“I remember my wedding day as clearly as if it were today. It was the happiest day of my life,” says Lindiwe, a victim of gender-based violence.
She and her husband Tebogo got married in 2010. Her husband paid lobolo in full and he owed Lindiwe’s parents nothing. Straight after their white wedding they had gone to Tebogo’s rural home in Lesotho and performed a traditional wedding. The new bride was welcomed into the family. After the wedding ceremony they went back to their townhouse in Boksburg.
“I was lucky to have met my husband a university graduate when l only went as far as matric. I worshiped the soil be walked on. More than anything l was determined to be the best wife l could be”
The problem started when Lindiwe got pregnant with their fourth child in 2016.
“My husband had said he did not want us to have many children. But to me it made no sense because as a woman it was my duty to bear children.”
Although Tebogo accepted their son he began to change. Lindiwe was convinced he was cheating. He began to claim that he was working late and sometimes he would say he was working during weekends. Lindiwe decided to go to his workplace one weekend to find out if indeed he had been working. That is when the problems began. Lindiwe found out that her husband had never worked on weekends. When she confronted him later at home, he accused her of embarrassing him and beat her not caring that she was pregnant.
“He insulted me for being uneducated. He said instead of furthering my studies l was busy having children.”
After the incident Tebogo changed completely. He would spend days away from home sometimes he would come late at night. If his wife dared ask, he would beat her up.
“He said l had no right to ask him and that l should know my place.”
Insults and beatings are Lindiwe’s daily bread. She will not leave him because he is her everything. Her friends told her to leave her husband or report him to the police, but she will stay for the sake of the children. They told her that if this continued, he would kill her one day. But she chooses to suffer silently.
“My parents do not even know the situation. They think my marriage is a happy one but that is not the case.”
Despite his husband’s callousness Lindiwe went on to have her fifth child. She never saw him much during the pregnancy.
“The good thing is that he pays the bills. I have stopped caring about his cheating or the way he beats me up.”
For that Lindiwe chooses to stay and endure for the sake of her children.
“Yes, l am determined to stay in the marriage for the sake of my children.”