Sexual assault, domestic violence, and common assault, were among the most common crimes reported at police stations on the Cape Flats so far this year.
About 40 cases of domestic violence were reported at Lansdowne police station since January and seven cases of rape, with the youngest victim being 13 years old, said Lansdowne police spokesman, Sergeant Nkululeko Mnyaka.
In Manenberg, police spokesman Captain Ian Bennett, said sexual assault, especially against teenagers, was of concern and that many of the perpetrators were family members or friends of the victims.
A woman who can attest to the impact of domestic violence, spoke to Athlone News on condition of anonymity.
She was verbally, financially, and emotionally abused by her husband for 32 years, with her problems having started six months after she got married in 1986, when her husband had an affair.
She said that he blamed his friends, and that is when the emotional and verbal abuse started, with her husband insulting her and referring to her as “rubbish”.
“He would tell me I am fat and I am not worthy of any man, only to look after his children. He would drink so much, sometimes 12 beers and two bottles of whiskey. He would force me to do things to him in the bedroom and I refused because I am woman of God,” she said.
The 56-year-old said she hid the pain away from her family and stayed in the marriage because she didn’t want her children to lose their father. She said the years of abuse had had a particularly detrimental effect on her son. It was in October 2016 that she decided she had had enough and filed for divorce. Due to financial troubles, however, the divorce proceedings were prolonged and in June last year he physically assaulted her.
“One day he got angry and he hit me and I fell over a chair. Soon after that he begged me to take him back and told me that he was a son of God and he had changed and I took him back — I had a comfortable life.
“That was just a pretence. He took me on drives to all the places where he had sex with other women and I pretended to be okay with it,” she said.
The two then went for marriage counselling but the emotional and verbal abuse continued. “I continued to stay because I thought that emotional and verbal abuse were okay.
“I never had wounds on the outside but I was bleeding on the inside. I realised that I needed a support group to get me through it and so I started counselling at Mosaic in Wynberg and the Saartjie Baartman Centre,” she said.
Now, she is still going through divorce proceedings, but wants to start a support group called Broken Arrow through which she wants to provide women with support.
“Sometimes you want to be loved so badly that you forget what love is and stay because you are afraid to get out there and start a new beginning. You don’t want to become a statistic and be tagged as a divorced woman. My family is very close and no one ever got divorced so I thought how could I leave my marriage,” she said.
Her advice to other women is that it is better to be alone than to remain in an abusive relationship.
“Being alone may scare you but being in an abusive relationship will scar you. I have healed so much I don’t know if I still love him but I definitely don’t want him back,” she added.
To join the support group, call 066 231 8726.