“I am not a rehabilitation center for a badly raised man. It is not my job to fix him, change him, parent him or raise him! I want a partner not a project! I deserve respect and love. I am not an object that can be owned, possessed or controlled. I value me”.
Thembi Maphanga, a South African woman shared the message on her twitter page as she advises women who are stuck in an abusive relationship. Having had a first-hand experience with an abusive boyfriend, Thembi advised that women should not wait to be killed by their partners before they get out of abusive relationships.
When Thembi met her boyfriend in 2015, she believed she had met her soulmate because he treated her like a queen but few months later, he changed.
“He became jealous, possessive and abusive. He would get angry when I didn’t report my movement or when I didn’t answer my phone. He became a monster and started calling me names. He would say bad things about me, hit me and later apologise. I would forgive him and things would be back to normal,” Thembi told Move!Mag
Even though she knew what her boyfriend was doing to her was wrong, she still believed he loved her. Three years into their relationship, she got pregnant and was really excited to become a mother while believing that the baby would change her violent spouse.
But one day in 2009, an event happened that changed her life forever.
As usual, they had a fight and her partner left the house and didn’t return for many days. One day he called, informing Thembi that he was coming back but she was done. She already got the courage to wave goodbye to the relationship. But her partner wasn’t going down without a fight.
He told her that if he couldn’t have her, no one else would. So, he locked her and his daughter inside the house and poured petrol on them. He got out of the house through the window and lit a match, setting the house on fire and leaving them to die. She managed to call the ambulance but before emergency services staff got to them, they had suffered third degree burns and 99 percent of their bodies was covered with scars.
“Doctors didn’t believe that we would make it out of the hospital alive. I was unconscious for weeks and my daughter passed away after a few days in the hospital. This was the hardest time of my life. I was hospitalised for six months. I blamed myself for allowing the abuse to go on for years. I was blinded by love and convinced myself that he was jealous because he loved me. But I now know better. I didn’t only lose my daughter, I also lost my job. I’m a qualified artisan but because I have a disability, I had to be moved to a different position. I now work as a furnace manager.”
Although, she has forgiven her ex-boyfriend and he is now in jail for attempted murder, Thembi is using her experience to help other women in abusive relationships to take a walk before it becomes bad.
LADIES REPEAT AFTER ME
"I am not a rehabilitation center for a badly raised man, it is not my job to fix him, change him, parent him or raise him! I want a partner not a project! I deserve respect and love. I am not an object that can be owned, possessed or controlled.I value Me pic.twitter.com/z70VmNZYmO
— MissT burn survivor (@thembeyakhe) August 12, 2018