Dear you, what shall I call you today? In times past I have called you ‘lover’. There’s a time I called you my ‘smile-keeper’. Today, you have brought nothing but tears to my eyes. Not tears of joy, no! Tears of pain and agony. Tears of regret for ever loving you. Tears I cry for my children, I failed in choosing you for their father.
So, dear what shall I call you today? Certainly not lover, perhaps monster for that is all you have turned out to be. You, a man born of a woman, now beating a woman to a pulp. Have you no empathy? Can you not see how you are breaking me? Would you raise your hand to your own mother? A woman like me.
I’ve forgiven you way too many times. I wonder if I will end up like my sisters in the graveyard. They too wanted to live. They too wanted to have children, to have a family. They too forgave and forgave and now lie alone cold and lifeless. They probably screamed for help and no-one heard them. They probably pleaded to deaf and cruel ears. They too tried to touch heartless souls, in an attempt to live, but heartless souls can not be moved. It probably just started with a simple argument, but ended in tragedy. Perhaps I will end up like them. Breathing my last at the hands of the one who promised to love and protect me. Paying for sins I never committed. If indeed you are tired of me, why not let me leave in peace and not in pieces? My gross error was loving you. My ultimate crime was believing that you are capable of loving me too. Is this love? Raising your hand at me, taking away my dignity, stripping me off my self-esteem, is this love?
Perhaps I will be like my other sisters who bid the world farewell at the hands of stony-hearted, unfeeling strangers. Minding their own business but ending up raped and murdered. Have we committed a crime being born women? Giving birth to male children who tomorrow will rape and kill us. Would you kill and rape your own mother? Yet here we are, our lives being cut short by men, born of women. We are not safe even in our own homes. Can you show me a world with no men? Maybe I will migrate there. Are you not a father? Would you like your own sons to be murderers too? Would you celebrate if your own daughters are raped and killed too? Perhaps you are not a father now, do you not want to be one in future?
Sometimes relationships don’t work. Sometimes I may disrespect you but, do I deserve to be a punching bag? I might offend you when I walk, talk and laugh. My voice might be high-pitched, I can’t help it. I might rub you the wrong way, do I deserve to be murdered? Can women and men live in the same world without fighting and declaring war against each other?
See, I can not apologize for being a woman. My Maker saw it fit to create me thus. I ask you in the name of God, do not punish me for something I had no say over. I did not get to choose to be a woman. It was thrust upon me. All I want is to live my life. All I want is to enjoy this body that I was given. I can not apologize for having curves and a v* I can not apologize for my feminine features. I am a WOMAN, let me be!
So, what I call you today depends on how you treat me. I am to be loved and not abused.
Written by Constance van Niekerk