The Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) Gender-Based Violence (GBV) management course proved to be a success in the community of Bayview, Durban.
The Ubuntu community workers were impressed with the amount of information that became available to help them to do their jobs better.
Bayview is a community where drug trafficking and substance abuse has caused a moral decay among many members of the area. People in this community struggle to access basic needs such as shelter, proper health care and education services, and GBV has taken over the community because people have been scared to neither talk nor report it. But lately; the women, men and children of this community have heard enough and they are been vocal about the abuse.
During the GBV Management training, FPD head of clinical and educational training, Amor Gerber realised that the community workers needed counselling because they were emotional and very heated during the speak out session. “We can’t expect the Ubuntu community workers to help and deal with other people’s issues if they have not resolved their own issues, if they are still angry and they haven’t moved on,” said Amor Gerber.
At the time of the speak out session, the Ubuntu community workers opened old wounds and shared their experiences, the following are some of their stories:
Crystal: When I was a little girl my mother was always abused by my father because he was a drug addict. I used to always want to protect my mother from being beaten but my father was too powerful. My mother was the silent type but I couldn’t be silent, I had to get out there and tell whoever would listen to me but no one believed me because I was child. My father had the society fooled to believe that he was a Good Samaritan and we were liars. My mother was a proud Indian woman who was ashamed of moving back to her family and telling them what she was going through.
“People always judge a victim for staying with an abuser, many people stay because that might be the only way keeping their children safe.” - Survivor
Sweetie: My ex-husband used to abuse me and our children, he used to lock the doors and the gates then he would start hitting us with anything he could reach. The police would come and say that they don’t get involved in domestic issues and that there is nothing they can do and they would just leave. As soon as they leave it would happen again, it was an ongoing thing and there were times where my children would hide under the tables and behind the room divider due to the violence. He used to choke us and poke us; he once cracked my head on the floor.
“Nobody knew what was going on in our house. I never screamed. I never told anybody. If the neighbours had to hear, I knew I would be pushed even more.” – Survivor
Mariam: On my wedding day a lot of people told me that; “you are going into a new life, you need to endure”, when they told me to endure, I didn’t understand what they were referring to, until the day it started happening. I had a daughter outside of my marriage and unfortunately in this marriage I couldn’t conceive so I was being raped but I was not aware of it. I told myself that it was ordinary because we needed a child. I don’t worry about myself anymore, I worry about my children.
Gayle: When I was 3 years old I was raped. He grabbed me and threw me on the bed. I was asthmatic and he stuffed a sock into my mouth and covered my face with a pillow. I was kicking and screaming to catch my breath but he lifted up my dress and he started raping me and I ended up in children’s hospital.
“At times he was a very caring husband. And then without a reason, he would go into one of his moods. The things that I did right one day would trigger verbal and physical abuse the next day.” - Survivor
Silence, obedience and misconceptions have destroyed our society; it is time that we all break the silence on violence that is happening in our homes and communities; and build a safer environment for the next generation.