I am rising because he broke my nose but he will not break my soul!!

17 Jan

So we are about a month away before we rise for One Billion Rising 2014. If you do not know what the campaign is about here you go:

The One Billion Rising for Justice campaign is rapidly building upon the energy and momentum that was created in early 2013 when one billion activists in 207 countries came together to strike, dance, and rise to end violence against women and girls. This year’s campaign is a call to women, men, and youth around the world to gather on 14 February 2014 outside places where they are entitled to justice. More than 100 countries are already signed on to Rise outside court houses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, or other public spaces for justice, marking the call to end the rampant impunity that prevails globally.

“In 2013, one billion rose around the world to end violence against women and girls in the biggest mass action in the history of the world. This year we are escalating and connecting the dots. We are rising for gender, economic, racial, environmental Justice. We are rising and dancing with our bodies, to end the violations towards our bodies and the body of the earth,” said V-Day Founder and award winning playwright Eve Ensler.

Last year, I was invited to Botswana by  Poet, performer and activist ‘Berry Heart’. I was invited to attend her book and CD launch, in conjunction with the 16 Days of Activism campaign. My visit was to include  an activating One Billion Rising for Botswana.

Ironically, my visit took an unexpected turn. Whilst attending a function, I was punched in the face by a well known man named Bissau Gaobakwe. The punch was not intended for me, in fact he aimed to hit the person next to me. When we informed him that he had a hit me, he brushed off the incident and left without apologizing or acknowledging his wrong doing.I was taken downstairs where we informed security to call the police, they refused to intervene as they knew who the man was. We called the police, they refused to come, I was then taken to a hospital and the doctor on duty admitted me immediately. He performed a CT scan and it was discovered that my nose was fractured and I would need surgery. The doctor called the police but still we had no response. I then realized that I needed to get back to my country immediately and called on my embassy for assistance but the telephone message said they were closed for the weekend, I made the brave decision to put the call out to social networks asking for assistance. There was an overwhelming response.

The following morning, two representatives for the SA embassy came to assist and took over matters. The police only arrived many hours after our initial call. By that time, the SA embassy along with, International relations, Mr Clayson Monyela, South Africa’s head of Public Diplomacy and The proudly South African team, had galvanized and my friend had booked me an emergency flight back home.

The police finally arrived in the morning of the following day to look at me, they were instructed to go back and bring the necessary documentation for me to submit a statement. They did so, on leaving a detective arrived to take another statement. Whilst all this was happening, total strangers had to go to my hotel room, pack up up my personals, check me out and bring my bags to the airport. I arrived at the airport in enough time to make my flight home. On arrival I was taken to the Milpark hospital to reassess my condition. The doctor on duty confirmed i would need surgery but that I should speak to the ENT specialist.

The following Tuesday, I met with my ENT specialist and I was booked for surgery for the following day. The surgery was to rectify the nose fracture and clear the sinus cavity as I had the sinus operation in October that year, and the blow to my face caused more damage. My eye and face was severely bruised and swollen

I knew that when I was admitted to hospital in Botswana and  noticing that the police were reluctant to help, I knew that I was dealing with a connected man who could and would probably use many forms of tactics to clear his name. I knew that i would be a target, lying alone in a hospital bed. I also knew that I needed to press charges or at least make a statement before leaving the country, as if I had not, I would not have a case. That week, I realized I had made the right choice to get home.

The events that followed from my arrival from Botswana were surreal to say the least. Although I have been working and fighting within the activism space for over a decade, I know my rights and I knew what to do and what to expect, but when it happens to you its very different.

I received crazy insults from his friends via social networks, to rude and intimidating messages. I had anticipated this but since my emotions and psyche were at its lowest, I decided to cut it all out and focus on my healing.

Prior to my trip I had already planned an OBR event at the Maboneng precinct. The theme was titled: What is Justice?  The event included a thought provoking photographic exhibition by Dash Scout. I made the brave decsion to display pictures taken of me on the night of the incident.  It included art work by Elaine Rose Thorne. The group Shine, donated their song Rise to the campaign and they performed. We also had a panel discussion. Although I was in pain and not feeling emotionally sound, I am glad we went though the event, it also took my mind off that fact that Bissau was in South Africa. I was informed by a journalist that he arrived to hold press interviews with other journalists and Phat Joe. At first I was scared, then angry then confused. Did he come to continue with intimidation? Did he come to gloat? Did he come to save his name? Why was he here in my country? He did not have the sense to make plans to speak to me face to face. I also heard that he went to our SA embassy and had a meeting with our ambassador, he also informed the journalist that an apology was made and that the matter is over. I was angry as nobody had notified or even consulted me in the matter. Was i being pathetic, was i over reacting? No, the fact that i was punched in my face was not my fault, what is going on?

On the Sunday after the exhibition, I lay in bed watching the tributes that came in for Tata, the day was set aside to remember and reflect. I cried, prayed and thought about what he had taught us over the years and one of the many important messages: Forgiveness. Its easier said then done, but in order to heal and not allow someone or a negative experience to consume you, you need to release, part of the release is through forgiveness. One can never forget but I needed to work on forgiving in order to strengthen and move on.

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Taken on arrival at hospital in Botswana.

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Taken a day after surgery.

The following week my bandages were removed and the surgery seemed to be successful, I closed my business early and cancelled two gigs and went home to North West to try and process everything. I cried when I needed to, I screamed when I needed to and I prayed a lot. My dear friend Tumi Morule, called me and suggested one book by Malcom Gldwell: David and Goliath. I also read : I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. It was this book that gave me a lot of inspiration and strength. A young school girl from Pakistan who stands for education and has looked death in the eyes and still continues to rise. I read Zoleka Mandela’s book: When hope whispers. I salute her for her bravery and honesty and willingness to fight and survive.

The physical healing I would say is at 85%, the emotional is at 60%. In my prayers and conversations with people I kept asking why me and then why anyone. The one comment that kept appearing in a lot of reading and conversations was : G-d only gives you what you can handle. For a few weeks I hated that and kept saying well what happens if i actually cant handle it. I guess I have been proved wrong as I am on the other side working up to the light again. Then just as I am feeling great again, I receive a message from someone whom I used to respect and love and the message included a list of disgusting insults. For a few days those words cut through me like a flaming hot rod. Why do people think it is alright to verbally abuse someone? Anyhow, I moved on and made the decision to not let his demons pollute my soul.

My New Years resolution was that I definitely needed to forgive Bissau for my own sanity and healing and to pursue with the case, as forgiving does not mean that he should not suffer the consequences.

I looked back at the support and strength that I received from loved one from close and from far, as well as strangers and friends on my social sites. My friends and colleagues from around the world were all working and trying to help get me home after I put that post out, to all of you thank you and I love you. I also thank the negative and destructive comments realizing that our struggle and fight is far from over, we have a lot of work to do. The fact that women were messaging me saying : What did you? This little stunt will get you nowhere and one comment which rings true to me is : Women are beaten up everyday, why is it so important when it happened to you?. I thought about this and yes, she right. Women are beaten up every second of the day, around the world, why are we silent. We need to do more.

I thought about the many people who told me that I should just drop this and move on and forget about the legalities. I still question why one would encourage that, but I guess that is part of the struggle. Then on hearing of how he tried to intimidate my witnesses and going so far as to trying to bribe them, it made me even more determined to not allow him to control other lives. Then, when realizing they cannot be bought, he returned to say that he was sorry  and admitted his guilt to them and that he would contact me. I did not hear anything from him.

The episode of the RGB show, hosted by Phat Joe was aired and I watched as Bissau joked and dismissed the whole incident and that as a Botswana man he apologizes as they are a humble nation. I totally agree about the culture and that People from Botswana are humble and loving as I have received nothing but love and sincerity from the country, but then why go to such measures as to try and discredit the incident and rather just make an effort to sit down and iron out our issues.

In the second week of the this year, I made contact with the women’s groups who assisted me in Botswana, a legal team in Botswana and the detective in charge of my case. We made arrangements that I would return to Botswana to finalize a few things and sit down with Bissau himself. Once again I did a lot of praying and soul searching and questioned if I would be able to do this. I then booked my ticket to arrived in Botswana on the following Friday morning, the plan was to head straight to the police sort out the case and sit down with Bissau. On my arrival, we finalized my statement and the I was informed that Bissau was in fact in SA and had car problems, he had send his henchman to come and say that he would return in approximately two hours. I held onto my anger. If he was really sincere about apologizing and dealing with this, he would have handled everything differently. After the police I went to the embassy to thank them for their support and rectify a few things that had been said by Bissau and the media. That evening I also made the decision to revisit the place where the incident took place, to get closure on that.

Then after a full week from my second trip I received a call from a friend in Botswana, saying that Bissau is with him and he wants to drive through to SA then and there to talk to me. Are you kidding? I have been waiting for six weeks and now you expect me to meet you in the middle of the night alone!!!

So, this is why I rise. The frustration, pain and agony and near depression that abuse causes. The audacity of the accused and those who sympathize them. I rise for those who do not know their rights. I rise for those who feel they do not have a voice. I rise for those who do not have country who will assist them and support them in incidents such as these. I rise because I am a proud woman. I rise because, you may have broken my nose but you will NEVER break my soul and spirit.

My message to anyone who has endured or enduring abuse.

Its NOT YOUR FAULT.

You can get out.

SPEAK OUT.

Do not feel ashamed.

Get support.

Join us on 14 February as the world rise up against women and children abuse.

One Billion Rising: http://www.onebillionrising.org

Women’s organizations:

Botswana:

* Emang basadi.

www.emangbasadi.org.bw

* Gender Affairs Department
Private Bag 00107 Gaborone, Botswana
Tel;+267 3912290/ 76237854

South Africa:

POWA (People opposing women abuse)

http://www.powa.co.za

Report it Girl.

http://www.reportitgirl.com

Vday:

http://www.vday.org

7 Responses to “I am rising because he broke my nose but he will not break my soul!!”

  1. rosiemoteneblog January 17, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Reblogged this on rosiemoteneblog.

  2. Nomfundo January 17, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    I admire you for your strength, honesty and bravery. I believe this will help other women rise above abuse. I know how tough it is but it is possible if we stand together and support one another. #OneBillionRising#

  3. Matseliso Mfanta January 17, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    I tip my hat off to you girl; we need to liberate the women of our continent from the centuries old demeaning cultural practices.
    Forgive the mean sisters who do not understand – they are broken vessels who have accepted their abuse as being normal.
    Where I grew up girls would demand beating from their partners because they saw it as an expression of love.
    THANK YOU

  4. Alfred January 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    I’m angry too after reading this…but i’m happy you’re being positive and trying not to let this affect you. I wish you all the best and i hope this dude will pay for his actions. A real man never hits a woman…

  5. Chanti South Arica January 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Hi rosie.
    Accident or not, is he not at least paying your medical fees?

    • Bunie January 18, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      Much respect. Along with the “criminal case” (unfortunately the state’s case in which you’ll only be a witness if it ever gets to that) I think there should also be civil action – this man must be sued for all sorts of damages

  6. One Billion Rising Deutschland January 19, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Dear Rosie, you are a brave, strong and confident woman. I will be rising with you on the 14th February, rising for justice, rising against impunity. Ivana
    #rise4justice #reasontorise

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