Church and family aid and abet abusers
Women have little refuge as we seek to end violence
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.