2007-11-21 : 'I can only believe in God now'

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2007-11-21 : 'I can only believe in God now'

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-11-23 06:54

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 134C344444

'I can only believe in God now'

November 21 2007 at 07:28AM

By Laura Lopez Gonzalez

"The protection order has failed. He's outside with a gun."

When she phones the police, they can hear him in the background,
screaming that he's going to kill her.

Four hours later, she is on her knees in the veld with a gun to her head.

'I can only trust God now'
It was this alleged experience that led a woman - who wants to be
identified as Monica - to lay charges against her former boyfriend,
Themba Shakespear Tshabalala.

Tshabalala has pleaded not guilty in the Vereeniging magistrate's
court to charges of kidnapping, pointing a firearm and contempt of
court for violating a protection order that Monica had obtained
against him.

On Tuesday, Monica was supported by 20 women from Orange Farm, south
of Joburg, as well as NISAA, a women's organisation working with
survivors of domestic violence, when she arrived for Tshabalala's
court appearance.

The women gathered outside the court to protest against law
enforcement agencies' frequent ill-treatment of abuse survivors.

Despite the charges in connection with the December 2006 alleged
kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend - during which Tshabalala is said to
have broken into a family residence and threatened to kill her before
taking her to a secluded stretch of veld where he threatened to shoot
her - Tshabalala spent only two days in jail before being released on
R1 000 bail.

Monica said police in Sebokeng, where she had reported the initial
cases of abuse, had largely been unsympathetic and failed to act on
her case.

She alleges they even advised her against laying charges against
Tshabalala for assaults prior to the alleged kidnapping.

She continues to fear for her life and the lives of her family,
including her eight-year-old daughter.

But now she no longer blames police for the months spent in hiding,
the sleepless nights she spent after the abuse. She blames herself.

"I have no guarantee for my life," she said. "I can't trust the
police. I can't rely on the next person. I can only trust God now,"
she said.

"I used to ask them, 'Why are you guys taking so long to act? Are you
waiting for something to happen to me?'"

Monica said she chose to contact NISAA after reading the testimony of
abuse survivor-turned-outreach worker Nonhlanhla Mashile in The Star.
She hopes others in similar circumstances can find the courage to
break their silence as well.

Mashile's tale of insensitive law enforcers resonated with Monica, who
saw progress on her case only when it was transferred from Sebokeng
police station to Orange Farm, where the investigating officer
personally delivered her protection order to Tshabalala.

According to Constable Zodwa Mbele, who is based at Orange Farm, about
20 women a week report cases of domestic violence cases at the police

The case against Tshabalala was postponed.

o This article was originally published on page 2 of The :wink: Star on November 21, 2007
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