A SPINE-CHILLING, eye-opening story of abuse was shared at the intimate book launch of Beaten but not Broken, by Vanessa Govender (who now goes by the name Tedder). The launch was hosted by Southcoast Mall on Tuesday, October 30.Many people will remember Vanessa Tedder from her days as a journalist on e-TV and Lotus FM. It is hard to believe that this articulate, confident young woman went through such an ordeal, which is revealed in the book. The story starts with her lying face down in the parking lot outside the SABC. She says her face felt like it was on fire, she had a pounding headache and part of the skin on her nose had been ripped off. Until this day, she cannot remember how she got there, but she knew who was responsible. Back in 1999, Tedder was just beginning her career at a popular radio station in Durban and soon found herself in a relationship with one of the DJs who worked there. Tedder had suffered low self-esteem all her life, due to her dark complexion, so the attention from a handsome young man was flattering. Also, being her first serious relationship, she found herself unable to exit when the abuse started. Just one month into dating, he first struck her, and shortly afterwards, he told her he loved her. That, she said, sealed the deal for her. It should have been a cue to leave, but instead she stayed. Abuse expert Rennie Pillay, who holds an Honours in psychology, says victims of abuse become co-dependent. They make excuses for the behaviour of the abuser and accept the “love” but ignore the physical harm. According to Tedder, when you are abused, you become a master of deception, a storyteller. She would make up stories to explain the bruises to her family. She was too ashamed to admit to anyone that this could happen to her — an educated, accomplished young woman. Now she wants other women to know that the idea that abuse only happens to certain women is just a myth. One night, after reading her 8 pm bulletin live on radio, she said she experienced violence that changed her forever. She could not read the news again without having panic attacks.“I never knew fear till I met this man,” she said. She eventually decided that she would not allow him to take away the one thing she loved; her work. Only when she found the courage to open up did things begin to change for the better. After a gruelling process that lasted almost four years, she has released this book in the hope that it will save someone else’s life. “Years later the trauma is still entrenched. The pain, the trauma never leaves you, that is the legacy of abuse,” she said. Despite this, Tedder said she would live it all over again, if it meant bringing her to this point, where so many women feel empowered by her story. “We owe it to the women who are trapped to tell our story,” she said.Vanessa Tedder is now happily married with two children and is a full-time mum and author. The management team at Southcoast Mall pulled off an exceptional event and were very pleased with the response from the community.