Friday, January 22, 2010

Dad severely burns mom, then abandons her with no financial support (Ramotswa, Botswana)

Dad ONTIRETSE JOHANNES NOBELA burned the mother of his 3 children with a flammable liquid that left her with horrific scarring and pain. Not only that, there was no criminal investigation at all. While she was unconscious, the dad told the hospital staff that the burns were an "accident," and they took him at his word. Or they lacked the initiative or courage to look into the matter any further, which is probably closer to the truth. Now the authorities say it's "too late" to press charges. That sounds riduculous to me, too. But what do I know about the Bostwana legal system. I just know a rat when I smell one.

Meanwhile this woman cannot get work because of her appearance. Nor can she get financial support from the husband who has deserted her, leaving her with sole responsibility for their 3 children.

Woman horrifically burned by husband then left to care for children

By Thato Gwakuba

Domestic violence shows no sign of abating as each day new cases are reported to the police. Violence can take any form varying from physical, emotional to social. Women are the most affected as they often find themselves vulnerable and defenceless. Every second a woman is battered somewhere in the world, some are afraid to report because they feel as women they have to endure what their husbands and partners dish out to them. Sometimes culture is to blamed as one hears elders advising the newly married women that they should not ask their husbands where they would have been if they come home late. That alone makes women think they do not have the right to do so. The media encourages people to speak out on violence in order to be helped.

Life will never be the same for a Ramotswa woman, Neo Pearl Motlhoki, 37, a mother of three after her then boyfriend and father of her children burnt her with paraffin. Motlhoki is now left with physical and emotional scars and she has to deal with her ordeal all over again as she is now shunned in her village. The once bubbly woman now lives in shame as she is left with no source of income and three children aged 16, 14 and 4 years to care for. Trouble started in 2003 when she visited her boyfriend Ontiretse Johannes Nobela, 42, also of Ramotswa in Rustenburg where he used to work. Motlhoki tearfully relating her story to The Voice said she still does not know why she was put through such trauma as Nobela does not say why he humiliated her like that. Motlhoki said all she remembers on the fateful day is that she was coming from their rented room when he saw her boyfriend sitting with his friends in a nearby yard. He called on her and asked where she was going. She told him that she is going to the tuckshop to get something to eat.“We sat there without him saying anything or showing signs of anger. When we got home I prepared bread and eggs for us for supper. While leaning against the paraffin stove I felt some liquid all over my body and while I was astonished by what the liquid was I was engulfed by flames all over my face and body. I fell unconscious and I vividly heard him tell me he had called for help and that I shouldn’t tell people what really happened. The next thing I remember was waking up from a hospital bed and in excruciating pain. After gaining conciousness I learnt that he told the doctors who attended to me that I had an accident so no case was recorded,” Motlhoki narrated. She said only later the doctors found out that the burns were not due to the stove and that it showed that some sort of inflammable liquid was used because the burns were all over her face and body but then it was late for her to open a case against him.To add salt to the wounds Nobela left Motlhoki to raise their children on her own with nothing to support them. Motlhoki was a talented hairdresser before her ordeal but now she has turned to a destitute relying on charity and donations from good Samaritans.

Even if she wanted to work nobody wants to hire her because of the scars on her face and body.The once beautiful dark skinned woman is now looking like a “monster” with those hideous scars and people around the village victimise her and call her names. Motlhoki is now afraid of walking around her village as people point and whisper when she passes. She is avoided like a leper; people look at her like it is her fault she looks like that.

According to one of her friends, Motlhoki was a happy and hard working person who was loved by her neighbours. Now they cannot even look at her in the face. She went on to say that it is like she has a contagious disease that people do not want to contract.“Even after putting me through this terrible suffering Nobela left me to raise our children alone despite his pledge to be with me through thick and thin and because he is the reason I am like this. Now he has disappeared from the face of earth. What saddens me is that I used to be independent and now I rely on charity and whatever help I get from those who feel sorry for me,” Neo lamented.“Seeing what Nobela did I went to report him to the police and they tracked him down. He then swore to look after me and the children but that didn’t last as he disappeared two days later. I took him to court so that he can support his children, he only did that for two months and he has since stopped. Now I want him tracked down so that justice can be done,” said Motlhoki.With tears welling up in her eyes Motlhoki told The Voice how this is affecting her and the children psychologically.“My children now have to deal with a lot of trauma of seeing me like this. They are too young to deal with this sort of distress.“I want him to take care of his children as they haven’t done anything to him. It goes to show that he had intentions to do this to me,” said Motlhoki.Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Officer in charge Assistant Superintendent Megale said Motlhoki should go back to the magistrate’s office and tell them Nobela has broken his promise to care for his children and that is when they will hunt him down for justice to be done.Because Motlhoki did not initially report the incident Assistant Superintendent Megale said they cannot convict Nobela for the alleged crime.