The radio was blasting loud,
I could not even hear my own voice as I sang along.
It was the words I wanted him to hear,
Those were the emotions I felt, it was Dolly Parton singing,
Singing what I wanted to yell at him every day of the week,
And every morning he walked in from a long night out,
Lipstick printed shirt, Red Door smelling hands,
Creased trousers and an ask-me-nothing snarl on his lips,
I was sick to hell of all the pranks, my back bore too many battle scars,
Wounds now healed but the futility of the wars still present.
The fruits of my womb now knew that when Mom played the current song,
It meant that Daddy was letting himself into the house,
And they needed to lock themselves in the attic if they were to stay safe.
Just because I am a woman had been a foretelling of the daily occurrences of this family,
I told Momma at the lobola celebrations that I did not feel like being Mrs Labrador,
But she told me all men are dogs, at least I had found a rich one,
Labradors are a good breed, thoroughbred and not fond of bins,
Little did I know that he would favour Chinese dollar-for-two perfumes,
Reject the wildflower scent of my expensive Chanel eau de parfum,
Bunk up in a bedroom-cum-kitchen in a converted fowl run,
Beat the hell out of me in the morning, knowing that no one could hear my sceams,
Because our six acre property was so far from help,
And he could murder and bury me without a soul knowing.
All the Peter Pans I had shunned before I began to think of,
On our honeymoon night when he told me I was finally his machine,
Expected to deliver ‘service’, and feel thankful always,
That I was the only one allowed to stay, and bear him heirs,
Legitimate children to help him squander his money,
Money he used to bribe the cops each time he beat me up,
Money that I helped bring but could not send me to college to finish my degree,
Money that was used to get me in a spa to smother and hide scars,
When I needed to complete the image as Snow White to his Prince Charming,
And for once in a very long while feel a gentle arm on my shoulder,
Instead of a merciless, mauling grip that could be mistakenly called his usual touch.
A prison to live in, a life that seemed too perfect to be true,
When beyond the paparazzi camera lights was a woman half-dead in the sea of male dominance and suppression.
Lectures on submitting to your husband followed each wife-bashing siesta,
Scriptures were opened, and my tears ceased to fall,
Knowing that the pastors would never believe my complaints,
When already a man had been bought to testify,
That he was my lover, that I would be delivered from my sins and appreciate my godly husband alone,
I was done feeling sorry, there was peace outside and I wanted it,
I was going to fight for it for my sons, the shotgun in my waist was ready,
To draw blood as he had done should he become unreasonable,
I felt a shudder of hope as I listened to the last notes,
No one would ever get this close to hurting me, ever!
Our passports were ready, new identities and a fresh start in Venezuela,
Away from his influence or threats, the lawyers had video footage of his horrific crimes now,
And detectives would make him an example to other perpetrators.
Yes I made my mistakes, he would listen and understand in court,
That his crimes were his, not mine,
I was done being squashed just because I was a woman.
He had his chance because I was physically weak,
But emotionally I was so strong that even bullets would bounce off.
Just because I was a purposed woman,
I was changing the unpleasant meaning of the song into something,
Which would shock the thoroughbred Labrador.
Today as the According to Stewie Le Savage family we are celebrating 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence alongside Athaliah Taeniel Mukanuki. Thank you