The story of …
(victim survivor has chosen to remain anonymous and not be identified)
If you feel red flags from the beginning, walk away from the relationship. An abuser such as this usually acts slowly to control your finances until you realize that you can’t leave because you will have no money to start over.
Throughout our relationship he slowly took control of my money and expenses and would lecture me if I spent my own money on myself. He even got angry and aggressive one day when he saw I had bought my own shoes...
It has been 10 years since I started dating my ex, and we have been divorced for nearly 1 year. I struggle with Post Traumatic Stress disorder, anxiety, panic attacks, night terrors and flashbacks. I see a psychiatrist once a month who is helping me to work through the trauma. I was in a 9 year long relationship that started when I was 15. He raped me. I ended up marrying him at the age of 22 and getting divorced by the time I was 25.
Throughout our relationship he slowly took control of my money and expenses and would lecture me if I spent my own money on myself. He even got angry and aggressive one day when he saw I had bought my own shoes, and said that that’s his job (buying me gifts), to which I responded that he never gets me anything for my birthday, and wanted to spoil myself. At first, when I wanted a separation, he love bombed me, suddenly buying me gifts, offering to take me in on holiday, writing love letters and generally just being much nicer in a sickeningly sweetness. Once I made it clear we were separated and I wanted a divorce, he became ugly, even stalking me.
I hope other people can read my story and know that it is possible to get out of a bad relationship or marriage.
People don’t understand economic abuse, I think many people think that a good couple is capable of sharing finances for household costs, but each party should have the luxury of spending money on their own needs and wants.
Women don’t speak out because they are scared, I never knew if my ex was seeing the things I posted about self-healing etc and feared what he would do if he did see it. I think it is mostly fear based and being afraid that the justice system will not protect us because of the nature of our abuse. I opened a case of rape against my ex which was dropped by the prosecutor.
I would like to see the government incorporate subjects like this into the syllabus, say in Life Orientation. I would like the government to place more emphasis on this kind of abuse so that women feel comfortable seeking help. Social support groups would also be helpful for many women, who find the process very difficult to get through alone, I am supported by friends, family and my therapist/psychiatrist.
If you feel red flags from the beginning, walk away from the relationship. An abuser such as this usually acts slowly to control your finances until you realize that you can’t leave because you will have no money to start over. It’s so easy to start a Capitec or Tyme account which you can use to begin stashing money so you can get away safely.
16 days of activism: story 3
16 days of activism: story 4
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.