AS the 16 Days of Activism campaign period draws to a close, two Nelson Mandela Bay residents shared their stories of surviving violence and abuse at the hands of their partners. Sharon Plaatjies, 29, and Wanitta Stowels, 23, both spent six months recovering from the abuse at the KwaNobuhle One Stop Centre.
The centre celebrated 10 years of helping abused women and children on Friday.
The facility, established in 2005, offers counselling to victims of rape, domestic violence and human trafficking.
After three years of suffering abuse at the hands of ex-boyfriend, Plaatjies, of KwaNobuhle, finally decided she had had enough and took her two children and left. She described the man as a bully. “It started with a single slap when he was angry and I let that go but with time the beatings became serious.
“He would beat me to such a point that I didn’t even recognise myself,” she said.
“He would beat me up for back-chatting or when we had a disagreement. I realised I would leave this relationship with one eye so I told him I was leaving.”
The break-up made things worse as he continued to beat her, she said.
After a month away from him and two restraining orders, Plaatjies bumped into him in Uitenhage, and was stabbed 15 times as people looked on.
“He caused a scene in town and disrupted traffic. He came to apologise but I refused. That made him angry.” she said.
“He drew out a knife and stabbed me. I felt like I was dreaming as I felt the blood leave my body. Cars drove past until a random man stopped to help.
“I have never felt so much pain and humiliation in my life.”
Plaatjies said the abuse robbed her of her confidence.
“But after six months at the centre, I can now also acknowledge that I made a bad choice.”
Stowels recounted her horrific experience, which took place in August.
She said she did not pick up any signs of abuse until the day she found her partner smoking mandrax.
“I broke up with him on the spot and that angered him. He called me all kinds of names and told me no one else wanted me,” Stowels said.
A fight broke out and by the end of the day she had been almost drowned in a puddle of mud, stabbed and raped.
“I screamed but no one came to help me because everyone in the house was scared of him,” she said.
While Stowels’s abuser is serving time at St Albans Prison, Plaatjies’s alleged abuser still walks the streets of Uitenhage.