Trigger warning: please note -the following stories contain sensitive material about sexual and dating violence and may cause physiological and psychological symptoms for people with anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These are first-hand experiences as told by women affected by gender-based violence. It is unedited and published with their full consent. Please read these stories with empathy and know that these women are survivors.
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I’m OLIVIA PITERSEN and im a 39 years of age with three children two girls and one boy.
Growing up as a young girl in a godly home I got involved with a guy at the age of 15 years old moving on to 16 I found myself in a relationship with a gangster where I was physical abused, as time went by I accepted the abuse because I feared leaving him being so young and gullable and rebelled against my parents and choosed him over my family and friends that was only looking out for me, I then stayed in the relationship knowing that he took my virginity and that I should stay no matter what, became headstrong and accepting the abuse he put fear into me by saying that if I leave him he would kill me because im his, made me up against others and my family he would hit me and then seconds after that he would have sex with me and I found comfort only in him and started having children from him.
My first born was at the age of 21 years of age and five years after that I had a boy and 9 months after a girl baby, the abuse went on and got worst and worst i started fearing him because this guy was jealous and possessive and kept me from a lot of things he never supported me with the kids threatened me for money because he used drugs if I don’t have or get money for him he would hit me and it ended up leaving my children by my parents and started running away from home to be with him because then he controlled my life and listened to everything he would tell me.
Being involve with him and because he was a gangster my life was in danger because I got marked from other gangs but thank god the lord protected my life from a lot of weird stuff revolving gangsterism and they respected me because he would want to kill them if they harmed me in his state of mind only he could abuse me but I witnessed what they would do to young girls but I encouraged the girls when I got the opportunity to te them not to get involve with the gangsters because my heart broke when I looked at these girls enjoying this environment.
My family warned me but I just did’nt want to listen and caused tremendelous problems at home and he would cause damage to there home and they got hard in there hearts towards me but there prays kept me. I was so caught up in my situation and crises that I pushed away the help given to me.
My life was then like a roller coaster and found myself in situations where I could have been dead but gods mercy and grace was so sufficient because people would question why I got away and how I escaped death all the tym through hectic situations it was unbelievable and harm was never done to me through being involve with gangsters, god protected my life all the tym. I would make cases of assault but would drop them after a while thinking that the physical abuse would stop but no it did not but I just allowed it over and over again and it never stopped.
It went on up till the age of 31 years of age when I was basically broken and shattered and could’nt take the pain no more until I cried out to god and told him I had enough and that he should remove this man from my life because its been years and my whole youth was taken from me because I started going through suicidle thoughts and I would cry and ask god to please help and ask god to forgive me for the choices I made as a young girl, I started wanting to give up on myself and blaming myself, it damaged me from the inside because I became angry, aggressive, bitter, resented and miserable and cold towards my children and family and friends but people still embraced me because they knew me from the inside and im a very forgiving person no matter what u would do to me. I started looking down on myself and started believing that I was not worth of anything good. God saw my pain all along and lifted that burden in that same year and my boyfriend was shot dead loving this man so much because he was the only one that I was ever involve with for all my years because of fear and knowing his the father of my children it also broke me because he was the only man I ever knew all of those years, because of being abused all those years a year later in my vulnerability stage feeling empty not knowing how to deal and blaming myself and telling myself I asked god to help me and saying to myself I prayed him dead. In my vulnerability stage in my life dealing with all of my mixed emotions feeling lonely and empty and missing this man that abused me I found myself in another abusive relationship with a close friend of my belated boyfriend, comforting me and making himself available to me whenever I felt down at out.
I pushed my children away not knowing the damage I was causing in there lives and not worriying about there feelings my life went worst and never knew how to deal with life and ended up using tik and thought it would ease my pain. I neglected my children but thank god he put my children in the care of my parents which are god fearing, I put my children through hell and was then never there for them but I loved them to bits they my life god gave them to me, because of them being so young the time there father died they had so many questions and I could’nt deal with that so I did’nt want to be around them and I knew I broke them because they needed me the most but I just could’nt handle that. I tried to hide my feelings but it was so visible at that time I felt so weak and no one really understood me and could relate to me and then my family started pushing me away and telling me that I dont want to listen because of my behavior but gods grace is so sufficient but the abuse with the new guy went on for another five years, another one doing the exact same as my previous relationship because I thought that was the type of guys for me, it was then a cycle I was going through and it needed to stop, this guy would steal for a living and feed me with a lot of money, doing drugs together, not be there for my children, stay away from home for weeks and come back as if it was’nt wrong towards my kids, lose my jobs, fight with family members, being disrespectful towards my family and friends and just did’nt care, messing up my childrens character and the list can go on.
Then on the 17 of January 2019 a turn around came im my life were I found myself at sisters incorporated not wanting to go there recommended by a friend of mine battleling to go because jst a week before I got beaten up by this new guy having a dash in my head having 4 stitches and bruises thinking I was gonna die that was a I eye opener that enough is enough and no more, gods grace was being extended to me all the time and it was like god was telling me this is your time for change. I now realize that healing needs to take place and im making room for it, suffering of all da suffering and trauma of all these years I believe god brought me to a point in my life where I realized that I have a purpose and a calling whereby I can encourage young girls not to go that life and go for better and there is so much better out there. I now want to be a better example to my children and where I lost out god is going to restore and that they could be proud to say that’s my mom and the person I turned out to be because god can and he is busy transforming me and I just give him all the glory because he does everything so perfect. Thank you for your unfailing love and giving me a chance to give room for

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