The vow “till death do us part” became true for my late aunt (my mother’s sister). All I have ever seen between her and her husband (whom I called uncle) was war. Whenever I visited them, I knew there was some film or movie that I was going to see. My uncle always hit someone in the house, be it verbally or physically. I had my share of the physical abuse when I was slapped and saw stars and fell on the ground. That was not fun.
How my aunt stood up for these baffles me to this day. I sort of got an answer from my grandfather when I asked him about this situation. Every Saturday evening, my aunt’s children (my cousins) would call my grandfather from the police station to report the physical abuse that their mother, my aunt, received from their father, my uncle. One day they called and my grandfather shared a story with them and asked them to call him the day his daughter, their mother, my aunt is dead. He will come bury her. Shocking reply from my grandfather.
Here is the story and you judge for yourself. My aunt loved money. She went out with this man who sold soft goods and he always had money. They decided to get married and my grandfather refused. When his family brought lobola my grandfather refused to take it and told them he is a misfit to his daughter. He is not blessing their union. My aunt was not pleased and she eloped with this boyfriend of hers and they ended up getting married. This is the husband who made her a punching bag for the rest of her life. She had so many scars and disfigured lips and out-of-shape eye sockets. One would think that she was a heavy drinker. She did not drink alcohol.
I remember a day when my aunt and my uncle fought in the garage with garden tools and we just watched. Another movie. At the end of the day, my aunt’s eye was damaged. She had a handkerchief on the eye and actually wringing the handkerchief of water that came from the eye. It is that eye that eventually killed her because it got cancerous.
Could the abuse be prevented? Absolutely! Had she listened to the wisdom of her father; things would have turned out differently. It is this situation that my father pointed out to me and taught me that any man who lifts his hand for me is not deserving of my love and I should walk away.
My aunt was considered educated during her times because she was a teacher. She earned her salary and she could look after herself. She stayed in that abusive relationship until she died. True to her marriage vows? Plain stupid? A serious case of a battered wife syndrome? You be the judge.