He beat me up on our wedding night. I should have left him then, but stayed. That was my first mistake. I'd married a violent, angry man whom I thought I loved. I was beaten regularly over the next ten years, now still carry the scars on my scalp, fractured ribs and broken hand.

Eventually I grabbed my courage in my fists and ran out of the house screaming. It shamed me to be taken to the A&E (Accident & Emergency) department in a police van, bleeding, shivering and crying, a professional woman amongst Saturday night drunks, ashamed that my torn eyebrow was being stitched together by my own colleague at the hospital where I was a nurse.

I never went home again.

Forty five years later I am still unable to shake off the cloud of guilt of my second mistake. He's a good father, I thought, left my son with him to be abused in turn. Took my daughter and did not notice ….. The guilt is heavy.

I found a place to stay, continued to work, work, work. I cry now, because my own needs and anger blinded me. When my daughter turned twenty one she told me about her abuse…

Then came some light. I discovered Marxist theory through the informal education system within the African National Congress (ANC), the liberation movement in South Africa. We taught each other, discovering ways to topple the evil system of Apartheid. I studied during that time, became an attorney, moved to another part of the country, continued to do grassroots organising with women, continued to fight for the millions of black children struggling to survive on the malnutrition of Apartheid. Defending political prisoners gave me a sense of direction. I was at last becoming whole - I thought.

Then another big mistake. I trusted a woman who betrayed me to the security police. I spent time in detention, but managed to get away. I ran, leaving my son in Johannesburg to work, my daughter in a boarding school. I was not to see my children again for more than two years, after I had eventually managed to get to the United Kingdom as a political refugee and was granted asylum.

I did come through with some real gifts, though. My daughter and son and I have never stopped talking with each other. Through the years we managed to be a loving family.

Though the complicated fabric which is my life is woven with lows of bad decisions and hard outcomes, it also has golden threads of strong faith and love. That fabric enables me now to spend my time working for other women and children who are still being abused, bleeding and walking through dark tunnels of dispair. Through my experiences I am enabled. My family and friends support me. And in WorldPulse I have the tools to find solutions to help relieve suffering.

I'm indeed a lucky girl!

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You are lucky,indeed,for you have an audience dying to hear you. You are lucky because your audience includes who are carrying scars under their shirts like you do. You are lucky because you have a future and it has more love and affection than you can hold in your hands.

many, many warm hugs!

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe

Hi Stella, thinking of you today and sending you warmth and lots of loving. Thanks again for sharing the discomfort of my scars with me. God bless you darling Stella.

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Domestic violence should NEVER be condoned. You are lucky indeed. some women dont live to tell the story! Again, the culture of silence that needs to be broken by women comes out clear. Never endure an abusive relationship!

Dear Adepaju

Just to say thank you for your comment. You know, Adepeju, if I count the amount of times just I was beaten, I'd say about every three - six months over the period of 10 years? That would be about 20-30 times? How many times did I report this to my friends and family? Never. How many times did I go to the police? Once. If we multiply those abuses ... oh Lord, the scale will break.

How can we get to collect these stories as and when they happen from women all over ? This is what I'm working on at the moment......

Meantime, keep strong and thanks for the support you are giving the women through your legal work.

Love you

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Hello Maria, how are you today? Thinking of you. Thank you for your very kind words. I looked at your profile again, and just want to say wow! I'm struggling so much with my French, my neighbours (all old ladies) giggle when I try to speak with them. You are a clever girl, doing all those languages. Lots of loving from Monica

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Hi Monica, I am fine today, how about you? Well, thank you for your "wow" :) I have to say it's been long since I haven't practiced French, but I am not too bad. French is a very difficult language to learn and, sincerely, to me speaking it is much easier than writing. After all, communication is an action of the will: people who speak the same language may never meet in their feelings, while others may get close without saying nothing at all...

You're the best! ;)

Maria

Monica,, you are such a brave woman , having such a painful mistakes ,you never loss your smile on face is really proof of having much courage. never loss it.

so mcuh love from here.

Live and Let Live Usha http://globalpressinstitute.org/user https://www.facebook.com/usha.anuyaee

Thank you everyone for your kind words. God bless you for your encouragement.

Love from Monica

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Dear Monica, you are an inspiration. I love your article. I love the way you classified the happenings in your life. my goodness - the act of your husband hiting you on your wedding night is so scary.I must admit that the experience you shared I will never forget. And in case, i find myself in any of such situation, you experience will definitely help me to understand that i need to take some important measures.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

Facebook:Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo Wondieh

Twitter | Instagram: @ZoFem

Thanks for saying this to me, Zoneziwoh. I visited your website today and wanted to paste the following little poem there, but could not find a place, coz I'm not under 35.... almost twice that, what a pity!

I would like to ask our African women, especially the older ones, to speak up:

Woman of Africa Why are you shy To speak your wisdom? Why are you shy To speak your history In a world which does not understand That history is not just about Kings, queens and conquests not of your own? Where being a woman Is supported all around you With hair salons and products From the L'Oreals which you can't use Cause they don't feel you're worth it?

Woman of Africa Why are you shy? Why do you not speak your wisdom In lands where it is always so cold Heated by machines called radiators Which run with the gurgle of alligators? Forever cold you are In lands where the sun hides Its face, so black will not happen To soft white skin. In lands where Beautiful is thin and flat And speaking your wisdom Is impolite and frowned at.

Woman of Africa Why are you shy Of a body which the gods Smile on and bless To give nurture To give comfort In a world where the goddess of sex Is coiffed and dressed In clothes made by young children With hard workers hands In far off lands With faces old before their time?

Woman of Africa Why do you not use your wisdom When your men are stereotyped And maligned Through ages of ignorance And tales untrue Which only you Can dispel?

I Woman of Africa I Will speak my truth Say it when it is needed I Woman of Africa

Avec beaucoup de baisers de la Dordogne, Monica

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Monica, you are wonderful. I love the poem. This is great. Though W30 is built to recognise the great / courageous work done by African Women under 30, It also accepts inspiring articles, poems etc from women under/above 30. Please Dear, you poem is so motivating and I can’t resist not sharing it with all the women.

It is an exceptional piece, and should be read. Women in Africa, jus like to puts it needs to say it as it needed, not to be shy, and to share their history. Thank you so much. I will alert you immediately your poem is posted.

Thank you so so much

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

Facebook:Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo Wondieh

Twitter | Instagram: @ZoFem

You are a star. Love you.

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

You are a brave woman, am inspired by your courage, Many women out there suffer the same abuse but never speak out, they are battered day in, day out but they are meant to believe that when a man beats you, it is because he loves you - so I hear from some of our cultures. It is absurd, and I applaud you for your courage.

You are an inspiration and your article is amazing.

Great job.

Dear Enamara

Thanks for your encouragement. Your words are so true. JJ Grenville, the French artist did a drawing called Qui aime bien châtie bien (who loves well beats well). Check it out on Google, it is nauseating. Yet, this is what some of our parents and grandparents believed....

I would like to work with young tekkies like you to develop a system for collecting incidents of domestic abuse from women as it happens, when it happens. Would you think about coming on board when I've got my brains together?

Meantime you might be interested in the following opportunity which could feed in as well....(let me know what you think):

Rewarding ventures using technology for development purposes Orange launches the African Social Venture Prize.

The project aims at promoting social innovation for development, thanks to information and communication technologies, through financial and management support to new businesses.

The African Social Venture Prize will reward three projects or enterprises addressing needs of the ‘bottom of pyramid’ market in Africa through technology. The digital projects range from e-health and mobile banking to digital and mobile applications for education or agriculture. They therefore represent huge opportunities for social development.

See http://www.starafrica.com/en/news/orange-african-social-venture-prize/th... http://www.starafrica.com/en/news/orange-african-social-venture-prize/the-challenge.html

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Dear Monica, im really sory about all the bad experiences that you went through in your life. I'm happy, though that you are still standing, not just for yourself but for others as well. God bless you.

Hi Carlotta, how is Springs today? I am missing my homeland terribly this morning! Yes, my life has been hard, but also very blessed, dear Carlotta. I am now thinking of finding ways to collect incidents of domestic abuse from women as and when this happens ... will get back to everyone when I've got my thoughts together.

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Your story is deeply moving. Thanks for having the courage to share it.I am sure it is helping manay peopel here make the right decision.

cheers,

Y

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Thank you YAOtieno for your kind words. As I said to Carlotta above, I am now thinking of finding ways to collect incidents of domestic abuse from women as and when this happens ... will get back to everyone when I've got my thoughts together....

Love from Monica today and always

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Its women like you who make women like me feel there is something to live for after all. You are so positive its something that i am learning to deal with and i suppose eventually it may build me.Thank you for the encouragement.

Gertrude Bvindi

Hi Gertrude, pleeeeze, would you post a picture of yourelf? I bet you are as beautiful as your poetry.

Love and hugs from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Good to get to know you, Nezed. Please do not stop working for our children, all our children who are more and more getting exploited and robbed of their childhood. I know that in your work you will continue, as you do, to help them achieve excellence too.

I read your profile and said thumbs up! The more of our young people, today, like you, who follow the path of counselling and support for our children, worldwide, the better will be the future for my grandchildren. And please when you speak with us as older folks, you as a professional can say more than we can. Keep telling them not to ignore the suffering of our children. We have a special responsibility to help our children before we die. I wrote this poem and perform it sometimes in training rooms, hope it will support you in your work:

THE LITLE BOY NEXT DOOR

He's just a little boy next door And I’m an old woman. I see him. But he doesn’t see me. I see him walk his dog, talk with his dog Whispering to it secrets So no-one can hear I watch him everyday I see him play to take his pain away I can see the shame he carries I see him walk with his head down And I know it happened again. I want to take his blame, iron it out Smooth it for him So he won’t trip over ripples of fright. I want to call to him I want to say Boy, come here Let me help you Let me put salve on your wounds, but I DO NOTHING.

Coz he’s just a little boy next door And I’m an old woman. I see him. But he doesn’t see me.

That night I hear the screaming I hear the shouting, I hear the crying I watch him next morning His head is down again Down with shame, carrying the blame. This time I stand in my door I call Boy, come to me But he does not hear me As he passes Deep in his world behind heavy glasses And I DO NOTHING.

Coz he’s just a little boy next door And I’m an old woman. I see him. But he doesn’t see me.

Then I see him behind the bush I watch him sit down I see him drag from the rag on his face I see him lie down To try to sleep his pain away Then the night comes And I hear her shout his pain I hear her pleading And as the two of them run out Out into the night Renting the darkness apart With the sharpness of their fright. I stand by and watch. I peep through my lace curtain

But still I DO NOTHING.

Now I hang my head in shame I must carry the blame For a little boy next door Who wets his bed at night Who is giving up the fight in nightmares Sniffing stuff behind a bush To block out the light for darkness I must take the blame For doing nothing For a little boy next door

Coz I’m an old woman. I see him Even if he doesn’t see me. I must take the blame For still I'M DOING NOTHING

Lots of strength to you from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Brave women like you who stand and say enough is enough deserve a huge award. You have not only picked up the pieces and moved on but you have built an empire of strength and freedom of women who are abused. I did a research on trends of rape and domestic violence in post apartheid South Africa last year and the statistics I saw there were frightening, to say the least. Well done for your courage and keep moving on.

Thank you for your kind words, Rumbidzai.

Yes, we have a lot of problems in South Africa. But then, our country is still very young and has enough resources, especially human resources and good will, to yet become a showpiece for the world. We are also still trying to scrub away the abscess of Apartheid, which has settled into every little crease of our social and cultural fabric, now exacerbated by ancient and outdated cultural norms, beliefs and attitudes. Unfortunately our problems in South Africa will continue to grow until the bad smell of Apartheid is scrubbed out from our South African consciousness. One day a generation will be born without its memory, and without the debilitating shackles of outdated cultural suspicion and ignorance. The best we can hope got, is that this might happen in the time of my grandchildren yet to be born.

Would you mind sending me your research outcomes, please? Or where might I access the complete document?

Have a really good day today. From Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Monica-

Woman of beauty and courage and strength and survival!! - I honor you and the valor you have shown!

And I will say it again, you were not the one who was mistaken...

To hear your story, to see the love and trust and faith with which you have acted... trusting a man you loved to love you in return, having faith that a father would love and protect his children, believing that sisters would stand together in unity... I do not see these as mistakes. I see these actions as deeply admirable, reflecting the dignity, integrity and love of the person who made them!!

The mistake/ wrong was made by those who chose to take advantage of and abuse your graces and the graces of so many others!!! Let us not continue to allow them to put us in the wrong!

Moving forward in freedom and love,

marissa

"I am the flicker, flame, butterfly ablaze who wants to fly in search of mythical rainbows beyond the rain." ~ Ana Castillo

May your move forward in freedom and love always encounter along their way the rainbows you seek.

Love and hugs from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

I feel it took a lot of courage to live this and then share it. I owe you a debt of gratitude for that reason. I too know what it means to be a victim of domestic violence. My father was killed bfore my second birthday and my mohter married several times after that all violent and controlling men. they would beat here all the time and my sister and I would scream and cry and hide under the bed. One had a gun and was in a rage and came home and held my mother to the floor with the gun to her head and said very loudly I am going to kill you first and then those 2 kids of yours. I was 11 and my sister was 10 we were in bed curled up holding on to each other, My sister in her pajams jumped out the bedroom window and ran to a neighbors they phoned the police and they came to our house and surrounded the place and then took him to jail. This was one of many episodes of this nature. I understand how this feels and I decieded after my divorce to go it alone and raise my children alone

Thank you dear Diane. My daughter described to me, recently, her fears when she heard our shouts and my pleas for help, how she and her brother crept under the bed, into the cupboard. I cry still, and the guilt of their pain is a cloud which I am unable to shake off, no matter how hard I try. I can, though, assuage some of that guilt by helping the new generation of children of the world to have a better future to look forward to...Love from Monica in France.

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

I read your story and uttered a series of gasps ... how absolutely horrific, what you've been through. And yet, here you are ... still standing after the horror and pain. and not just standing, but speaking, and dispersing hope to thousands of women. Thank you, bravo, and blessings.

Love, Ruthibelle ruthibelle.blogspot.com

Thanks Ruthibelle, what a compliment, thank you. How 'bout showing us a pic on your profile? bet you are as bright as your candle! Love and hugs from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Monica, What courage you have demonstrated and how clear you are in your story about the cost of becoming a leader and the awful hurdles to be cleared in moving forward. Let's hope the World Pulse community helps you achieve your goals. Joanna

Thanks for responding, Joanna. And for the encouraging words. I do still walk around with such heavy guilt, when I think of how things could have turned out for my children. But fortunately they are ok.

I have started a Journal of Strength, which I'm going to throw open to everybody inside and outside WorldPulse to contribute to. I hope you will tell us about your strengths there, so that we might share each others strengths and take courage from you too. I shall be putting out a post about it in the next few days.

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Thank you, Monica, for telling your story. You are a strong and beautiful woman! You've had to make difficult choices throughout your life, but do a great thing by sharing these experiences to teach others. So inspiring...

with love,

Emily

Emily Garcia World Pulse Online Community Lead

Hiya Emily, thanks for your comment - which encourages me! Thank you.

Do you know that your name Emily means ADMIRING? In French it means INDUSTRIOUS. I bet you're both admirable, admiring and a hard worker. Wow! Powerful, isn't it. So you have no need ever to worry about fear.

But then, eh, know what I reckon? I think that at school all children who fail, fail, fail and try, try, try again should be the ones getting the commendations and certificates of success. For fear is a very good emotion. It helps us to be careful, to stop, look and make an assessment each time. And then, we walk along slowly and we are conscious of our surroundings all the time. If we go through our lives without fear, we stumble because we are not in the moment, looking around, not concentrating and we make more mistakes.

Does this sound like backward reasoning? NO!

A little story for you, which I tell to children at school when I talk about my Khoikhoi culture:

"NANGAMSO is a little boy who is very slow. His name means 'Continue to do the good work that you do'. He is from the Khoikhoi nation of South Africa, and lives by the sea and mountain at Cape Town. When the children tease him, calling him NANGAMSO YOU ARE STUPID!! – all he hears is NANGAMSO, CONTINUE TO DO THE GOOD WORK THAT YOU DO! – because that is what his name means and he does not understand the word stupid. He secretly talks with trees and they understand him and help him, because that is where Heitsi-Eibib, his hero, lives. "

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Dear Monica,

Thank you for your uplifting message! I didn't know these meanings of my name, but they certainly are encouraging...and powerful! And I can see that they do describe me, and that is something to remember when I'm having one of my frequent moments of self-doubt.

I love the story you shared about NANGAMSO and I appreciate your wisdom when you say "all children who fail, fail, fail and try, try, try again should be the ones getting the commendations and certificates of success". Being labeled stupid is the irrational root of a lot of my fear. I will take your stories and your words of widsom and fill my soul with them so I can be true to my name!

Thank you again and sending warm loving thoughts your way,

Emily

Emily Garcia World Pulse Online Community Lead

You must have gone through alot and that has made you a strong woman. I have really learnt from your 3 mistakes. Thank you for sharing your personal testimony. Nangamso :)

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Thanks you beautiful Monica in Uganda. I really like your picture, your smile captures me! Have a nice day in Kampala.

xxx

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Dear Monica,

I thank God for women like you who have the will survive abuse and apartheid, and the strength to come back and fight for others.You are certainly fit to do the work that needs to be done.

I'm Canadian, but South Africa has a special place in my heart. Keep up your good work.

Cindy Coles

Thanks for your encouragement, Cindy. I have sent you a friend request separately...Hope to hear from you soon.

Lots of loving from the Dordogne, South of France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. You are a very captivating writer with a great introduction and conclusion. It is great to see how you are helping others by sharing your lessons. I would be curious to know why you chose World Pulse and how you think it can personally help you. A personal side note, calling them mistakes is being harsh on yourself, making it sound like you are at fault. Being a trusting, loving person is not a fault. You learned from your life and are sharing what you learned with others...how amazing! Best, Mila

Dear Mila

Thank you for reading my article and for your comment. Although I try to follow a path of detachment to enable me to be aware of the opportunities and openings of each new day, I seem not to be able to get there, hence my hanging onto guilt which is half a century out of date! My son has had such a tortuous, painful journey and still suffers from the abuse which he received at the hands of his (now deceased) father, and I feel so very responsible. Thanks for reminding me that it is not a fault to love and care and share. Guilt is such a needless cloud that shadows our senses.

About why I chose World Pulse and how I think it can help me: In my last (Week 3) assignment I tried to explain how I see World Pulse being at the base of the work which I would like to do. I cut and paste that here. In Week 3 I spoke about domestic abuse and the fact that only a very few number of beatings, assaults and killings come to the notice of the world:

"A big challenge we have is that we do not have enough statistical data to use as a weapon for change. We also need to connect with other similar organisations in S.Africa, so our voice will be louder.

I look at the success of Facebook in connecting people to protest in the middle east this year, getting millions of voices heard – and I believe that the cloak of silence covering domestic abuse shall forever be lifted by us through PulseWire and other organisations working together. We shall use programmes like the Ushahidi platform (www.ushahidi.com) and http://www.frontlinesms.com, to reach women who are afraid to speak.

Through mobile phone reporting and collection of incidents of domestic abuse as and when they happen, our voice shall be amplified and echoed across Africa and across the world. And this, in my lifetime."

This is my prayer. World Pulse is my support. Web 2.0 is my tool.

With respect from Monica.

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).