By Grant Moyo
Model and fashion designer Aisha DeBeer has written a letter to the victims and perpetrators of violence. The letter comes over a week after the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership. DeBeer is the head designer at Aiish Inspired Clothing and the brainchild of Fashion Designers Expo (FDE) Zimbabwe, #FashionFightsCancer, an initiative that raises funds for cancer patients in Bulawayo. In this regard she pours her heart out in a rousing letter below:
I write this letter to give a voice to the abused and to confront those hurting others. You may remember me from my previous article on my past. If not, this piece of writing will give you an idea on the path I have been on.
My experience was a dark world to be in. I fell in love with the idea of loving someone forever and ever, not knowing that the relationship will turn sour. The hours turned into days, and days into nights where I felt worthless. I lost the sense of belonging; everything I did and said seemed to be wrong.
People never know what another is going through unless they experience it. I remember each smack, each insult, muscles hurting because I decided to fight back, and eyes swollen from the nights of crying. I asked myself, “is this how love is supposed to feel like?” I was scared to reach out to friends or family, I was literally stuck.
The predicament forced me to take necessary precautions. Does that make me a bad person? Today I am judged on the decisions I made back then, but you know what, it’s my path… so what if I am judged? Well I am here to tell you that I know exactly how you feel.
You get told what to wear, what to say to others, how to behave or how not to behave. What to cook, how many tomatoes to cut, you burn the spaghetti and you get told how useless you are and that you cannot do anything right. That‘s the dark world I’m talking about.
The air you breath you feel is not your own and you cannot be your own person. You cry when watching a love story at the movies because it is not your own reality. You cry beneath your smile… listen carefully… that was me. I had to take that step before it was too late. I was scared; I kept on asking myself, “how do I get out of here? How will I manage financially? Who will be there for me? Will people understand?”
I remember probing myself, “will he actually kill you this time if you do walk away like he said he would, or like he almost did by putting you in hospital twice?”
My sweets, this is not the end, your end deserves to be better. It is just the beginning you just need to be strong, reach out, and take action. From there on wards… don’t look back, don’t listen to the words of blame, and don’t fall for the mind games. You did your best, you know you were faithful, you were the good wife or girlfriend, and your intentions were pure.
Now it is time to shine darling. Remember who you wanted to be when you were a little girl, start living your life and don’t let your past make you a nasty person. Don’t be selfish, don’t be angry, be as sweet as honey and an inspiration to the world.
Spread your wings and fly high, yes there will be hardships but eventually you will be in a better place with friends that supported you and were there for you through it all.
Learn to love yourself again and remain humble. God has a plan for you, work towards fulfilling your dreams. Presently, I am in a very comfortable place after all what I got in return was tragedy after I had pledged to love him wholeheartedly. I made lots of sacrifices; thank goodness God is with me.
Imagine if the woman that you are hitting and threatening was your daughter, how would you handle that? Have respect! You are slowly killing her, taking away her confidence, making her heart heavier and making it harder to love you. There will be no other sweeter than her, so fix yourself.
Be a man!! It is about time you stop playing mind games trying to manipulate her. You have lost and will always lose unless you change completely. Remember there is no one greater than God, he is watching and will give strength where it is needed and teach lessons to those who do wrong.
I will be that voice until the day I die. stop women and child abuse!
It is the second time in three years that DeBeer is writing a stimulating letter tackling burning issues affecting the modern society both in an African context and globally. Her previous letter published in 2016 was a master-piece encouraging cancer patients to stand against the atrocious disease. Hopefully her letter will help to curb all forms of gender-based violence.
l Grant Moyo is a writer, innovative media personality, entrepreneur and a creative artist, who is passionate about using his creative mind for the betterment of society. Follow him on Twitter: @TotemGrant