A woman’s grave is with her parents-in-law.
“The boy on the phone had exactly the same name as my husband, with ‘junior’ at the end.”
He spent more and more nights away from home. He didn’t want me to work, said I didn’t need to. My job was to be at home with the children. After a while I managed to pass my driving test but he has never allowed me to drive. Now I understand that he wanted to keep me at home, and that I should be completely dependent on him.
A year ago I became convinced he was leading a double life. He was away so many nights, and he was always angry when I asked him what he had been doing. I wasn’t allowed to answer his mobile phone.
One evening he came home drunk. When he had gone to sleep I checked his mobile phone and wrote down the numbers he called most frequently. A small boy answered the phone. When I asked him what his name was, he answered with my husband’s name. He had exactly the same name as my husband, with ‘junior’ at the end. I felt as though I’d been stabbed. I asked the boy some more questions about what his father was called, what his father did, where the boy lived, if his father spent most of his time with them, what his mother was called ...
I’ve taken off my wedding ring and filed for divorce, but he doesn’t know that yet.
I checked up on the boy’s answers and everything fitted – my husband is registered as his father. His other family lives in the slums. I’ve never been there. I’ve rung and spoken to the boy’s mother but she just shouts at me and calls me bad names. She says I should let my husband go because I don’t understand him. I’m quite happy to do that, I don’t want to be married to him any longer, but I’ve no intention of moving. The house is in both our names. I can’t apply for a full-time job because I have to look after my mother who’s had a stroke. She’s 95.
I’ve taken off my wedding ring and filed for divorce, but he doesn’t know that yet. I’ve also reported him to the police for assault. The police are very helpful, but everything else takes such a long time.
When I ask him about the other family, he refuses to answer. “I’ve got nothing to say.” I’m going to demand compensation for the fact that he’s been living a double life.
Maternal deaths: 58 deaths per l00,000 births
Number of children/woman: 2.18
Abortion legislation: Abortion is not legal. It is only allowed if the woman’s life is at risk or if she has been the victim of rape or incest.
Law against rape within marriage: Yes
Violence against women in close relationships: 41,532 women were murdered in the years 1997-2007. That implies 10 women every day. The majority were murdered by men they knew. In the first six months of 2010 over 40,000 incidents of violence against women were reported.
Saying, South Africa