Living nightmare of lockdown with an abusive partner
Being stuck with her abuser under lockdown is a nightmare being lived by a young woman in Gauteng.
With no money, job, or parents to run to, she lives in a perpetual cycle of being in love with her partner one moment and being scared of him in the next.
"I'm afraid of losing myself," she tells me over WhatsApp in stilted messages about her situation. Although her identity is known to SowetanLIVE, she cannot be named for her own protection.
"The other day he pushed me and I fell badly," she says.
She sends me pictures of healing scabs on her elbow. She says he hits her on the face when he gets angry. "I haven't even told my siblings about this," she says.
The young mother is usually able to run back home to another province when she's had enough. But now she has has to stay in the same home as him 24/7 due to the national lockdown.
"Sometimes he'll accuse me of cheating on him and get violent, then I'll leave," she says.
But she eventually convinces herself that he will change when he shows her his softer side. "Sometimes he helps me with the housework or with the baby," she says.
This is not the first time she has been abused in a relationship. She tells me that at times she believes it's all she'll ever have.
The young woman is a university graduate who has been unable to find work. She cannot depend on her family because her siblings are poor and they are orphans.
She tells me that she only recently got back together with her boyfriend after he abandoned her while she was pregnant. "Each time he cheats on me or hurts me I'm convinced that I'll leave but I don't," she says.
Although cases of GBV (gender-based violence) did soar at the beginning of the lockdown, last week minister of police Bheki Cele said domestic violence cases had decreased compared to the same period in 2019.
“The national picture reflects a decrease by 69.4% from 9,990 cases between March 29 and April 22 last year to 3,061 since the lockdown until April 20 2020, meaning a difference of 6,929 [cases]," he said.
Women and children who need help during lockdown can contact organisations such as POWA on 076-694- 5911 for counselling or Childline on 0800-055555.
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