Life after Breaking the Silence

Yolanda Sibeko (in front) with women from POWA shelter at the Community & Safety Department's event.

I’m sharing my story to urge more women to break the silence

By: Yolanda Gabisile Sibeko

The ending is better than the beginning! That’s my favourite saying – it has actually turned into my motto in life “how your nightmare ended is better than how it started”.

The dead writer found life again, yes the writer is alive and doing what she does best but this article is not about the dead writer. February 11, 2021 my suffocation ended in a faraway quiet place that was a roof over my head for six months. For six months I was introduced to different women from different backgrounds.

Give me a pen and paper and let me paint pictures in your mind. I shared a house with wonderful women, in that house tears were wiped away for so many years, a house that gave opportunities to the dreamless, a house that made the impossible possible.

This is my Cinderella story – the only difference is that I wasn’t rescued by a prince charming; I was rescued by POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse). I’m sharing my story to urge more women to break the silence.

Not a stunning journey to walk – like every other marathon there are thorns to the finish line but POWA turns them into a beautiful ending – putting an end to a nightmare.

I came to POWA with nothing but an empty plastic but as I leave – I leave with lifetime achievements. My lifetime achievement was earned on the July 23, 2021, my baptism day, the day I acknowledged Jesus as my Lord.

Abuse is a pandemic that can never be cured – even our ancestors suffered from this pandemic and sadly our daughters will too be affected by it but POWA is the vaccine that everyone needs not just women but everyone.

No one is born a woman basher but is created by seeing their women’s pain – no child can forget watching their mother covering up bruises with make-up.

No form of abuse is better than the other. I went through them all, physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse. Imagine waking up every morning going to work and come month end you get strangled for your hard earned money. I even shared a house with a woman that was bashed with a spade left to die and yes I was raped but today we stand as extraordinary women that walked the walk and today we are journalists, beauticians, even drivers and all these opportunities we paid nothing for them.

Blankets made by women at the POWA shelter

Skills and opportunities that POWA gives at the shelter are priceless, from baking to making and selling blankets – a head start to making money.

I live by Psalm 91 my favourite scripture that I was introduced to by a God fearing woman, Dimakatso Makwe, hired by POWA to take care of the fragile hearted.

I left the shelter a strong woman that can face whatever comes my way. Today I’m doing what I do best it’s all thanks to POWA – doing a course I paid nothing for that gives me an opportunity to write.

2021 I was reunited with my God

2021 I was healed today I stand fearless!

Yolanda Sibeko