I don’t know if there was ever a time when it was ok for a man to hit a woman. If
it was there then that time must be erased from our history. I have never advocated for anyone laying their hand on another person whether male or female because frankly speaking it’s wrong and beneath me. I don’t know what had made me snap, being called a wimp or dickless but my reaction had come from instinct. I had not thought about it nor had I intended it because this literally had just happened on its own. I looked at her wanting to say something but the words would not come out. On the one hand I was very angry at her and on the other I was very sorry for what I had done. I am one of those people that believe that there is no justification whatsoever to hit a woman. She stared at me in disbelief and who can blame her, I was in disbelief too.
“Londiwe I …”
I started to apologize but she immediately stood up and walked to the bathroom and locked the door behind her. I wanted to follow her but my legs wouldn’t let me.
I said hitting the table in frustration. I went and sat down on the couch and put my hands in my head. I had to do something. I went to the door and I knocked,
“Londiwe I am sorry!”
I told her from this side of the door. She did not respond to me.
“I should not have hit you like that. I am sorry!”
I told her again. The problem is I did not not know whether I was truly sorry or not. This woman can provoke you to the point of insanity but in hindsight I should have sucked it all in and smiled as women want us to do on Twitter. You can’t fight back with a woman because if it’s verbal you are verbally abusive, if you give her silent treatment you are emotionally abusive and if you become physical even if it was a reflex action then you are physically abusive. I was wrong no matter which way I turned.
She screamed from the bathroom. At least she was alive that was a good start. I was not intending on staying either. I knew what I had to do.
“I am sorry!”
I picked up my phone and dialed, after what seemed like ages the phone hung up. I should have known typical South African lack of service delivery. I took my car keys and left the house like any coward should. It was already late but it was time for the news so on every channel they were playing.
“Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha!”
Every station seemed to be talking about. We all knew about it but the irony was that the debate was not centered around it but on the presenter Masechaba. People were calling in even. One person asked,
“Picture this scenario, you are a nursing student and your lecturer says to you that you have to reenact a scenario where a rape victim has entered the ward. One of the students is going to be your white board. The student happens to be your friend and knows your darkest secret and when she sits down in front of you she says ‘Lorna wena you were raped right so you tell us how it felt since you never reported the perpetrator!”
I listened to that scenario. The caller was not done,
“Does that count as an intervention or an intrusion? Put yourself in the shoes of the victim and ask yourself whether you want your deepest shame to be exposed in public like that just so someone can crow that they were doing their civic duty and exposing abuse! At whose expense?”
She asked. I was not sure where I stood in this debate as I had so many things to worry about on my own. I was now part of that very statistic of men being described on the station right now. She had provoked me yes but I had responded in a manner that made me the very thing she was accusing me of I suppose. I didn’t know what to think.
I parked outside the building I wanted but for a moment I could not go in. I just sat outside and watched people go in and out. Eventually I gathered the nerve to enter.
“Good evening officer!”
I said to the lady at the desk.
“Good even sir!”
She was chubby with a gold tooth and it seems to be a trend with female police women.
“What can I do for you?”
She said without really lifting her eyes of the thing she was writing. She was not playing Candy Crush at least because you know the fine people of South Africa would be calling for her to be fired.
“I have come to turn myself in!”
I told her.
She said sarcastically.
“Are you a wanted criminal?”
She asked me.
“No I am not!”
I told her.
“So why would you want to turn yourself in?”
She asked me.
“I hit my wife. Not hit hit, I slapped her!”
I told her. I don’t know why I felt the need to emphasize that it was not really hitting like it made a difference. The law says any unwanted placing of your hands on a woman can be deemed as an assault so I was right to see it as hitting after all.
“Is that so?”
She said. Her voice was not raised nor was she mad in any way.
“Mandla please open for this fine gentleman!”
She said to another officer who was sitting on the other side. I was not sure if she was being sarcastic or not the way she said that but I followed her finger to Mandla regardless.
“This way please!”
He said. I could feel my knees shaking at this moment but I had to do it because I am the one who had committed the crime.
“There is something I want to show you!”
She said casually. They had not handcuffed me and I think they figured that since I was now on this side of the station I was not a flight risk. I followed her and I think because they fear getting lost in their own station everything was labeled. The name on top of the direction arrow we were following was written “Cells” so I knew it was late for me. When we got there she stood outside the cell and they were four men in there,
“This sir…what’s your name?”
She asked men
I told her.
“OK Vusi, two of the men are in here for murder! One its rape and the other one attempted hijacking!”
She told me calmly.
“Do you think that you deserve to be in there with these animals?”
She asked me.
“No …no maam!”
“Go home to your wife and if you really want to be in jail tell her to come press charges. This country has some serious criminals and if we keep filling the cells with people like you then there will be no space for them!”
She said. The problem with this picture was that she was so calm in the way she said it. She was not angry at me as a woman for what I had done.
“I am sorry!”
I told her.
“Don’t apologize to me. Go apologize to your wife! I know a good man when I see one and you are good. Don’t end up in here and never do it again!”
She said and just like that I was dismissed. I won’t lie I was scolding myself for having been so stupid. What had I been thinking in the first place trying to get myself arrested? Men get raped in jail and it doesn’t matter whether you killed someone or you slapped her.
“Vusi you stupid man!”
I told myself as I got into the car. This time I did not linger I drove away immediately. I had to go make things right with Londiwe.
“Where were you?”
She asked me.
“Did you run to your other wife?”
She asked me sarcastically.
“If I told you where I went you won’t believe me. What’s important is that I am sorry about what I did and it should never have happened!”
I told her.
The problem is that it had happened and no amount of apologies could take this back.
“I am sorry too. I should never have spoken to you like that but if you ever hit me like that I swear I will drug your food, when you are passed out I will cut off your dick fry it and feed it to you!”
She said and at that moment I could hear myself swallow spit. Who thinks up such graphic detail? She had her arms folded and looking me straight in the eye as she did that.
“You are not kidding are you?”
I asked her.
My mouth just went dry.
“Tomorrow I am willing for us to all talk the three of us! I am not happy about it but I won’t be selfish either!”
She said and she walked back to the bedroom. I sat there thinking that this was some kind of a trap. I had started this now I was the one scared of going to bed. My phone rang at that moment and it was Naledi.
“Dude my dad is pissed off! He found out about the three of us and he is out for blood!”
She said and I could tell she was crying.
I cursed as I sank into the couch. Why was my life this difficult though?
Thank you for reading my letter.
I write this letter as a desperate appeal for advice. My twin brother has always been an over achiever. He was a hard worker growing up and ended up an Engineer. We grew up in church and my brother never swayed. Our family was close until three years ago when he got married. The wedding was fine but even then we could tell that he was no longer himself. As a twin I know when something wrong. Firstly he banned his family from visiting his house saying his new wife and he needed the space to grow. We respected that but with an obvious pinch of salt. When my aunt who raised us passed away he did not come for the funeral. She was the one who paid his fees in University. When I called him he said that his wife had a prior engagement which he could not come out of. I begged him to come but he did not. My mother started getting sick in January and up to now he has not come to see her. I then got angry and went to see him by force. When I got to the house the wife was “happy” to see me but my brother when he showed up guys I cried immediately. We have always been a big family. At his wedding I am certain my brother was a size 36 that’s how big he was and when I saw him he would be lucky to be a 32. It’s not even a healthy weight loss you could see the stress on him. He swore he was not sick and I believe him because he looked abused. He was scared to talk to me and his wife made sure that we never got a chance alone. I told him about his mother in person and showed him pictures of her. He said he would come. That day he blocked my number and a lot of other family members.
I don’t know what to do guys. I asked his best man at the wedding what was going on and he said that his wife is so bad for him. She owns him and humiliates him often in public. They too think he is being abused.
How does one step in when a man is being abused? I am so scared for him.