Share your story: 16 Days of Activism

This 16 Days of Activism against women and child abuse, I want to elevate the voices of my Chomas who’ve shared their stories of surviving abuse. These stories prove how important it is for us to speak out and build a community that supports survivors and doesn’t tolerate abuse. All of these real stories also show us the different forms which abuse can take.

Trigger warning: this article contains details of rape, GBV and sexual assault.

For the safety and privacy of my users, I haven’t disclosed any names.

“He forced me to have sex with him and when I said no, he locked me in the room.”

Later, he came back very angry started hitting me and told me I must give him back all the money he spent on me. When I tried to give it back, he changed and said I’m disrespecting him. He then locked the door the whole night, it was a disaster. I am glad I finally moved on.”

“He forced me to have sex with him without protection.”

I got pregnant, and he forced me to take an abortion pill. I bled so heavily that I couldn’t walk. He refused to take me to the clinic and just looked at me as I was in pain. Everyone thought we were a healthy couple, but I finally managed to leave the relationship and focus on my healing.”

“My abuser apologises with gifts.”

The last time I visited my boyfriend in Johannesburg he locked me in the bedroom several times, and later expected sex. He always apologised with gifts and said he doesn’t know what’s happening with him.”

“He controls my personal life” 

He wanted me to report my every move even if am visiting my mom. I decided to leave before things worse. I was told to delete my social media accounts. I wasn’t allowed to visit any friends.”

“He abused me on all levels”

I was in the worst abusive relationship. My partner would beat up my kids and would not help financially. When my salary came in, he expected me to give him more money. He was also cheating on me. But I thank God that I managed to get out of the relationship, blocked and deleted his numbers, I promised myself that I won’t ever go back to a place of abuse.”

The truth is, it may be hard identifying abuse or getting out of an abusive relationship. Love should never hurt, Choma, and no form of abuse should be tolerated. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s important to speak to someone you trust and reach out for help. Most importantly, know that it’s NEVER your fault. You can also reach out to me, as well as these organisations:

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) offers free 24-hour counselling. You can reach out to them on 0800 21 22 23 from 8am to 8pm or 0800 456 789.

POWA is a women’s rights organisation that provides shelter and counselling services to victims of gender-based violence (GBV); you can call them on 076 694  5911.

Childline is an organisation that works to protect children from child abuse. It’s a 24-hour, toll-free telephone counselling service for children and adults. Just dial 116 to call them or you can visit their Online Counselling chatrooms.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).