“I have anger and resentment bottled up inside me” ... A teenage boy’s story
WINDHOEK - Twenty-year-old Lukas is born and raised in the coastal town of Namibia, Walvis Bay.
He is excited about being in his final year of high school and can’t believe it’s almost over. It’s been two months since his life skills teacher referred him for an appointment. Lukas was getting flashbacks of his childhood experience with domestic violence and had to receive trauma counselling.
“I noticed how my mom would come creep into the small-sized bed my younger sisters and I shared at night, this was confusing. I could tell she wanted nothing to do with my dad, to make it worse I think she didn’t want to be with my dad anymore. Everything seemed to be going well until that one evening I could hear my parents quarrel, the next moment I saw my mom’s swollen bleeding face.”
At this point Lukas realised his once lovely family was no more. ‘’Not long after this my dad left to visit in the North and mom decided to take advantage of this moment, took my two little sisters and left home. She tried to take me with, but I didn’t want to leave my dad all alone. When my dad returned, he questioned me trying to find out where my mother could be, I had no choice but tell him where they went because I was so scared. My dad immediately left and came back with my mom and sisters a few hours later. The look on my mother’s face broke my heart, it’s as if she was crying out for help. It’s like all she wanted was peace, happiness and joy and my dad deprived her of that,” narrated Lukas.
The abuse continued in the house. Lukas grew up seeing how neighbours, family and friends turned a blind eye to the domestic violence his family was experiencing.
“As young boys we are not taught how to express emotions in a healthy manner and are raised with the impression that men don’t cry or show emotions,” Lukas further narrated.
“The day my mother finally got to build the courage to walk away, I stayed. I can still remember her knocking on the doors trying to get her things, but my dad never gave them to her. The next day she came back again, not knowing what my dad had planned. He asked me to go to the shop to buy him a box of matches and candles. He tried to burn the house with him and my mother in it. This was the last time my dad tried to convince my mom to stay with him. Soon after this attempt he left the house. He left us in a house with no electricity and water, the bill was close to N$40 000. My mother tried her best to pay off this debt but with the little she was earning from selling sweets and chips it was almost impossible. I never stopped caring for my father, for the longest time I looked for him, longing for his love, affection and approval, however all this changed instantly when my mom told us my dad got married to another woman and was expecting a baby,” he recounted.
“I have anger and resentment bottled up inside me,” an emotional Lukas said. With the help of life skills teachers and the social workers Lukas has been able to work on his anger.
When his father left home to start a new life Lukas was forced to seek odd jobs after school hours to help his mom make ends meet as they were financially dependent on his father. When he left he stopped supporting the family.
It was not long after Lukas’ parents separated that a very dark cloud was brought upon this family. His mother passed away after a wall collapsed and fell on her. “It was on a Wednesday that I heard my mother’s voice for the very last time, I can recall how my little sister came running, woke me up crying and told me a wall fell on mom and she doesn’t look well. It felt like a crazy dream I was having, I just couldn’t believe that my mom passed on just like that. I had a thousand questions, but I had to be strong for my siblings,” Lukas explained.
“Ever since my mom passed, I’ve taught myself that whether I grew up with my dad or not, it is my responsibility to teach myself how to be a man. I believe in God even though He’s often silent. I’ve learned that I need to work hard, washing windows and cleaning yards has enabled me to buy myself toiletries and meals and it’s not all that bad.” Today Lukas is in Grade 12. He hopes to successfully complete his matric by the end of the year and study to become a lawyer one day. He is part of various after-school activities such as church and the youth choir.
He continues to receive counselling from Regain-Trust and his life skills teacher has been very supportive.
*This article was supplied by Regain Trust which empowers survivors of gender-based violence through psychological therapy sessions, one-on-one and group sessions. The intervention process helps and empowers survivors to open and speak out about their experiences. Awareness campaigns are done through public dialogues, media campaigns and trainings. The organisation advocates for a holistic approach to address GBV.
Regain Trust and (FES) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung with co-funding from the European Union are implementing a project that will contribute towards National efforts to address GBV and learner pregnancy in the Khomas, Erongo and northern regions. The project, titled “Survivors Speak Up!” seeks to increase and enhance the delivery of prevention, psychosocial, health, legal and protection services to reduce the prevalence of GBV and learner pregnancy.
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If you need help reach out to Regain and call Khomas 0817033 203, Erongo 0815584008 and Omusati 0815584004.
New Era Reporter
2019-03-27 09:00:12 25 days ago