I have been battered and beaten. I thought I have an understanding, a knowing of fearing the one you love.

For a good 19 years it seemed like I had overcome the abuse. I made my 3 beautiful daughters the center of my world and promised them to NEVER again expose them to a violent and abusive home.

When what appeared to be a soft-spoken and gentle man swept me off my feet in 2014, with a love language so different to my previous relationship, I was taken.

He was attentive, loving, available and so warm-hearted… someone who seemed not intimidated by my light, always allowing me to pursue my dreams. Signs were there but I chose to ignore them.

In August 2017, I found myself in the middle of a social media storm, on the very issue of women abuse, my husband was the most supportive. I was laid off work for months, he was in full emotional support.

Once I went back to work in January 2018, there was a change in his mannerisms, in his language, but I paid no mind. 2018 for us was a true test, and I still stayed giving it my all. In all of that I experienced less & less of that gentle giant I fell in love with.

Yesterday… Revealed a different side to my Prince Charming. We woke up, exchanged unpleasant words, but I just pressed on to get to work by 12 noon, not knowing that I was to walk right back home just after 4pm to a raging monster out for blood.

Yes, yesterday on 21 January 2019, my husband raised his hand on me and beat me… With the work that I do, in part advocating for women in abusive relationships and having previously lived through abuse, I know that it’s a beginning with no end. His hit today was one too many.

I have laid a charge of domestic violence against him with SAPS. As a councilor and motivator, even with him, I will still advocate for rehabilitation & corrective counseling, as I have said before, not to excuse, but in hopes of tooling him with a lasting solution as to what triggers that rage.

That rage might have been my first experience with him, but I know from my work that if I stay it won’t be the last…

Sadly, within hours of laying the charge, media queries came, as even our protection services violate our privacy as public figures. I choose to own my narrative, thus I wrote this note to my friends & supporters.

My family and I humbly request the privacy and space to deal with this tragedy. Keep us in your prayers.

Criselda Dudumashe

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