Overcoming Violence

Stories of Gender Based Violence

Thenjiwe Chakala

Survivor

Thenjiwe Chakala

As a child the student Thenjiwe was subject to sexual harassment over several years. Through talks with other women who have experienced similar things, she has reworked the incidents. – I am better than my abuser!

Rape is a huge social problem in South Africa, and the country is among those who are topping the statistics for reported rapes. The sexual abuses Thenjiwe was subjected to began when she was a child, and the abusers were close family members. But it was not until she was raped by the priest in her parish she understood what she had been through. When she terminated the pregnancy, she felt that something was taken from her: - Something was taken from me, and something came out of me without me wanting it to happen.

Thenjiwe, a student of teaching, wishes to be an ideal for others, and will not let the abuses define her identity.
Thenjiwe, a student of teaching, wishes to be an ideal for others, and will not let the abuses define her identity.

For a long time she kept the abuses a secret due to fear of people’s reactions. However, after having participated in therapy groups organized by Gender Links, she chose to share her history with other survivors. This was a crucial decision, and she now feels that she has managed to get a step further. Now she works as a volunteer giving advice and support to others who has experienced gender based violence: - You must never let it break you down. Abuse creates low self-confidence, and you criticize yourself and think that you are no good for anything. But we must overcome! Tell yourself, “I am better than my abuser”.

Thenjiwe thinks it is important to talk about abuses. Here talking with Matsheliso Tawe Tsotetsi and  Rose Kwebu.
Thenjiwe thinks it is important to talk about abuses. Here talking with Matsheliso Tawe Tsotetsi and Rose Kwebu.
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