Updated 18 September 2013

I am a survivor

Her stepfather hunted down her mother and shot her five times, leaving her orphaned at 15. But that's not the end of this Health24 reader's story.


I am a survivor and fighter of domestic violence.

My father died when I was 18 months old and my mother remarried when I was 14 years old.  By the time I was 15 years old she was dead.  My stepfather hunted her down like an animal and shot her five times in broad daylight.  Two days later he was dead after being discovered by the cops and he shot himself like the coward he was.

My sister and I had to go and live with my maternal grandparents which in itself was a challenge due to the age difference and because our grandparents didn’t understand the impact of this on us.

I had to go for therapy at the request of my school headmaster, as he noticed the almost deliberate change.  I did a full 360 in terms of my behaviour, needs, attitude and approach to others and the world.  Many of them not the best of decisions or choices but for the most part hung on to the values and morals I was taught by my mother before her death.  My  mom didn’t have much, but that which she had she fought for and left him.  She moved into a bachelor flat and we were in boarding school. 

That is how we lived and we were very happy. I had my mom and she loved us dearly, deeply and profoundly.  It was evident in what she taught us growing up.  Fight for what you want and never look anyone else in the eye for anything that you want or have.  Do it on your own because you can.  That way noone can every take anything away from you!

A long journey

Now, I am a 35 year old mother of a 13 year old boy, and I’ve come a long way to be where I am today.  I’ve had to fight for every little thing I’ve accomplished and all the while doing this without the luxury of going to varsity.  I went straight into work after school and studied through college in my spare time. 

There are many times when I miss her, in the flesh but mostly to have experienced the expression on her face when I found out I was pregnant, or when I got married, or when I got my heart broken for the first time, or when I had my son, or when I got my first job, or when I got fired from my job, or when I got divorced, or when I bought my house, or when I bought my first car or even just for my son to experience her and her attitude towards life.  My mother was just amazing.  Never swore a day in her life and always gave of herself to others and put their needs above her own.

My mother was my world and she did everything she could to protect my sister and I and herself from this monster of a man, but he wanted her dead and that, we didn’t have control over.  It happened.

So alas, my point ladies is this, “If it’s important to you, you will make a plan.  If it’s not, you’ll make excuses!”  If not for yourself, do it for your children.  They will when they’re older acknowledge your strength and that will be a tool they will use for the rest of their lives when faced with a  difficult situation.

Don’t be selfish and think of why you can’t do this or that to get away / out of the situation.  Just do it!! Your kids deserve and need you in their lives for as long as possible.

You can do it!


Are you a survivor of domestic violence? How do you cope? E-mail us your story.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Mental health & your work »

How open are you about mental illness in the workplace?

Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help

If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips.

Sleep & You »

Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia

6 things that are sabotaging your sleep

Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.