19 October 2018

Physical abuse and self-mutilation

A s the only girl in a family with four sons, Olivia should have been close to her mother, instead she faced regular beatings each time her mother was physically abused by her father.

"That caused me so much pain because she put me through the same pain she suffered at the hands of my abusive father. She would vent her anger on me each time she was beaten up by my father. I remember a day my father beat her up until she collapsed and that later happened to me. One Friday afternoon she complained about my cleaning and started beating me with a belt.  She then took off her shoe and continued hitting me. She grabbed anything in her reach and then threw me against the wall. I sustained a scar on my forehead. In another incident Olivia collapsed at school and woke up in hospital.

"I was told I was thinking a lot and was encouraged to open up and talk about my challenges," she said.

Unable to deal with her situation, Olivia started inflicting pain on herself and later became suicidal.

"Believing that the only way to relieve the pain I felt inside was to physically harm myself, I would scratch my body until I bled.  I became suicidal because the pain was too much for me to bear," she said.

In 2011, Olivia was invited to the church.

"At a service I learnt that ending your life was the same thing as committing murder and that opened my eyes to view life differently. I understood that God loves me and my life was precious in His eyes. I attended services on Fridays and asked God to deliver me from suicidal thoughts. I also attended on Wednesdays and

asked Him to heal me from the deep scars of my abusive past. I started to understand that my mother abused me out of frustration. I took part in the chain of prayers of Thursdays and prayed for peace in my family. That same year my father stopped drinking alcohol. His behaviour changed completely. He loved my mother and he stopped beating her up.  My mother started sharing her past frustrations with me and apologised for all the pain she put me through. My home is now a place of peace and love," said Olivia.

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