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She, the little brave one

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It was with a detour that she heard about my story collection. She listens with her ears, but hears with her heart. Her story must get wings. For too long it was the dark shadows that used to keep her awake at night. She has to release it in order to free herself. She has already walked such a long road of healing.

Hospitable being, she offers me tea. She has a lot of caring inside her. Very neat, not a thing out of place. Alert clear eyes that has seen too much. Much older in living years than the young women sitting in front of me. I cannot help but notice how calm she is. Her storm has passed.

From a young age she was used to moving between provinces. The fighting of her Stepdad and Mom was a example to her that became exceptable for her to mirror the behavior. It made life unpredictable. Her life boat were a sailing on stormy seas with her Mom as captain. Together they sailed this stormy sea cross wards, their highs and lows identical.

At the age of eleven she started smoking and at thirteen she started using drugs. Did she have to wait longer? She has already lived so far ahead of her years. The freedom to drink and to use drugs were familiar in her and her Mother’s household. At a young child age she already went with her Mom to nightclubs. Homeschooling in the school of life.

There were boyfriends in her life, since the age of fourteen. Intense drug induced relationships. From a young age she learned to stand her ground, for every man in her life was out to misuse her one way or the other. Playing and lighthearted they would start to wrestle, laugh, giggle and the play would escalate to hurt. To get hurt would become normal. Love and pain was one. Always pain above love.

Already a young adult at the age of sixteen, she met him, he was twenty. He was the answer to her problems, treated her well. “Perhaps he is not like the other men, perhaps not all men are like that.” she thought. But his drinking and drug habits brought out the jealousy and aggression in him. She was allowed to talk to other men, but only if she knew them and only if he was present.

That specific evening, she talked to someone he did not know and he was not present. She faulted, breaking is rules. They already had plans to get engaged. She had to abide by he rules of their future. Their house, him and only his friends, was her future. Each word he yelled in her face and cursed while sitting on top of her and pressing her to the bed. He wanted to insure that she knew the boundaries he had set.

A lawyer. That is what she wanted to be. She wanted to fight, because she knows how, a good fight, for women’s rights. Unfortunately her early adult childhood years did not leave a lot of focus for schoolwork and her marks was not the key to freedom. But she is also creative and creativity does not allow itself to be hidden under a lid.

She asked nicely if she could do a six months photography course, what could possibly be the problem? Her ambition was already starting to show, the oppression of their circle started to suffocate her. “How dare you?” he wanted to know when she said she would leave him for six months to go do the course. How dare she put her wants, her talents and ambition before him, not before them, before him. Every time she turned against him he put up a show of how she does not respect him. Ancient accusations, as old as the mountains. But still, after centuries, women still fall for it and men still use it in their favour.

The abuse of guilt. Poor me. I am big, I am strong, I am the boss, but poor me. See how little you feel for me? It you really loved me, you would do what I say and commit your whole life to me. Poor me. Me. Me. So it continued for four and half years. On and on and on. He could not break her, she was like a buoy on the water that refused to sink.

She surfaced and started going to church. “Father, is this the relationship you want for me, is this the man you want for me?” She begged on her knees before God. Begging, yet again the language of the abused woman. Against his will he started to go to church with her. Still it was not the answer she was looking for. The affair he started with another woman, was the answer. Her heart was broken. Her spirit chattered. What did she not sacrifice for this man. She could have had a career. She could have been happy. She could have known who she is without him, on her own. Again, she was on her knees before God, again, begging. Yet there was distance between her and God. Perhaps she only wanted answers and results from God, perhaps God wanted more, a relationship. That word that has always given her harm, and only put a hold on her. Like the next relationship that followed the same pattern, that followed the familiar route of humiliation. Her wings were cut again. Again she was a helpless drug induced hovering little boat on the stormy waters of life. Without a oar or direction. She knows rejection by the name. She knows how it feels not to be good enough. Drugs and liquor gave her the illusion of being enough. How would she feel without it, what would replace it?

“How did you quit liquor, drugs and cigarettes?” I ask her. “By the Grace of God.” she answers with certainty. Because she knows, she could leave it and get released from the addiction without any rehab, because she chose God above her addiction.

It is not easy, picturing her in her drug induced non sober days. She that is sitting across from me with a Light shining from within. She is enlightened an alight with by God, there is no anger in her. That night she sat in church, the minister gave the Word of God directly to her, only to her. He released her shackles and gave her freedom.

But abuse does not only happen in relationships and not only by men. A female employer played the same devastating role in her life. She would be encouraged to make decisions, only to be criticized and to be yelled at in front of the whole office. It was the employers behavior towards everybody who worked there, but if you have been criticized your whole life, it feels as if she speaks directly to you. Because you are the failure, you are worthless, not good enough. Everyone agrees, so it has to be true.

Thanks to her will to discover herself, she did reach herself. She knocked, and God opened. Today she feels sorry for her employer, because she knows that she was not the problem, the problem was the hurt and uncertainty in the other person. “How do you overcome?” I ask her. “By staying humble and by believing in myself.” she replies. But to believe in herself, she first had to get to know herself, forgive herself and trust herself.

She wants to be free, like her dream of sitting on a swing and swinging high above with the wind in her hair. Today she has good, grounded, trustworthy people in her life. There are still areas that needs forgiveness. She realize it and she is working on it. Because you cannot soar in the air if there are things that still anchor you to the past. You cannot spread your arms if your elbows are still hitting against things that should not be there.

She is sitting on the couch, feet against each other, her hands peacefully in her lap. The same hands that she fed herself booze and drugs with. Hands that are done fighting, now they want to create and Bless.

If today she had to meet herself at sixteen, she would tell herself that she is worth more than she thinks about herself, more than anybodies opinion about her. Love yourself. You put yourself in those situations, you have to decide were you boundaries are and keep to them. You have to draw the line in the sand.

She is happy on her own, has been for a long time. She and her Mom. The same Mother with whom she did drugs. Both victims of their circumstances and choices. But today, both of them have a sword of truth in their hand that they use to draw the line in the sand.

Sy hoor met ‘n ompad van my storieversameling. Sy luister met haar ore, maar hoor met haar hart. Haar storie moet vlerke kry, dit was vir te lank die donker skadus wat haar in die nag wakker gehou het. Sy moet dit vrylaat, om haarself te kan bevry. Sy het reeds so ‘n ver pad van genesing geloop. Gasvrye mens, bied dadelik aan om tee te maak. Sy het omgee in haar. Netjies, nie ‘n haar uit sy plek. Wakker helder oë wat al te veel gesien het. Baie ouer in lewensjare as die jong vrou wat voor my sit.

Ek kan nie help om op te let hoe rustig sy is nie. Haar storm het gaan lê.

Van kleindag was sy gewoond aan trek tussen provinsies. Stiefpa en Ma se bakleiery was vir haar ‘n voorbeeld wat aanvaarbaar geraak het om haar ook so te gedra. Dit het die lewe onvoorspelbaar gemaak. Haar lewensbootjie het op stormwaters gevaar met haar Ma as kaptein aan boord. Saam het hulle hierdie stormsee kruis en dwars gevaar, hulle hoogtes en laagtes identies.

Op elfjarige ouderdom het sy begin drink en op dertien begin dwelms gebruik. Moes sy langer wag? Sy was dan reeds so ver geleef bo haar lewensjare. Die vryheid om te drink en dwelms te gebruik was normaal in haar en haar Ma se huishouding. Op ‘n jong kind-ouderdom het sy reeds saam met haar Ma na nagklubs gegaan. Tuisonderrig in die skool van die lewe.

Daar was kêrels in haar lewe, reeds van veertien. Intense dwelmbenewelde agressiewe verhoudings. Van jongs het sy geleer om haar man te staan, want elke man in haar lewe was daarop uit om haar te misbruik op die een of ander manier. Speel speel sou hulle begin stoei, lag, giggel en die speel sou eskaleer tot seerkry. Om seer te kry het normaal geraak. Liefde en seer was een. Altyd seer bo liefde.

Op sestien, reeds ‘n jong volwassene, vroeg uitgekuier, ontmoet sy hom, twintig jaar oud. Hy was die antwoord op haar probleme, het haar op die hande gedra. Dalk is hy nie soos die ander nie, dalk is alle mans nie so nie. Maar sy drink en dwelmgewoontes, het die jaloesie en agressie in hom uitgebring. Sy mag met ander mans gesels het, maar net indien hy hulle geken het en indien hy by was. Die aand het sy met iemand gesels, hy het hom nie geken nie en hy was nie by nie. Sy het oortree. Hy het dan die reëls vasgelê. Hulle het reeds planne gehad om verloof te raak. Sy moes by die reëls van hul toekoms hou. Hulle huis, hy, en net sy vriende, was haar voorland. Elke woord het hy in haar gesig geskree en geskel terwyl hy bo-op haar sit en haar teen die bed vasdruk. Hy wou sekermaak sy verstaan haar grense wat deur hom daar gestel was.

n Prokureur. Dit is wat sy wou wees. Sy wou baklei, want sy ken van, ‘n goeie baklei, vir vroue se regte. Ongelukkig het haar vroeg ryp kinderjare nie baie fokus toegelaat vir skoolwerk nie, en haar punte was nie haar sleutel tot vryheid nie. Maar sy is ook kreatief, en kreatiweit is nie iets wat homself toelaat om onder ‘n deksel gebêre te word nie.

Mooi het sy gevra, of sy ‘n ses maande fotografie kursus kan doen. Wat kan tog die probleem wees. Haar ambisie het reeds begin ontkiem, die benoudheid van sy sirkel het haar begin wurg. Hoe durf sy, wou hy weet, hom los vir ses maande om ‘n fotografie kursus te gaan doen. Hoe durf sy haar belange en talente, haar amibisie bo hom plaas, nie bo hulle nie, bo hom. Elke keer wanneer sy hom teengegaan het, hoe gering ookal het hy ‘n skouspel gemaak van hoe sy hom nie respekteer nie. Oeroue aantuigings, so oud soos die berge. Maar selfs na eeue, val vrouens steeds daarvoor en gebruik mans dit steeds in hul guns. Die misbruik van skuldgevoel. Arme ek. Ek is groot ek is sterk ek is die baas, maar arme ek. Kyk hoe min voel jy vir my, as jy regtig vir my lief is, sal jy doen wat ek sê en jou hele lewe aan my toewy. Arme ek. Ek. Ek. So het dit voortgegaan vir vier en half jaar. Aan en aan en aan. Hy kon haar nie knak nie, sy was soos ‘n boei op die water wat net nie wou sink nie.

Sy het na bo gedobber en begin kerk toe gaan. Vader, is hierdie verhouding wat U vir my wil hê, is hy die man vir my, het sy op haar knieë voor God gesmeek. Smeek, weereens die taal van die mishandelde vrou. Hy het teen sy sin begin om saam kerk toe te gaan. Dit was steeds nie die antwoord waarop sy gewag het nie. Die verhouding wat hy met ‘n ander vrou begin het was wel die antwoord. Haar hart was gebreek. Haar siel vermorsel. Wat het sy nie alles vir hierdie man opgegee nie. Sy kon al ‘n loopbaan gehad het. Sy kon al gelukkig gewees het. Sy kon al geweet het wie sy is sonder hom, op haar eie. Weereens was sy op haar knieë voor God, weereens smekend. Tog was daar ‘n afstand tussen God en haar. Dalk wou sy net antwoorde en ‘n uitkoms van God hê, dalk wou God meer hê, ‘n verhouding. Daai woord wat haar nog net skade berokken het. Nog net vasgehou het. Soos die volgende verhouding wat dieselfde patroon gevolg het, op dieselfde bekende spoor van vernedering geloop het. Haar vlerke was weer geknip. Sy was weereens ‘n hulpelose bedwelmende dobberende bootjie op die groot stormwaters van die lewe. Sonder roeispaan, sonder rigting. Sy ken verwerping by die naam. Sy weet hoe dit voel om nie genoeg te wees nie. Dwelms en drank het haar ‘n ilusie van genoegwees gegee, hoe sou sy voel daarsonder, wat sou dit vervang.

Hoe het jy van drank, dwelms en sigarette afgekom, wil ek weet? Deur die Here se Genade, antwoord sy seker. Want sy weet, want sy kon dit los en bevry raak daarvan sonder enige rehabilitasie, want sy het God gekies bo haar verslawing.

Dit is vir my moeilik, wanneer ek na haar kyk, om haar voor te stel in haar skop skiet en dwelmjare. Sy wat voor my sit met ‘n Lig wat om haar skyn. Sy is verlig en belig deur God, daar is geen kwaad in haar nie. Die aand wat sy in die kerk gesit het, het die dominee God se Woord direk vir haar gebring, net vir haar. Hy het haar boeie losgemaak, haar vrygemaak.

Maar mishandeling gebeur nie net in verhoudings nie en ook nie net deur mans nie.

n Vroulike werkgewer het dieselfde afbrekende rol in haar lewe gespeel. Sy sou haar aanmoedig om besluite te neem en haar dan kritiseer oor haar besluite, op haar skreeu voor die hele kantoor. Dit was haar gedrag teenoor almal wat daar gewerk het, maar wanneer jy jou lewe lank nog net gekritiseer was, voel dit of daardie persoon net met jou praat. Want jy is die mislukking, jy is nie goed genoeg nie, jy is niks werd nie. Almal sê dan so, dan moet dit mos so wees.

Danksy haar wil om haarself te ontdek, het sy by haarself uitgekom. Sy het geklop en God het die deur oopgemaak. Vandag voel sy jammer vir haar werkgewer want sy besef dat sy nie die probleem was nie, maar wel die seer en onsekerheid in die ander persoon. Hoe oorkom sy, wil ek weet. Deur nederig te bly, sê sy, en te glo in myself. Maar om te glo in haarself moes sy eers haarself leer ken, haarself vergewe en weer vertroue in haarself kry.

Sy wil vry wees soos in haar droom wat sy op die swaai sit en hoog bo die lug om en om swaai met die wind haar hare. Vandag het sy goeie standvastige mense in haar lewe. Ja daar is areas waar verginis nog nodig is. Sy weet dit, en sy werk daaraan. Want jy kan nie sweef op die swaai as daar dinge is wat jou nog geanker in jou verlede hou nie. Jy kan nie jou arms oopgooi as jou elmboë bly kap aan dinge wat nie daar hoort nie.

Sy sit op die bank, voete langs mekaar, hande rustig in haar skoot. Dieselfde hande waarmee sy haarself drank en dwelms gevoer het. Hande wat klaar baklei het, hulle wil nou skep en Seën.

As sy vandag haar sestienjare self kon ontmoet, sal sy vir haar sê dat sy meer werd is as wat sy van haarself dink, meer werd is as ander mense se opinie oor haar. Wees lief vir jouself. Jy het jouself in daardie situasies gesit, jy moet besluit waar jou grense lê en hou daarby. Die streep in die sand trek.

Sy is gelukkig op haar eie, al vir lank. Sy en haar Ma. Dieselfde Ma wat saam met haar dwelms gedoen het. Altwee slagoffers gewees van hul eie omstandighede en keuses. Maar vandag, is altwee se stok, ‘n swaard van waarheid in hul hand waarmee hulle die streep in die sand trek.

Last House Jabes Interview

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Her feet is restless under the table, her hands interlace, a deep sigh. Again the sigh, it is becoming a familiar.

The interview starts. Silence. Eleven years she has known him. At the beginning he was so romantic and charming. The cracks began to show when she became pregnant. From the start he wanted her to have an abortion, she refused. She loved him so much. She was broken when he had to leave the country due to visa reasons. He did not want the child, he simply did not want him. The insults were always there, she just never wanted to see it. Off course according to him, everything was her fault. He succeeded in turning her family and friends against her. Actually she is used to coping on her own. She made contact with House Jabes and realized it is a place were she can heal. She never realized how broken she was.

Over a span of ten years he alienated her from everybody around her. It was a friend that advised her to run, not to walk away, to run away. She had to come to a point were she was angry enough with him. She applied for financial aid from him. It was not successful, he had written off his child. How does she tell her child that his father wrote him off?

She has never experience the support that received at House Jabes. To her it is a safety net, they are truly caring people.

Yes she was scared he might to something to their child. She always knew that the custody case would stir the worst in him. She was not always conscious when he hit her, only remember parts of it. She had severe post traumatic stress and was on medication for months.

It is so sad, because she had future plans. She never knew there was a place like House Jabes. “You arrive here and you realize it is so much and more. Everyone here, knows what you are going through.”

She became stronger. But still she is so deeply disappointed. Her tears are honest, her pain is raw, her questioned still unanswered. Where will her peace come from if she does not get it from him?

I wonder if she will find peace, I hope she does, I really hope so. Her love for her child is her everything, her existence, but her heart, o my, her heart is so broken.

Haar voete wikkel onder die tafel, haar hande vleg inmekaar, ‘n diep sug, alweer die sug. Dit raak ‘n bekende sug. Die onderhoud begin. Stilte. Elf jaar ken sy hom al. Aan die begin was hy so romanties en sjarmant. Die krake het begin wys toe sy swanger geraak het. Van die begin af wou hy hê sy moes ‘n aborsie kry, sy het geweier. Sy was so lief vir hom. Gebroke toe hy die land verlaat as gevolg van visumredes. Hy wou nie die kind hê nie, hy wou dit eenvoudig nie hê nie. Die beledigings was altyd daar, sy wou dit net nooit raaksien nie. Natuurlik was alles haar skuld volgens hom. Hy het dit reggekry om haar familie en vriende almal teen haar te draai. Eintlik is sy gewoond daaraan om op haar eie te funksioneer. Sy het met Huis Jabes in kontak gekom en besef hier kan sy gesondraak. Nooit het sy besef hoe seer en gebroke sy was nie.

Hy het haar oor ‘n tydperk van tien jaar vervreem van almal rondom haar. Dit was ‘n vriendin wat haar aangeraai het om te hardloop, nie te loop nie, te hardloop. Sy moes op ‘n punt kom waar sy kwaad genoeg was vir hom. Sy het aansoek gedoen vir onderhoud. Dit was onsuksesvol, hy het sy kind afgeskryf. Hoe vertel sy haar kind dat sy Pa hom afgeskryf het?

Sy het nog nooit die bystand ervaar wat sy by Huis Jabes gevind het nie. Vir haar is dit ‘n veiligheidsnet, hulle is werklik omgee mense.

Ja sy was was bang dat hy iets aan haar kind sal doen. Sy het altyd geweet die onderhoudsaak gaan die ergste in hom wakker maak. Sy was nie heeltyd by haar bewussyn wanneer hy haar geslaan het nie, sy onthou net dele. Sy het erge post traumatiese stres gehad en was vir maande op medikasie.

Dit is so hartseer, want sy het toekomsplanne gehad. Sy het nooit besef daar is ‘n plek soos Huis Jabes nie. Jy kom hier aan en besef dit is soveel en meer. Almal hier weet waardeur jy gegaan het.

Ja sy het sterker geraak. Maar steeds is sy net so vreeslik teleurgesteld. Haar trane is eerlik, haar seer is rou, haar vrae steeds onbeantwoord. Waar gaan haar vrede vandaan kom as sy dit nie by hom gaan kry nie.

Ek wonder of sy vrede gaan vind, ek hoop sy vind dit, ek hoop regtig so. Haar liefde vir haar kind is haar alles, haar bestaan, maar haar hart, o jinne, haar hart is so stukkend.

For the fear of a axe

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She has a soft soulful voice. Wears a comfy blouse. Her eyes are still scared. “Yes I want to show my face.” she says softly but certain “what I have to tell is the truth after all.” Well said. O my, she is gentle. With what terrifying memories does this woman fall asleep with at night? She close her eyes and takes a deep breath like the other women and I realize how important breathing is to them, it is like a breath of courage. Her scared eyes blinks wet even before she starts to talk, her lashes butterfly flutter, ready for the onslaught of her own story.

She also thought he was normal when she met him for the first time. It was as if he was sent by God. They were together for fifteen years of which they were married for five years. Initially their life and relationship was as normal as can be, but within months, things had changed.

She thought it was her fault. “What did he do to you?” the interviewer treads carefully. The question hits her deep. Her eyes are far off in thought. He started by breaking her down emotionally, gave her punches where nobody could see the marks. It became worse and worse. He had this thing about a axe and hacked her car with it. The axe were always where there where she could see it. The mute assassin lying in wait for his commission to destroy. When he hit her so bad that she bled and had bruises, he locked her in the house from the outside world until the bruises healed. At times he locked the children up with her. They were prisoners in their own house. Why did she stay? She believed it was her fault. If only she could do everything better. He constantly reminded her that he made her what she is, without him she is nothing.

“You die within yourself.” she says, “you bury yourself, nothing matters anymore. You see how you look in the mirror, but you don’t feel anything.” He enthused fear with anyone who tried to help her. Nobody saw their way open anymore to help. The turning point came when a social worker threatened to take her children away. She decided to leave.

What does she think of House Jabes? “People talk about angels on earth, if you want to talk about angels, look at the people of House Jabes.” Her tears are running, her voice just about a breath. “My child and I would not be alive today if it was not for House Jabes.” She wipes her tears, the tears are running freely, like her freedom. Her hug is also soft, but firm, firm to hold onto, to breath, almost to scared to let go.Sy het ‘n sagte binnestem. Dra ‘n los bloesie. Haar oë is steeds bang. Sy wil haar gesig wys, ja, sê sy sag en seker, dit wat sy vertel is immers die waarheid. Goedgesê. O sy is sag, met watter vreesaanjaende beelde raak hierdie vrou in die aand aan die slaap? Sy maak haar oë toe, haal diep asem soos die ander vroue en ek besef hoe belangrik asemhaal vir hulle is, dit is soos moedskep. Haar bang oë blink nat nog voor sy begin vertel, haar wimpers skoenlapperfladder, gereed vir die aanslag van haar eie storie.

Ook sy het gedink hy was normaal toe sy hom die eerste maal ontmoet het. Dit was asof hy van God gestuur was. Hulle was veertien jaar saam waarvan hulle vyf jaar getroud was. Aanvanklik was hul lewe en verhouding so normaal as wat jy kry, maar binne maande het dinge begin verander.

Sy het gedink dit is haar skuld. Wat het hy aan haar gedoen? Dit slaan diep, die vraag. Haar oë dink ver. Hy het begin deur haar emosioneel af te kraak, haar houe gegee waar niemand die merke kon sien nie. Dit het erger en erger geraak. Hy het ‘n ding oor ‘n byl gehad en haar motor met die byl gekap. Die byl was altyd daar waar sy dit kon sien. Die stom sluipmoordenaar wat lê en wag het vir sy opdrag om te vernietig. Wanneer hy haar so geslaan het dat sy bloei of merke het, het hy haar in die huis toegesluit van die wêreld totdat die merke gesond geraak het. Soms het hy haar kind ook saam met haar toegesluit. Hulle was gevangenes in hul eie huis. Wat het haar laat bly? Sy het geglo dit is sy. As sy net alles beter kon doen. Hy het haar aanhoudend laat verstaan dat hy haar gemaak het wat sy is, sonder hom is sy niks nie.

Jy gaan dood binnejouself sê sy. Jy begrawe jouself, niks maak meer saak nie. Jy sien hoe jy lyk in die spieël, maar jy voel niks. Hy het vrees ingeboesem by enige iemand wat gepoog het om haar te help. Niemand het meer kans gesien om haar te help nie. Die draaipunt het gekom toe die maatskaplike werker gedreig het om haar kind weg te neem. Sy het besluit om te loop.

Wat dink sy van Huis Jabes? Mense praat van engele op aarde. As jy wil praat van ‘n engele, kyk na die mense van Huis Jabes. Haar trane vloei, haar stem is net bo ‘n asem. Ek en my kind sou nie meer gelewe het as dit nie vir Huis Jabes was nie. Ek het soveel om voor dankbaar te wees. Mense wat jou nie ken nie, wat nie jou familie is nie, neem jou in hulle huis. Sy vee haar wange, die trane loop, soos haar vryheid. Haar drukkie is ook sag, maar ferm vir vashou, vir asemhaal, vir amper bang vir los.

SHE at House Jabes

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The last time I saw her she was well into her pregnancy. Overwhelmed and frightened like a little bird. Now her baby is three months old already. House Jabes his first and only home. The interviewers start by asking her how her boyfriend was when she met him the first time. She does not hesitate to answer. She can still remember how he took her breath away. Within six months his behavior changed. She did not allow him to mess with her and left him. But his charm won her over and she went back to him. Within three months she was pregnant. He was not ready to be a father. The assaulting started again, he even threw a chair at her. Again she leaves him and try to find a safe place with her father. She thought that she would get support from her dad, that he would take her under his wing. Not so. Her father insisted that she get an abortion. He was also not ready to be a grandfather. She refused to get an abortion and her father forced her to return to the father of her child that does not want to be a father.

Yes, there were drugs and other illegal activities. They lived on the road, it was too dangerous to stay in one place too long. He wanted to leave her alone and left for days on end. When she was six months pregnant, he kick her with the intend of her loosing her baby. Now, he is in jail, using the same baby that he wanted to kill as an excuse to want to get out of prison.

A friend brought her to House Jabes. To her, House Jabes is family. She feels safe and she feels God. “I am who I am.” she says, self assured. She greets, thanking us that she could chat and returns to her baby sleeping safely in his bed.

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Laas toe ek haar gesien het was sy hoogswanger met haar baba. Voëltjie verskrik en oorweldig. Nou is haar seuntjie al drie maande oud. Huis Jabes sy eerste en enigste tuiste. Hoe was haar kêrel toe sy hom ontmoet het? Sy skroom nie om te antwoord nie, kan nou nog nog onthou hoe hy haar asem weggeslaan het. Binne ses maande het sy gedrag verander. Sy laat nie met haar mors nie en het hom verlaat. Maar sy sjarme het weer die oorhand gekry en sy is terug na hom. Binne drie maande was sy swanger. Hy was nie gereed vir Pa wees nie, die aanranding het weer begin en hy het haar met ‘n stoel gegooi. Weereens verlaat sy hom en gaan soek skuiling by die ander man in haar lewe, haar Pa. Sy het gedink sy gaan ondersteuning by haar Pa kry, dat hy haar onder sy vlerk sal neem. Tog nie. Hy het aangedring daarop dat sy ‘n aborsie kry. Ook hy was nie reg vir Oupa wees nie. Sy het geweier om ‘n aborsie te kry, haar Pa forseer haar toe om terug te gaan na die Pa van haar kind wat nie ‘n Pa wil wees nie. Ja daar was dwelms en ander onwettighede. Hulle het op die pad gelewe, was gevaarlik om te lank op een plek te bly. Hy wou haar alleen los en verdwyn vir dae. Toe sy ses maande swanger was het hy haar geskop met die hoop dat sy die baba sou verloor. Nou is hy in die tronk en dieselfde baba wat hy nie wou hê nie, gebruik hy nou as verskoning om uit die tronk te kom.

n Vriendin het haar na Huis Jabes gebring. Huis Jabes is vir haar familie, niks anders nie. Sy voel veilig en sy voel God. Ek is wie ek is, sê sy, selfverseker. Sy groet, se dankie dat sy kon gesels en gaan terug na haar baba wat veilig in sy bedjie lê.

Another Huis Jabes interview

With the end of one lady’s story, another war veteran is ready to share her life story. Another one familiar with the gravel road. She looks almost excited to share tell her story. She opt to turn her back to the camera, would rather not link her face to her story. What is hidden in her journey? What was forced on her being?

He was also a wonderful man at the beginning. A good man, bright and clever. At least he created the illusion that he was a good man. For six months he was a good person. He continued studying for his masters degree. That woke something in him. He became moody, started to verbally abuse her. The criticism and words of destruction was flowing freely. The more he focused on his studies, the worse it got. She had to hear that there was nobody better than him. Perhaps he wanted to convince himself, starting with her to build his delusion of grandeur. It must be hard work to constantly convince other people of how good and clever you are. Financially she was dependent on him. Is that not what many of them do to tighten their hold on you?

Her lowest low came twice. She remembers her son being three days old. Her cesarean wound was still raw and painful. It was a big day for her newborn to sleep in his bed for the first time. To her, it was also a big day. She offered help with the internet, just wanted to help him. He did not want help, because he knows better. The other time their son was lying in bed with them. What she said wrong she cannot remember, is it really important? He lost it and almost broke her neck, with their son next to them.

So many stories went through her mind last night, she says, but these are the ones that stuck. It does not make the other incidents less important. How do you discern between a kick and a punch with the fist. Does it loose impact when you are already so beaten up and deaf to all the shouting?

House Jabes gave her a new chance in life. She had to learn not to be constantly scared, and to trust other people. Sometimes in life, your biggest threat comes from you inner circle. It hurts so much, and you battle to see an outcome, just stay positive, God will carry you. This being her message to other women.

Looking back now, she cannot believe where she was. She was robbed of even her smile. Never again will she hide her smile. And when we see her smile, it is real. Her laugh and eyes meet and approach life together, as one.

Die einde van een se storie is die begin van ‘n volgende oorlogsveteraan se lewensverhaal. Nog een wat ken van grondpad. Sy lyk amper opgewonde om haar storie met ons te deel. Sy draai haar rug op die kamera. Wil liewers nie haar gesig aan haar storie koppel nie. Wat is dit wat opgesluit lê in haar storie, dit wat afgeforseer was op haar menswees. Ook hy was ‘n wonderlike man aan die begin. Goeie man, slim, hy het die indruk geskep dat hy ‘n goeie mens is. Vir ses maande was hy ‘n goeie mens. Hy het verder studeer aan sy meestersgraad, die slim man wat hy is. Dit het iets in hom verander. Hy het buierig geraak, haar verbaal begin mishandel, die kritiek en afbreekwoorde het gevloei. Hoe meer hy op sy studies gefokus het, het dit erger geraak. Sy moes weet dat daar niemand beter as hy is nie. Dalk wou hy homself oortuig en het hy by haar begin om sy grootheidswaan te onderhou. Dit moet geweldige harde werk wees om konstant ander mense te oortuig hoe goed en slim jy is. Finansieël was sy afhanklik van hom. Is dit nie wat baie van hulle doen om hulle houvas te versterk nie.

Haar laagste laag het twee maal aangebreek. Sy onthou haar seun was drie dae oud. Haar keisersnee nog rou en seer. Dit was ‘n groot dag vir haar baba wat die eerste maal in sy eie bedjie geslaap het. Vir haar was dit ook ‘n groot dag, sy is vir die eerste maal deur hom aangerand, geskop, het met moeite gekeer want haar lyf was nog operasie-vars.

Sy wou net help, met die internet, sy wou hom net help. Hy wou nie gehelp wees nie, hy is mos slim. Ander keer toe lê hulle seuntjie by hulle in die bed. Wat dit was wat sy gesê het kan sy nie onthou nie, is dit regtig belangrik? Hy het dit verloor en amper haar nek gebreek, terwyl hulle kind langs haar lê.

Soveel stories sê sy, het gisteraand deur haar kop gegaan, maar hierdie is die wat vasgesteek het. Dit maak nie die ander minder belangrik nie. Hoe onderskei jy tussen ‘n skop of ‘n vuishou. Raak erg vir jou minder erg as jy reeds vuisvoos geslaan en doof geskreeu is?

Huis Jabes het haar ‘n kans op lewe gegee. Sy moes leer om nie die hele tyd bang te wees nie en om mense weer te vertrou. Soms kom die grootste bedreiging op jou lewe uit jou binnesirkel. Dit is nou seer, jy sien nie ‘n uitkoms nie, bly positief, die Here sal jou uitdra. As sy nou terugkyk, kan sy nie glo waar sy was nie. Sy was beroof van selfs haar glimlag. Nooit weer steek sy haar glimlag weg nie. En sy glimlag regtig van binne, haar lag en haar oë ontmoet mekaar en loop saam die lewe tegemoed.85f06833015dbd5e386c41ee36ca45c9