By Confidente Reporter
LESS than 10 hours after a 44-year-old Katutura woman was recently brutally attacked with a panga, screwdriver and an iron rod by her husband of three years, she professed love and concern over his wellbeing from her Katutura Hospital bed.
Julietha Mahange was attacked last Wednesday at her home in Wambo location when her husband who has since been arrested returned from a drinking spree and accused her of cheating. He reportedly turned up the volume of the music on that fateful night before assaulting his petite wife. She sustained deep cuts on her face and right arm.
When her cousin who only described herself as Sheya told her that it would be in her best interest if her attacker never returned to their home, Mahange in a faint voice asked, “But where will he go?”
Her community however, is against her decision and pushing for her to divorce a man whom they accused of repeatedly abusing her physically, emotionally and economically.
When Confidente arrived at their home several hours after the attack, police and the community had thronged the scene where blood soaked linen, clothing and a mop greeted onlookers. Confidente understands that Mahange was forced to clean up her blood that had splattered in most rooms of their home after the brutal attack. “While heavily injured, he made her clean up the house to hide the evidence of the extent of the attack. He accused her of cheating which is not true. He is just an abusive man who made his wife suffer on so many occasions. He needs to be locked up. We will mobilise ourselves as a community to demonstrate against his release on bail. We do not want him in this community,” said a concerned neighbour.
Neighbours, clearly fed up with this latest incident said that the abuse on Mahange is often not talked about, is sometimes denied, sometimes disguised but it’s always ugly. “It’s difficult to help her because she always protects her husband. He once broke her leg but she said that she fell. There are times we don’t see her for up to three weeks because he locks her up in the house without food. None of them are employed but they survive on rent money paid by their tenants that live in the yard. Still, the man collects the money and does not share it with her,” a second neighbour said.
Her brother, who only described himself as John said that it is difficult to help her sister because she is protective of her husband. He added, that her sister’s husband does not like her relatives and often locks the gate to prevent them entry.
“I have a shack in the yard that I share with my children. But for three years her husband locked the outside tap we used to get water. We have been getting water from neighbours. I don’t understand why she puts up with such behaviour. She tells us that she doesn’t want anyone intervening in their relationship but she is suffering. He once beat her up so badly that we called the police but she told them to leave. At least there is concrete evidence of his abuse on her. We hope she won’t be given a chance to withdraw this case.” Meanwhile, experts say that since it appears Mahange does not want to have her husband prosecuted for domestic violence, she might end up withdrawing the case or the case collapsing in court as she might refuse to testify for the state as a prime witness.
“If a victim withdraws a gender based violence case, the state takes over and the victim becomes a prime witness. The case might collapse in court though because the witness might not testify in favour of the state unless there are other strong supporting witnesses.”
Psychological research shows that people form strong attachments in their romantic relationships, as anyone who’s ever gone through a painful breakup can attest. Abusive relationships are no different, and people abused by their partners may genuinely love those partners.
“What they are (victims of domestic violence) is far more tolerant than they should be. They are generally kind-hearted people who truly see the good in others. They therefore want to overlook the bad. Unfortunately, focusing so much on the good puts them at risk for physical and emotional hurt.”
Confidente could not establish whether Mahange’s husband appeared in court at the time of going to print.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015