women and abuse

Posted January 23, 2009 from Zambia
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It was early last year when one of the secretary of PLWHIV support group entered my office with a women in her late twenties, holding her little tiny baby in her thin hands.

As they sat down, the secretary introduced the mother and her child. The child was only two months old. Later the secretary informed me why they had come and told me that the woman will tell her own story.

As you can see, am not ok,she said

It all started two years ago, after being married happily for seven years, we have four children. I stared noticing change of behavior in my husband, he started coming late,drunk and he started creating fights for no apparent reasons.He stopped supporting the family fully like he used to and when ever you asked him about things like money, school fees, he would always say am just a minor business man and there is no business nowadays. To make the story short, one day, he never came home, we looked and waited for him for seven whole nights but he never showed up not until the eighth day. But the days that followed were hell! my husband would beat me, beat my children and would leave us without food, the small business i had collapsed due to the fact that we ate every thing, my relatives who in the first place were against my marriage never gave a dame to what was happening to me and my children. My children stopped school. Few months late I became very ill and when i went to the hospital i was told am pregnant.

But the illness continued after which my husband who now became a stranger, took me and the kids to my old mother in the village where i was nursed.After my illness worsted, my old mother decided to take me to the hospital as she was obvious i had the most talked about disease in the village.

You are HIV positive and your CD4 account is very low, i was told. You need to be put on A RTs as soon as possible.

although my mama accepted it and did what ever was supposed to be done, in my own thoughts i was a living corpse, I questioned my self and my God, why!

Though the road wasn't easy, upon taking the drugs, i began to recover and within few months i gave birth to my boy of course with medical precautions.

My baby is HIV- negative.

Ever since i went to the village with all my children, my husband never came back for me and the kids. My family became suspicious and told me to go back to my husband as he never chased me, they insisted. Was it not for my children i could have stayed with my old mother.but she was too old to start taking care of me and my children

When we reached home, there was no one and my neighbors told me that my husband married another woman and living with her. I followed my husband at his work place, and found him. he told me frankly that he is married and his new wife is expecting, i wasn't surprised at all and then told him to give us the keys to our home, and that i wanted to tell him some thing very important if he had time.

Later that afternoon he came with some shop rite plastic bags full of goods, he thanked me for understanding and told me that he will arrange for our meeting (his new wife and i).

I never showed him my drugs but i convinced him some how to go with me for a test, we were all tested positive, He refuted this fact and told me never to tell someone.

My problem was not over, when it came to sex, he refused to use a condom and in most cases raped me, when i refused to do it he forced and beat me up . Two months ago, he moved out of our home with all his things and sold the house without our concern.He has totally refused to help or support any of his children.

My child needs formula milk, my children are hungry and my relatives say they are tired of me, am illiterate, don't have a capital to start my own business's, my mum is too old to look after me and my children all over.These are but a few complaints that this woman made!

This and many more are what women can go through! My coordinator referred this woman to an appropriate organization where she was assistant.

Comments 9

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Jan 23, 2009
Jan 23, 2009

Dando Dear,

Thanks for this post! I always believe that every woman should be empowered, they must know their rights and fight for it. This is the normal situation in Africa in particular, where a woman is considered as the man's property, where a woman must not say no to sex even when more than tired and not in the mood for it. They always buttress the point with the biblical facts taht the women were not counted in the Bible, forgetting the fact that it was the Jews culture, there was even an instance in Joshua 17:4 the Old Testament when a man died before entering the Promised land and God instructed them to hand over his portion to his daughters! We need real re-orientation here.

Thank God that there are organisations working for women these days, I can not imagine how life in Africa would have been. My prayer is that there be equality of all sexes everywhere and those of us who gave birth to daughters can smile peacefully in the presence of our husbands believing that there are no bastards elsewhere from mistresses who know the tricks of delivering boys. As women let us stand for our rights and give our daughters sense of belonging and stop wishing they were boys, give them sound education to the level they can achieve and stand with them by being real women ourselves and achievers in our field of endeavours.

God Bless Everywoman,


Jennifer Ruwart
Jan 23, 2009
Jan 23, 2009


Sometimes I find it difficult to say "thank you for sharing" when a story is such. And yet, I want to thank you for sharing this story through the woman's voice. Will you tell her that she has been heard across the globe? And that I am wrapping my loving, virtual arms around her... and every other woman in a situation like this?

I agree with Olutosin. God bless Everywoman.

With love, Jennifer

Jan 24, 2009
Jan 24, 2009

I am glad the baby is HIV negative! Women must be empowered,so that we can be able to move ahead in life,and not get easily destructed by barriers.I have personally suffered an extremely low CD4 count,and i know how the body feels then.You cannot think or work actively.What of these frustrations and abuses added to it?

I feel that much as the woman was helped,the abuser should be brought to book.He might end up doing the same to this other woman too! He must also also participate in supporting the child.I hope something can be done about this.

Thank you Olutosin and Jennifer for feeling and sharing with Dando.

Best wishes,

Leah Auma Okeyo.

Jan 26, 2009
Jan 26, 2009

Am yet to find out more about how far her case has gone and i will let all of you know.

I believe she is not the only woman who has gone through such! but that they are thousands of women going through the same or even worse, From your contributions you have even drawn me to the GAZA situation, where the cry of a woman and her child is heard at every corner. I really don't know why women are always the victims of what they don't even understand. If at all a research were to be carried out on whether women know why there's fighting, am sure only a handful would know.

women! we really need to do something for the welfare of our women and children

Regards, dando

Jan 27, 2009
Jan 27, 2009

Thank you for sharing this story Dando, and for everyone's comments too. It is sadly true that this woman's story is so common around the world. I am thankful that there are people to help her and others move forward into a brighter future.

To me it is sad that this woman's husband's behavior is common around the world too! I think that men need to wake up and treat women as equals, as fully human, not objects to control or own. Violence and rape should be treated much more seriously by police and governments, and by society as a whole. It makes me sick that it is normal day-to-day routine for so many.

It may be difficult to change men's attitudes, but it is vital! Dando, are there people working in Zambia to make these changes? When women and men work together for peace and partnership, I think amazing things happen. It is a big shift that needs to happen all over the world...but, I feel that slowly the tide is turning this way. In the future men will also be expected to nurture and love children, as women have for so long. It's a complicated issue to talk about, and there is a lot of silence about it in the world today. Men need to find new ways of being men!

And I agree, God/Goddess bless Everywoman.

Thank you again to the PulseWire community...together we can make a wonderful world. In loving kindness, Scott

Jan 28, 2009
Jan 28, 2009

To start with, may i congratulate mrbeckbeck for the effort and contribution you are making as a man to ensure that women are liberalized In Zambia, we have different organisation working in addressing issues affecting women, these include NGOs like young women Christian association (YWCA), Women for change, victim support, Zambia Aids Law research and Advocacy only to mention but a few. Although we have these organisation in place, few women access their services, due to several factors that include lack of sensitization on the existence of these organisation and the other been Culture/ tradition norms. In Africa, Zambia in particular, women shun away from these organisation due to the fact that as women reach puberty or enter into marriage, they are taught to keep house matters or problem as a secret, to respect and not to question their husband, whatever is said by the husband should be followed, since a man is the heard of the house and makes decisions. In most cases when a woman is beaten, its either she keeps it to her self, or sometimes informs a near kin who usually advise the woman to be submissive, and not to argue what is said by her husband in order to keep her marriage.This has made it difficult for women to open up and speak out.

I feel some thing must be done to our tradition to allow women voice out and enjoy their freedom.


Feb 05, 2009
Feb 05, 2009

Hello Dando,

Thanks for sharing this touching story, please kindly find out how she is faring with her health and children. It will help to know she is fine and if possible, she should be kept out of reach from her husband.

I am praying for her and may the Good Lord grant us the strength to keep on doing the good work in our various localities.

Much still needs to be done, Most of these women are yet to have access to information.

indeed we can make it!


Feb 08, 2009
Feb 08, 2009

Not to sound insensitive, but this story is like countless others we keep hearing, seeing and experiencing over and over. I work as a journalist and as such am accused of being insensitive a lot of the times. Though I sympathise with this woman's plight, as women, we really need to focus more on the solutions versus just the problems. I have cried until my eyes could shed no more tears-the result? I got little done. What we need to look at is how best to empower each other and ourselves. Economically that is. In that way, its easier to make quality decisions and situations whereby one is forced to listen to relatives who are more concerned about themselves than the true welfare of someone else, are lessened and hopefully eradicated. It's not easy, but life is not an easy journey to travel.

Feb 16, 2009
Feb 16, 2009

Last week i had a chance to meet with the secretary of the support group in connection with the woman's story, i was surprise to find out that the woman is back with her husband after they took him to court. the man apologize to the woman and her relatives, he divorced the other woman and has since moved in with his family.

At first i did not recognize the woman when the secretary took me to see her, for sure she looks beautiful and has put on weight.According to her, things have changed and her husband is now caring and has now started taking the doctor's advice on positive living and medical precautions.