WOMAN SPEAKS OF BURN HORROR
KOMANI resident Theresa Hoogstander stands proud despite her heavily scarred legs, which bear testimony to a horror assault by her former husband.
Hoogstander, 54, of Victoria Park, said she would never forget her late husband or his abuse.
They were married in 1995 and lived in Kliptown near Johannesburg while waiting for an RDP house. She used to work night shifts, which made her husband jealous.
“One night we were having a quarrel and I asked him to switch on the flame stove so that I could cook supper.”
She said he pushed her on to the burning stove, resulting in her nylon dress catching alight.
As she screamed, she said he poured water on her burnt legs and waist.
“He carried me to the room and I asked him to give me one of the new blankets, I just wanted to be in utter darkness and wait for my death. I prayed and said, “Oh God, I don't know if I will make it tonight, only you know.”
She asked him to call an ambulance and he left, only to return to tell her that his call had gone to voicemail. He then allegedly went to a tavern.
“He said he went back to try again and got voicemail again, but I know he lied, he went to get drunk and patiently waited for me to die.”
In the morning, he disappeared and did not return. She heard boys playing outside and called them to help her.
The boys called an ambulance and when the paramedics arrived at her house, they couldn’t believe she was still alive.
She spent a year in the Chris Hani Baragwanath burns unit with third-degree burns, some of the time in a coma, and suffered a stroke.
“I saw a muscular man with black pants, a white T-shirt and golden hair who touched me and I could open my eyes. He was an angel from God.”
She underwent several skin grafts, and thanked the doctors and God for saving her life.
Hoogstander's mother, Nellie Ferreira, said she had been devastated about what had happened to her daughter. Her brother, Pedro Ferreira, said he was pleased that she was well again.
Hoogstander, whose husband died a year after her assault, said she pitied any man who abused women.
She urged women in abusive relationships to get out of the relationship and pray for the man.
BURNT BUT NOT DESTROYED: Komani resident Theresa Hoogstander bravely shows the third-degree burns that stretch from her waist to her toes caused by her late husband
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