violence against women particularly when media influence and/or just the right amount of public pressure is placed on it to do so. 

    There are however 'no quick-fix solutions' say the authors of the South Africa study, “strategic thought needs to be invested in the prevention of sexual violence. Otherwise, both private and public spaces will continue to be sites of potential danger for women and girls.”

    The studies can be downloaded by clicking on the above links. More media articles on this project can be found on the Heinrich Boell Foundation website.

    For more information or to request hard copies of the publication contact: Claudia Lopes, Tel: 021 461 6266, Email:

  • GBV Indicators Study for Western Cape

    The Gender Link’s Western Cape GBV Indicators Study provides the first comprehensive baseline data on violence against women in the province.

    The study shows that 39 percent of women have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime, and that the same proportion of men admit to perpetrating violence.

    It found that most of this violence takes place where all citizens should feel safest - in the home and in communities – and that the highest proportion of violence is the kind for which there is no category in police records - emotional, verbal and economic abuse.

    To read the article titled, “GBV Indicators Study - Western Cape Province, SA,” click here.

    All Africa
  • GBV Hinders Women’s Freedom - Chipatiso

    According to Linda Musariri Chipatiso, it seems incongruous that South Africans celebrate Women's Month, yet stories of conflict and gender-based violence (GBV) flood today's headlines.

    In her article titled ‘Gender Violence Still Hinders Women's Freedom’, Chipatiso argues that, “Whether it is the abduction of girls in Nigeria, the unending trial of Oscar Pistorius or the young woman raped and murdered last over the weekend because of her sexuality- the horrific immediacy of violence is all too apparent.”

    She states that the majority of cases go unreported, unnoticed and justice is not served, adding that it is also evident in conflict and post-conflict situations where rape is often used as a weapon of war.

    To read the article titled, “Gender Violence Still Hinders Women's Freedom,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Over 45 000 Women Raped in August

    At 12h25 on 20 August 2014, the number of rapes this month reached a staggering 45 402, according to Blow the Whistle.

    Blow the Whistle director, Mike Rowley, points out that, “In August 2014, statistically there’ll be a total of 74,400 rapes,” adding that, “Even though we fight this battle every day, August is the month we’ll make our biggest stand yet.”

    Blow the Whistle is an anti-rape initiative that works at empowering women and children by giving them their voices back. The initiative aims to give vulnerable women and children platforms to feel safe, by creating awareness of the crisis of rape in South Africa.

    To read the article titled, “More than 45000 South African women raped so far this month: Blow the Whistle,” click here.

    Times Live
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