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Question
Posted by: Lynne | 2004/10/25

This country is killing me....

Dear Cybershrink
How does one handle the general lawlessness, crime and violence that we South Africans are subjected to on an almost daily basis? I have reached the point where I am ready to give up, leave everything behind and hide away someplace (but where??).
I used to be a positive, happy and productive person, but this past year has just about destroyed me.
In January 2004 my best friend was hijacked in her own driveway. She was severely assaulted and locked in a bathroom, separated from her 2 young daughters while the robbers cleared out her house and eventually fled in her new car. By the mercy of the Lord they all escaped physically OK but very traumatised. The entire family is still struggling to come to terms with the episode.
In April of this year my much-loved 17 year old son – an only child – was killed in a senseless road accident. He was an experienced moto-crosser who lived for his sport and his motorcycles. He was simply run over on a quiet Saturday afternoon by a drunken taxi driver, hurt so badly that he died on the road while the ambulance took 30 minutes to respond to several calls. My son has been ripped from our lives forever, while the taxi driver “has disappeared”, according to the very disinterested police officer. Needless to say, my family has been devastated and the hurt will never heal. I have been reduced to a robot, because the pain is just too much to face.
And this past Friday, my 70 year old mother-in-law and a friend were hijacked at a traffic light in broad daylight, travelling in the other lady’s 20 year old car. They were held at gunpoint, assaulted and robbed of all their personal belongings. When my mother’s wedding band was too tight to remove, one of the hijackers tried to remove it with his teeth before fleeing with the car. She is now on anti-retroviral treatment, and receiving trauma counselling. Again, a family has been all but destroyed.
CS, I feel that life is worthless in this country. I look at fellow commuters on the roads every day, and see total disregard for others and the law. Are we slowly descending into an animal state, where we take what we want and human values and morals be damned?
I for one cannot wait to leave this place called earth, because I obviously do not have the strength and capacity for this “life”. And frankly I choose not to “live” like this!!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Lynne, what a horible series of horrible events. it's not that life is worthless in this country, but that far too many people in this country don't value anyone else's lives at all, and don't value their own very much. I understand your feelings of despair. When I lived and worked overseas, in Britain, Canada, America, Germany --- except for meeting people in tragic circumstances when I was working in Casualty, nobody I knew, as a friend, co-worker, colleague, had ever been a victim of crime. The majority of people in such countries have not been victimized. Since I've been back in SA the position has reversed --- I no longer know ANYBODY, in any way, who has NOT been a victim of crime. And the sad fact is that the authorities really and truly do NOT care about this, and their decisions and actions speak of far greater sympathy with perpatrators and victims, and there is no efort put into the surely necessary broad cultural shift towards a universal condemnation by all cultures and communities of all these phenomena of selfish violence and predatory behaviour.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Lucia | 2004/10/25

Hi Lynne

Those are terrible things to happen to any one person and my deepest sympathy wrt your son. I cannot for the life of me even try to comprehend how you cope with the loss of a child and such a terrible way of loosing him as well.

I myself have just this morning almost had a heart attack because my ex-husband has suggested that my two sons (aged 19 & 16) drive all the way alone from Pretoria to Cape Town (in a 1992 Uno). My eldest has had his drivers licence for 6 months now.

My ex has now told me that I am paranoid because I think the idea is absolutely stupid. I have now cancelled all holiday plans because I am not prepared to place my childrens life's in danger.

Am I being paranoid ??

These awful, terribly things happen to people on a daily basis - let's face it, we cannot do things we used to do 20 years ago. The person that tells me we are living in a safe country needs to have his/her head read. I know we should not be putting our lives on hold because we are scared something might happen to us, but let's get real, why go looking for trouble if surviving on a daily basis alone takes all we've got.

I read things like your "story" and you know what, it's not a "story" - it's a damn reality and believe it or not, there are still people out there thinking this only happens to other people.

Lynne, I hear you and I know there is nothing I can say, but believe me if I say that you are not alone and many, many have suffered these awful losses but we all survive somehow or another. I think your son would have wanted you to go on, I am convinced he would have been awfully unhappy to know that this terrible world his gotten his mom down. He needs a smile - live for your son and for yourself, celebrate his life as he would have wanted you to do.

Thinking of you

Reply to Lucia
Posted by: Grey and Blue Boy | 2004/10/25

Hello Lynne

When I read your message, it brought tears to my eyes. I feel the same but even more disgruntled because I need to build a future in this hell hole. Yes people might say that the grass is not always greener on the other side, bugger them trust me I bet you it is. Do you also get the feeling that this country is dragging you down that every day is a struggle to survive just getting from point A to point B is emotional torture. I am 22years old and a student at university, but I do not have any support what so ever no perants nothing, trying to do everything myself. I am so deep in study debt that it can drive me over the edge. I have found that people in South Africa has the attitude of your problems are your own and a lack of interest in others the general i dont care attitude.... Most of my friends that return from working holidays in Europe get so depressed that they want to scream they say that life overseas is so much easier e.g. public transport, and the living cost is so low. Yes they say you can't escape crime but the crime their is less inhumane more petty theft like pic-pocketing. If I get the chance to leave I will cause I to do not have the strength and capacity for this kind of "life". This land where the milk is sour and the honey rank. I am sorry to say Lynne but it is not going to get better here go now get the ball rolling today leave this place for less sunnier skies, or maybe even a colder climate but It will be worth your while and sanity and LIFE. I don't know whats going to happen to me though i dont even feel like finishing my studies cause I'll just get deeper into debt and what future is there here no one can find any decent jobs around here. But I know this I will not let this country get me down!!!! I wont let it break me!!! We can't change it We can't beat it And We won't join it. Just pray to God for strength, hold your head up high, look above the horizon, and be annoyingly happy(greet everyone) Make your own happy-ness, and cry bawl your eyes out it's cleansing, and soothing..... till later, you are not alone...

Reply to Grey and Blue Boy
Posted by: Me | 2004/10/25

Hang in there my sister, and by God's grace and love everything will be fine. I know what u are going through right now and may the lord have mercy on the people who kill others for nothing.

We love u and always will be in our prayers.

God Bless u.

Reply to Me

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