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In support of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children from 25 November (International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women), to 10 December (International Human Rights Day), loveLife is running a 16-on-16 Digital Campaign.
In line with its efforts to raise awareness of the negative impact of abuse and empower youth to tackle this scourge in our society, loveLife - South Africa’s largest HIV prevention programme for young people - is running a blog giving people the opportunity to share their stories, express their views and take a stand against abuse.
Well-known personalities such as Afro-Pop star Kelly Khumalo and online marketing guru Khaya Dlanga are also contributing to the blog, which is available on www.lovelife.org.za from Friday.
Stories will highlight that everyone has the right to control over their bodies and minds and that no one has the right to abuse them.
If you need help, you can contact loveLife’s Youth Line on 0800 121 900 and Plz Cal Me service on 083 323 1023, for free and confidential telephonic counselling.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
Here is Kelly Khumalo's story about her turbulent relationship with Molemo 'Jub Jub' Maarohanye, for the LoveLife campaign:
I always knew that I needed to leave Molemo but I was in love with him – and the fact that I was on drugs didn’t make it any easier, especially since he was the only one I could drug with.
The day came when we were both at the police station with the baby in the car. Things had got so hectic that we literally wanted to kill each other. We were both very abusive toward each other. I took my son to see him because I felt bad about him not being a part of his life. He started to get cozy with me; but, we were broken up and I refused. He got mad and, at that moment, a friend called me so I took it outside. When I returned, he grabbed me and started pushing me around and I defended myself. I ended up with a deep bite on my right jaw. You can still see the scar; they just Photoshop it out of pictures.
This abuse started two years into our relationship and I really did not see it coming. Molemo is such a sweet person – he is the sweetest person I know. So, at first, I didn’t want to believe that he was capable of it. As time went on, it was like he had a split personality. I become just like him because I had to defend myself.
The signs were always there, when I think about it. There were times when he didn’t want me to go to work. Then, he started dropping me off at work – I wasn’t allowed to drive. Eventually, he would wake up late so that I would be late for work. He said I was cheating on him with a colleague at Rhythm City, but I never did. I worked with my co-stars for three years and never developed feelings for any of them. He didn’t believe this and one day, he picked me up and gave me a hot klap.
I didn’t say anything. I just cried because I had an abusive father and couldn’t believe that my boyfriend was hitting me.
He apologized and I forgave him because I wanted to believe that he didn’t mean it. He hit me again a month later and eventually he would even start strangling me.
Disclosing to the country that I was being abused helped me a lot in walking away from Molemo. I knew that if I went back to him, I would be letting the whole country down. There were times when I did go back and felt so guilty because of this.
I know I made a good decision – for me and my son.
What kind of example would we be setting for him? Imagine if my son had to grow up watching his father beat me up! If this is the case, then it is not worth having him around my son. He needs to deal with things before he becomes a part of my son’s life again.
I learnt from all of this. I am a lot more aware of everything as far as relationships are concerned.
This relationship has not jaded me. It will not stop me from falling in love and having a beautiful life with my [future] partner.
I am dealing with the scares every day and one day, I will be ready.
Note: This is Kelly's version of events. It is untested information and therefore must be viewed as allegations. He is behind bars for an unrelated matter.
loveLife is South Africa’s HIV-prevention programme for young people. Since its inception by leading private funders and the South African government in 1999, loveLife has harnessed youth leadership to promote healthy lifestyles among South African teenagers. loveLife comprehensively addresses the complex behavioural, social, and structural drivers of risk tolerance among young people through combining a nationwide multimedia campaign with systems strengthening, community-level outreach, and clinical and psychosocial services.
loveLife programmes are led by 18- to 25 year-old groundBREAKERS and mpintshis who work in more than 8,000 schools nationwide from almost 900 bases in loveLife Y-Centres, youth-friendly clinics, social franchises, and other loveLife outlets.
In 2012, major funding for loveLife is provided by the National Department of Health, the National Department of Social Development, and Sports and Recreation South Africa. loveLife also receives generous support from the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, Berco, the D.G. Murray Trust, Dewey & Le Boeuf, FIFA Football for Hope, Gauteng Department of Social Development, Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Independent Newspapers, Mpumalanga Department of Social Development, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Newsclip, North West Department of Social Development, Royal Bafokeng Nation, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Ster Kinekor, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Volkswagen South Africa.