Woman survives abusive marriage

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-A 57-year-old woman, partially blinded by an abusive husband of five years, says through help women can overcome any abuse.

The gender-based violence victim, Helga Kubas, who now lives at a secret shelter offering assistance to abused women, was physically and sexually abused by her former convict husband.

Kubas suffered the abuse together with her two grandchildren she took in after their mother had abused them.

Kubas is completely blind in one eye while she partially sees with the other.
Kubas said her husband also sodomised boys and raped women while they were married.

“I want to tell Namibian women there is help. You can overcome the abuse. Sometimes you think that if you have children and no money there is nowhere to go. But there is help. I stay in the shelter where I get everything. I don’t remember a day that I went to bed hungry,” said Kubas, adding that her needs are all taken care of.

Kubas related her story at the commemoration of International Women’s Day, celebrated at Okuryangava under the theme: ‘From peace in the home to peace in Namibia: Be bold for change.’

Kubas was placed in the shelter after visiting the Gender-Based Violence Investigation Unit one day after she had had enough of the abuse. Kubas said she went straight to a social worker to get help for her grandchildren. But the social worker told Kubas that she needed help as well.

Kubas met her husband through her daughter about seven years ago. They married five months after her husband was released from prison where he spent two years for theft.
“The first day after our marriage I was beaten. I had sold my house in Windhoek and moved to Groot Aub where I had an erf, to start a new life,” she recalled.
Kubas said one evening her husband grabbed a spade to beat her.

“I went on my knees and begged him not to beat me. The second time he beat me was because I didn’t give him ‘proper food’. He took a broomstick and beat both my legs. I had given him spaghetti and tomato sauce. But he took the warm food and threw it in my face,” related Kubas.

The abuse continued and one evening her husband stabbed her in her back, directly into her lungs, causing her voice to be husky.

Thereafter she decided to move back to Windhoek but the abuse never stopped.
Kubas said that one day when she complained she had had enough of the abuse her husband again took a broomstick and hit her in the one eye, which is now completely unsighted.

Her eye was later operated on but her husband punched her in the same eye in another assault.

The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka, said that one in three, or thirty-three percent, of married women aged 15-49 years have experienced physical, sexual or psychological abuse. These women also suffer from emotional violence from their spouse.

Sioka further said that thirty-two percent of adolescent girls aged 15-19 and thirty-five percent of young girls aged 20-24 have experienced physical violence from their partner.

She also said about six percent of women reported experiencing physical violence during pregnancy, and which predominantly happened to younger women (aged 15-24).
“Violence is higher among women with no or less education with many children, and in rural areas. While fifteen percent of women who experience physical violence never seek help,” said Sioka.

The minister said the nation needs to go back to the drawing table to examine how men and women are involved in the upbringing of children. “More children are cared for by single parents (mostly women) and a father’s presence and role is either absent or weak.”

“The consequences of gender inequality and GBV are real within families, communities and state. Government for instance has spent millions of Namibian Dollars to provide services to survivors and perpetrators of GBV.”

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