Many stories make headlines of women who are in abusive relationships every day and Sarah’s story is one of thinking he will change and his actions of possessiveness and verbal abuse will get better.
We chat with her to hear about her survival and what drives her and her strength to empower other women and create awareness on domestic violence.
Where there any signs that he could be abusive?In the beginning he was a sweet guy very caring, we moved in together in September 2010 after we started dating in July. He stayed with me and my two kids, my daughter and son. He began changing after a year he wouldn’t want my friends over or me going out without him, he began wanting to choose my friends and dictate what I did. He even started being weird around my friends became aggressive and angry at them, he just wanted me and my kids alone and that’s when I became a little wary.
What happened to know he could hurt you?His behavior became worse he really was aggressive and agitated all the time, I would ask him what his hiding that he doesn’t want me to be around anyone. I told him he would lose me if he continued like this. He scared me so I got a protection order against him, told him I no longer wanted to be with him and asked him to move out.
What lead to the fateful evening he attacked you?I was away at home and came to our apartment with my daughter, I had left my son at home. I expected him out but he was there he had cooked supper and everything seemed fine. I asked why he was there and he didn’t want to leave. I had given him the money I owed him by selling my car so he had no hold over me and still he didn’t want to move out.
I remember it was the 9th of December, I was sick from the pharmacy so I took pills and went to bed after dinner, and he came into the room and told him to leave me he can’t sleep with me we separated. I got annoyed and went to sleep with my daughter in her room. He came in again in the middle of the night and was saying things but I couldn’t hear him.
Next thing I felt a knife on my neck and he stabbed me, I screamed once and he then covered my face with a pillow. So I lay still as he left the room to go to the other, I felt the blood flowing and called out for my daughter to wake up and call for him. He heard me and came in and stabbed her 14 times.
He left us for dead, he took my money, cards and ID. A neighbour helped us and took us to the hospital. I found out I was paralysed from the neck down.
How have you healed and maintained being positive?I survived by God’s will. I now fight for my children I do everything for them, that’s every parents wish to see your children grown and you have dreams for them. I have forgiven him for the sake of moving on and not let the anger control my life. God kept me for a reason,I now live a full life, I work at SAPS, I’ve learnt to draw using my mouth and I also joined group and NGOs like ‘Bold Move’ I do motivational talks to empower women to know they can leave.
He got arrested and sentenced to two counts of attempted murder and assault two 10 year sentences but he is coming out next year September and I’m okay with it, he just mustn’t contact me, I don’t want him in my life.
Sarah’s story is one of strength and perseverance.