‘A partner that loves you will never want to be the reason for your pain’
30 Nov 2020
By Samantha Malebana
A woman from Kingsburgh, south of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, has written a non-fiction book, not only to share her story about the abuse she endured for years at the hands of her ex fiancé but also to inspire others, particularly young people, not to tolerate abuse.
Lerato Tandiwe Ngubane (39), who got diagnosed with hearing impairment in 2010, wrote By the Grace of God detailing how she became disabled as a result of 10 long years of abuse during which her fiancé broke her arm and four front teeth, shaved off her hair and caused her to suffer three miscarriages.
“I look back and question why I allowed myself to be intimidated into staying even though the treatment was unbearable.
“I lived in a community that believes that when your partner beats you up it means he loves you and he is just trying to discipline you. I ended up registering that in my head and endured the pain, but I can tell you now that a partner that loves you will never want to be the reason behind your pain,” Ngubane says.
According to Statistics South Africa, as of 2019 almost 50% of assaults experienced by women were committed by someone close –22% by friends or acquaintances, 15% by a spouse or intimate partner and 13% by a relative or other household member.
Ngubane’s godmother, Gugu Mkhize (56) told ThisAbility that, “I remember when she came back to visit me after her problems with Sizwe (former fiancé). She was deaf and her body was swollen due to stress. After our visit to two doctors they both confirmed that Lerato was totally deaf.
“Knowing Lerato and how ambitious she was, it broke my heart,” Mkhize said.
At the time, Ngubane was doing tracing work part-time. She lost the job when she became deaf because the job required a hearing person.
She says she could not tell anyone about the abuse because she felt humiliated and exposed, “so my laptop became my friend and that is when I started writing this book”. She decided to turn her unfortunate circumstances into a warning to other women.
Ngubane, who is working on a second book, encourages women to speak up and to seek help immediately when they see the first signs of aggression.
“The experience I went through has given me a better understanding of God’s love: to help other young women who might be going through what I went through and to give them hope that it is not too late to walk away; to love themselves enough to know their worth and the treatment they deserve,” Ngubane says.