Church and fam­ily aid and abet abusers

Women have lit­tle refuge as we seek to end vi­o­lence

Sowetan - - Opinion - By Lebo Keswa

The day Ma­paseka Ndlovu in­ter­viewed Babes Wo­dumo on Metro FM and openly spoke about her abuse, I knew that re­gard­less of what so­ci­ety might think of me, one day I will write this col­umn. When a friend in­vited me to Thai­land early this year I did not even blink an eye and im­me­di­ately agreed to go. I wanted to go with a group of friends. So I in­vited some friends who came with a lady I had met through a friend, a woman who was later in­volved in a sex scan­dal this year.

The lady was very soft­spo­ken and sweet, lit­tle did I know the trauma and roller coaster this “sweet” pack­age was wrapped in.

I ended up shar­ing a room with her, which gave us am­ple time to dis­cuss our lives. By the sec­ond night, after a few drinks, she broke down in the most unimag­in­able way and, for some­one I hardly knew, I did not know what to do and how to con­sole her. After much con­vinc­ing I got her to open up about the abuse she suf­fered at the hands of a fam­ily mem­ber as a child. Her mother nor­malised the abuse and made her keep it a se­cret, all in the name of sav­ing her mar­riage and keep­ing the fam­ily to­gether.

Not only did she go through this, she is now mar­ried to a man who got ter­ri­bly sick four years ago while they were liv­ing apart due to work rea­sons. Ly­ing on his death bed not want­ing to dis­close what he was dy­ing from, she Googled the med­i­ca­tion he was tak­ing and dis­cov­ered what was killing her hus­band.

This woman wept so badly and dis­closed that she had not had sex with her hus­band ever since he was bedrid­den as she could not get over the be­trayal of what he had done to her.

Her story made me re­alise the in­ten­sity of abuse in our fam­i­lies. I have since learnt that our very own fam­i­lies and the church play a very big role in the abuse that women suf­fer.

Many of our fam­i­lies and the church are the rea­son so many vic­tims of abuse are ly­ing in graves.

Upon ask­ing the woman why she’s sub­ject­ing her­self to so much pain and abuse, her re­sponse was that she was from a born-again Chris­tian fam­ily.

She said it would be a sin and un­ac­cept­able to her fam­ily for her to even bring up the word di­vorce.

She said that on her wed­ding day her fa­ther made it very clear to her that “Lebitla la mosadi ke bo­gadi”, mean­ing a woman should stay in her mar­riage, no mat­ter what.

Not only that, her fam­ily wor­shipped the hus­band as they be­lieved she mar­ried well com­pared to her sis­ters. At this stage what this woman didn’t dis­close is she was hid­ing a sex scan­dal with a man who would en­ter­tain her ev­ery night as she slept in sep­a­rate bed­rooms with the hus­band and in ex­change she would send him money.

As we were on hol­i­day she would se­cre­tively take these un­holy night calls and one of the nights she broke down and dis­closed ev­ery­thing. She was so ter­ri­fied that she was rais­ing money and ask­ing for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to pay the ex­tor­tion­ist to stop him from ex­pos­ing the video. After spend­ing al­most a month in a psy­chi­atric ward, with her con­trol­ling mother and fam­ily and a sick hus­band who still in­sisted she stay in the mar­riage . When she came out so­ci­ety was never the way she left it be­fore her sex scan­dal was ex­posed. Some friends turned their backs on her, one lit­er­ally walked past her in a mall, re­fused to ut­ter a word to her and was dis­gusted at the sight of see­ing her.

After all of this hap­pened to her, she went for a com­plete im­age change and dis­guised her short hair that she was ex­posed with in the sex scan­dal with dif­fer­ent types of fancy weaves and took a chance and went to a pop­u­lar fran­chise night­club all by her­self. She did not even last 10 min­utes in the club and the men were all over her de­mand­ing sex­ual favours and pic­tures.

I have never heard of so many lies and ma­nip­u­la­tion. As we cel­e­brate 16 Days of Ac­tivism it re­ally hit me hard that we are al­ways find­ing fault with things that are dis­tant when we should be look­ing at our­selves, our very own fam­i­lies and churches as that’s where the abuse starts.

Our very own moth­ers and fam­i­lies are selling their kids to their hus­bands to keep their mar­riages and are tak­ing their chil­dren to church to be obe­di­ent. They are prac­ti­cally killing their own chil­dren as they en­cour­age the cul­ture of dy­ing in si­lence.

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