16 Days.

16 Days of Abuse. [Part One]


I was 17, pregnant & stuck in a relationship I didn’t want to be in, but felt I had to.  I had run away with this man, chosen him in an ultimatum my mother had given me, and moved 8 hours away without telling anyone.  We left in the middle of the night and I clearly remember my best friend Britt phoning me in tears when she’d found out I was living in Jo’burg.

“You’re making a mistake, Sheen, you know you are” were her words.  “But I love him, and he worships me like no one else has ever done” was my reply.

Three weeks into having me isolated from every one, every thing and every place that was familiar to me, I met the true side to my boyfriend for the first time.  Suddenly, he wouldn’t let me out of his sight.  I wasn’t supposed to speak to men.  He called me every hour, on the hour, at work – “just to check”.  For what, I have no idea.  Infidelity, maybe?  Playing hookie?  Lying to him about where I was?  Who knows.  Except him, because he called me every hour, on the hour.  So much so, that I was eventually fired.

Little did I know, this was perfect according to his plan.  Now I was at home all day, right where he wanted me.  “No temptation” he called it.

I wasn’t stupid.  I knew this wasn’t right.  I knew that Love wasn’t like this.  I knew that I had to get out.  I also knew, however, that if I angered him, I’d feel it emotionally, sexually, physically & mentally. Just like the time he walked in to find me smoking.  I was made to eat an entire box of cigarettes as if I were a 12 year old school girl.

You see, every time I wanted to leave, he’d threaten to kill himself.  Once that novelty had worn off and I started realizing it was his rationality, he threatened to kill my family.  That scared me right down to the very soul of Me.

Eventually, after a year of my friends not being allowed to call, or my dad not having the ability to see me without him around, or the idea of my mom having me for a few days on holiday alone was shot down, I chose to leave.

Despite the threats.  Despite my fear.  Despite the anxiety leaving him left me with.  Despite being pregnant.

I spoke to my father, who was near by.  I spoke to my mom, who booked me a ticket.  And then I made my plans.  I remember very clearly one afternoon packing my bags hurriedly while he was away at work, looking over my shoulder and my heart freezing over at every chirp, foot step or leaf rustle, in case he was home and I was too late.

When I broke away, to the safety of my fathers house a few kilometers away, I lay in bed and cried.  Eventually, when I had no tears left – I closed my eyes.  But the image of his face, anger and psychosis in his eyes, his hands wrapped around my neck, me with tears pouring down my cheeks, appeared.  Every time.  I was too terrified to stay, too terrified to leave, too terrified to breathe.

I answered my dad’s home line the next day.  What I heard chilled me to the bone.  Gulp, “that’s number 1 down”.  Gulp, “that’s number 2… number 6… number 10… number 46” Gulp, gulp, gulp.  Sleeping tablets, I was told.  I was in such a state that words couldn’t form in my head.  “The reason I’m doing this, so you can inform my old mother, is because of you.  You don’t love me.  You love someone else.  And so, I’m going to die.  Engrave this in your head and retell it to my mother.  Tell her what a whore you are.  Tell her that you broke my heart.  Tell her that you are evil, and come from Satan’s loins”.

Engraved in my memory, it certainly is.  Except the man went and had his stomach pumped straight after the phone call, I’m told.  A month later, after being home with my mom and transforming myself into a total hermit, I wouldn’t leave the house.  Everytime I changed my number, he’d call me.  He’d phone the family house phone at 4 am in the morning.  He stalked a male friend of mine at work.  He pitched up at the house one Friday night with 2 cars loaded with armed, black men.  The minute they saw my cop brother, in uniform, they fled.

That was the start of a long, threatening and very scary time for my family and I.  It ended with him in a jail cell, knees shaking and my mom crying.  I refused to go to the holding cell, and with me not there – my mom begged him to leave me alone.  He’d given me a beautiful, blue eyed and red haired daughter and she saw all her grand daughter’s features in the biological father he was but never stepped up to.  And so, he was put on a bus and that was the last I heard of him, for a few years.  But the next meeting was on my terms and purely for closure.

I was one of the lucky ones.  Yes, I’d been abused.  Yes, I was traumatized.  But more importantly, yes- I survived.  So many other women are not so lucky.  My great aunt, for instance, was abused for years and finally murdered by her abusive alcoholic husband.  My mom’s sister nearly went insane with the abuse she endured from her fiancé.  My own mother was abused for many a years by a man I no longer wish to remember. My gran was married to a sick, sick man who abused not only her, but her daughters as well.

I’ve experienced it, loathed it, feared it and ultimately, over come it.  Help me, to help others, to do the same.  By spreading the word.  By creating awareness.  By encouraging those loved ones you know are going through a similar situation.

Save a woman.  Save a child.  Save a life.  Stand up and help us to say NO MORE ABUSE.

Please notice the banner I’ve had displayed on this blog for a few days already.  Click through to the site, educate yourself and pass it on. I encourage all fellow bloggers to put up the banner on your site.


  1. cath says:

    Nice to know we’re both doing this.

    I know you and I have always known of each others struggles here.

    HELL you were the FIRST PERSON I TOLD.

    Love you X

  2. StevenMcD says:

    That must’ve taken a lot of courage to write. You’ve come through a helluva lot for one person. You are awesome and we love you lots!

  3. Briget says:

    “Yes, I’d been abused. Yes, I was traumatized. But more importantly, yes- I survived.”

    I think I speak for everyone here when I say.. Thank you for surviving, Thank you for being strong enough to walk away, Thank you for being you and Thank You for being in our lives…


  4. Murakh says:

    You know, its not *only* women who are abused / manipulated by death threats etc. And not all men are abusers!
    Maybe more education is needed .. to show that “because he loves me” is not an acceptable excuse … to prevent women from being easy targets
    Sheena – great, you got out, you overcame it. Yet you havent. Let it go, it happened, but is in the past. It is really worrying seeing (listening to) women of 40+ who were abused at (15~20) who are still on about the same thing – never learning from it, always making it the prime topic of conversation and always tainting their view of men….

  5. Nicole says:

    Sheena…..words escape me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your courage in speaking out like this. When I got involved with this campaign last year, it took hold of my heart – for this reason – the incredible, tenacious, courageous people I have had the honour to meet, interact with and learn from. Nicole @ MANGO-OMC.

  6. Guy McLaren says:

    Hmm, Abuse is a thing on my mind. My family just had it’s generosity abused by someone. I lived next door to a bloke that beat his wife regularly. We helped three times, but the fourth time she came knocking I told her to piss off.

    She was given an out on all the previous occassions and kept coming back for more. You would think I was talking years with 4 major issues but it was a matter of three months.

    Sheena, I am very impressed that you got out and stayed out. It is my opinion that some women desire the abuse, else why would they go back only days later and submit themselves and their children to the abuse.

    I have sympathy but it does not extend to stupidity. If he smacks you once, he will do it again and again and again. Get the fuck out after the first klap, else you are being stupid.

  7. Shebee says:

    On second thought, Murakh, unbite me. You may have a point. While I absolutely agree that it’s not only women who are abused, I cannot stand by and let you judge me by your assumption that I haven’t moved on. You don’t know me, dude. And until you do, as they say in Afrikaans, hou jou bek.

    That said, women “who are still on about the same thing – never learning from it, always making it the prime topic of conversation and always tainting their view of men” obviously still need all the help they can get. Not negative, judgemental commenters like you who make us ashamed to speak out.

    I think you might have missed the point. The next 16 days is all about us “speaking out”. That doesn’t mean we’re harping on, it means we’re sharing our stories.

    Kind of the whole point to this campaign. Dude.

  8. Shebee says:

    Guy I agree whole heartedly. Once a beater, always a beater.

    And funnily enough, I can understand how you turned her away after the 4th time. Unfortunately, as much as we wish for help, and to help others, no one can be helped unless they truly want to be.

  9. The Goose says:


    Love you so much – Your story has encouraged me to finally share mine – you’re right – this 16 days is about speaking out.

    So watch this space… it’s gonna be hard to write but it’s about having the courage to overcome shame.

  10. Murakh says:

    Hmm, too sensitive Sheena, with the exception of saying I think you are (completely) not over it, my post is not directed at *you* specifically. You too dont know me and what I have experienced or why I say or dont say the things I do.
    For those who need to speak out, speak out – problems shared are problems halved, for those who have, dont continually dredge up the past. For those using it to seek sympathy (and there are those) ((and that is not directed at anyone) …
    And Guy, yeah, I agree, after the second time its pretty definite it will happen again, people shouldnt go back – was pondering this … people (abusers) cannot just take control either, but need to be given the power to abuse. And we all have to accept some responsibilty for our decisions.

  11. Elle says:

    That’s hectic, I can never imagine anything like that or be able to summon the strength that you had to relive it in that piece. Thanks for sharing my friend, you’re a gem. xoxo

  12. Po says:

    Wow Sheebee that is intense. I know people like him. I know women like him who abuse men too. I am so glad you got out of that safely in the end but it must have been terrifying!

  13. stalker says:

    Your a strong woman Shee and in the short time of three years I have known you (properly because school was just a blur) you have grown so much, you have let true nightmares go and embraced life to the fullest. Your my hero!

    My story is my easier than yours but still its clear in my head and makes its way into my memories when I would rather not remember it. Sleeping in closets is something I will never do again and I hope this campaign gives women the strength to see there is light, there is strength and they have the choice. Not all threats are empty but there are ways around them.

  14. flarkus says:

    I can certainly attest to there being abusive, exploitative females out there, As Po said.

    Having experienced psychological abuse from my first ever romantic interest (to the extent of being threatened with suicide and violence towards my family), I reckon the human psyche is strange thing.

    The answer lies in communicating. Without it, no-one can be helped.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Vir wie dit mag lees.
    Ek het `n dogter wat vir 16 jr mishandel is deur haar man so erg dat sy nou aan Bipolere Stres skietsovreenie.

    Kom ek begin by die begin hy het haar en die klein kinders vir jare van ons af weg gehou en toe eendag kontak gemaak en gevra of my dogter en die kinders by ons kan kom keier vir drie weke, ons as groot ouers was baie opgewonde want nou kan ons darem `n band van liefde skep tussen ons en die klein kinders. Groot was ons skok toe hy hulle van Rustenburg af bring na ons toe in Phalaborwa, die kinder was maar en uit geteer ons dogter was op haar laaste swanger met haar vyde kind sy en die kinders het omtrent nie klere gehad nie en daar was glad nie voorsiening gemaak vir die nuwe baba wat op pad was nie ek moes my dogter met wietamines stook om haar sterk genoeg te maak vir die geborte van die nuwe baba, dit het ons presies drie weke gevat voordat ons die kinder gekry het om kos in te hou in daai tyd het ons nog niks van die pa gehoor nie. Toe die tyd nader kom vir die baba se geboorte het my dogter haar man gebel en gevra vir geld waar op hy geantwoord het, alwaar voor ek goedgenoeg is, as jy geld wil he. na drie maande het hy daarop gedaag en vir ons gevra of ons dogter en die kinders tot die einde van die jaar daar kan bly maar op daai staduim het my man sy werk verloor en toe is hy daar weg met ons dogter en die kinders ons het vir `n helle paar maande nie van hulle gehoor nie toe ons ander dogter die kans kry om haar sus en die kinders te sien , was sy baie geskok hy het hulle weer eens gelos en in Richardsbaai GAAN BLY sy het tot die kinders se kombersies moes gaan pant om vir hulle kos te gee maar weer eens het hy gesorg dat sy swanger is met die sesde kind hy het gewyer dat sy voorbehoed middels gebruik. toe hy besluit het dat hy hulle genoeg gestraf het

    My dogter kon nie meer nie sy is toe na mense toe wat vroue en kinders moet beskerim teen mishandeling tot haar groot ver basing word sy toe veggestoot en haar dogter en ons dogter se man knoop toe `n verhouding aan het hy hulle weer gaan haal hy het hulle weer eens in spriengs gaan af laai sondr niks nie eers kos vir die kinders nie sy woorde was hulle moet wag tot hy weer kom en tyd het om vir hulle kos te bring een van my dogter se broers wat ook op daai staduim in spriengs gebly het op haar en die kinders af gekom, en sy ouer broer gekontak wat haar en die ses kinders toe in geneem het ons het almal proebeer help maar de pa wou met niks help nie, ons was by verskilende welsein organiesasie maar van hulp was daar geen sprake nie ons dogter was so erg gedramatieseer sy was vir 3 weke in denmar kliniek gewees voor hy haar en die kinders in Spriengs gaan af laai het, ons het haar by verskilende psgiaters gehad en hulle almal die selfde gese toe my seun nie meer na die kinders kon om sien nie het die pa die kinder gevat en nou speel hy nog steets sy sielkundige speletjies met ons dogter sy eie pa was in die tronk vir kinder monesteering nou wil ons net graag weet is dit net sommer iets ligterliks al die atvetensies van die 16 dae vir mishandelde vroue en kinders of is daar iewerste hulp

    baie hardseer ouer en bekommerde ouers van witbank

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