Over the weekend, a 27-year-old woman from Glenwood was hit and strangled by her partner who also attempted to throw her off the building in full view of her neighbours. Nosipho Ngubo* spoke to The Daily Vox about the incident and the continuous abuse from her partner, who she says abuses her almost everyday.
This was one of too many incidents that I encounter almost daily. I met him back in 2008. I had just arrived in Durban after my grandmother’s passing, the only person I ever knew in my life. I was a sex worker when we met and my life wasn’t stable but I was doing what I could to survive. After being introduced to him by some of my friends who I was working the streets with, he asked me to move in with him.
I was 17-years-old and without proper shelter or family. I was sharing a tiny apartment with my friends and life wasn’t easy since I had moved from Bhamshela area, where my grandmother and I used to rent a backroom house. Before my grandmother died, I had run away from my stepfather’s family where I was being abused. After my mother died while I was nine-years-old, I was left with my aunties who were my stepfather’s sisters. They used to beat me up so hard that I always wanted to run away. At that time I didn’t know that I didn’t belong to that family, until my grandmother came to get me after she heard about the kind of abuse I endured.
When she was sick and about to die she told me the truth about that family. I was shattered because I realised that the continuous abuse was intentional. Each time my aunties came looking for me at my grandmother’s I’d be terrified and hide under the bed. My grandmother eventually died and I was left all alone. I had to move out of the back room as I couldn’t pay rent. That’s when I moved to Durban.
I thought my life was changing for the better until 2008 when I met my partner. He had promised to take care of me after learning about my background but he ended up using it against me. In 2013 I fell pregnant and gave birth to our daughter, I was happy thinking that he was going to change now that we had a baby. I was being naive, the abuse worsened.
He would fight with me over silly things. I was in and out of hospitals because of broken limbs and ribs. He would apologise and life would go on. I had no choice but to forgive him because I’m dependent on him. Sometimes he would grab me by my throat and smash me against the wall. It went on until my daughter was able to understand what was going on. One day he beat me up until I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in, he took a knife and told our daughter he would slaughter me if I didn’t get out of the bathroom. She cried and told him to put the knife away.
I’ve gotten so used to the abuse that it doesn’t hurt or scare me anymore. It has become a part of my life but what’s worrying me is the fact that it’s started affecting my daughter. I was once called in at school by her teacher because she had told other kids that we fight and her father would smash me against the wall and tell me not to cry. She had also told them about the knife incident.
I’m worried that this might affect her psychologically. She is too young to be experiencing this and my fear is that someday she will witness something worse. I know that this man will kill me one day but I just don’t know what to do. This year alone many women have died at the hands of people who claim to love them and I will be one of them one day. I wish to change my life but I don’t know how. I have no family or relatives and I don’t even have matric to look for a job. I’ve even tried to commit suicide countless times.
If you are in need of help use these organisations to find shelter:
*Not her real name
This interview has been edited from clarity and brevity.