The story of …
(victim survivor has chosen to remain anonymous and not be identified)
To women out there when a man tells you that he will only allow you, the mother of his kids to raise him...that's a red flag. When he insists that you stop working...that’s another one. Don't get married if you cannot sustain yourself and potential kids on your own and don't get married In Community of Property.
The road after leaving is paved with all sorts and shapes of miserability. Yes, you can pray and pretend all is well and yet inside you feel like closing your eyes and not ever opening them again...and then you think of your kids and shake all those feelings off and muster up courage and strength to move forward...
Each lived experience is unique and yet when removing all the semantics, is the same. Lack of respect is a conscious choice and this is why I am speaking up.
When your partner/spouse takes financial institutions for granted, please know that should the relationship end and there are kids involved…you will be treated worse than the abuse you experienced, especially when they have unlimited resources and you don’t.
I have no friends and my family don’t care about me or my kids. I had to take a low paying job as I was blacklisted due to his financial irresponsibility. I wasn’t even aware that he incurred debt of over R400K even though we were married In Community of Property.
We moved to Pretoria as he got transferred and the property was rented out, the tenants paid rent but he didn’t pay the bond for almost a year. We were in Pretoria for five months when he resigned and put me out of the house. I went to the police station and I was told to take my kids and run back to CPT as men from there normally make good on threats.
I found a place for me and kids and paid 6 months in advance with money from my share of his pension as I had no credit record and only had a cash paying casual job. I had to stay in Pretoria as my daughter was in Gr.11 and a divorce pending.
I provided for my 2 children as my ex did his best to drag out the divorce, I signed and after my daughter matriculated we moved to Cape Town and again paid 6mths advance rent and double deposit, that’s how I spent my share of his pension. Advanced rent every 6months and Drs fees and other expenses for kids when he failed to pay maintenance. I sent receipts and he would let me know it’s old receipts and just paid whatever he felt like paying. This month he said he cannot pay as he is struggling even though he drove a huge Audi when he stayed in Cape Town recently for a few months. I have to prepare for no maintenance for a good while. I don’t have the inner strength to go to Maintenance Court as the thought of it makes me feel hopeless.My daughter is now an adult…and it pains me and yet it is what it is.
When I left the relationship the abuse did not change, he undermines me even though he is not in my/our lives. He was in Cape Town for over eight months and only fetched our minor child once a month for 4 four hours each time. He doesn’t contact our minor and I have to reassure and build our minor up constantly.
The road after leaving is paved with all sorts and shapes of miserability. Yes you can pray and pretend all is well and yet inside you feel like closing your eyes and not ever opening them again…and then you think of your kids and shake all those feelings off and muster up courage and strength to move forward and for a while you get great at it and then he skips payment or creates confusion in the minor child and boom just like that back to square one.
I don’t think there is enough awareness of Financial and Economic Abuse.
The Department of Justice needs to train people properly to assist with maintenance defaulters and create awareness. Defaulters should do community work and create a defaulter database so that all companies comply and do proper research even have banks comply with giving info on defaulters accounts. Impose huge fines on those assisting defaulters to hide money and assets. There are married couples with good paying jobs receiving SASSA and I get turned away cause I get Maintenance for my son, they should clamp down on this and assist people who really need it.
To women out there when a man tells you that he will only allow you, the mother of his kids to raise him…that’s a red flag. When he insists that you stop working…that’s another one. Don’t get married if you cannot sustain yourself and potential kids on your own and don’t get married In Community of Property.
(Survivor victim requested to remain anonymous for safety purposes.)
16 days of activism: story 2
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Institute for Social Development & Justice is a South African based non-profit organisation focused on transforming gendered economic inequality through social development and economic and financial protection (and recovery) through the enforcement of maintenance agreements and enforcement of domestic violence protection orders. Our aim is to continue after 16 days of activism to bring about change and strive for 365 days of activism against GBV and abuse.