THESE STREETS: Teenage mothers in Manenberg live in fear of reprisal if they end relationships with their abusive partners. Picture: Thomas Holder
Cape Town - Some cases of abuse among teenage mothers are so severe that they remain in these relationships because they fear being killed by their partners. Delicia Williams director at Ambassadors for Change, who works in Scottsdene, said many of the young women who reported abuse were too scared to leave the relationships.

“These women are also in relationships with gangsters, who tell them if they leave, they will kill them.

"So they would rather remain. In their search for love and belonging they end up in relationships with the wrong people.

"Some of them do not have parents and live with other families who also abuse them. So to them abuse has become normal. They may also not realise it is abuse and accept it. They would rather endure the abuse than be killed.

"The abuse they go through also entails the fear which their partners instil. Violence between intimate partners has become a huge problem in our communities,” she said.

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Williams said another problem was how children have been conditioned to accept abuse in households.

“As someone who also came out of an abusive relationship, I can relate to what these young women go through.

"They are as young as 15 and 16. I always encourage these young women to stand up against abuse and violence.

"We have a case of a teenage mother who got pregnant against her will. Now she has to raise the child alone. It is important to change this generation of young people, otherwise we are going to miss an entire generation."

Mymoena Scholtz is a director at the organisation Where Rainbows Meet in Vrygrond. She said domestic violence and abuse cases were reported to them on a daily basis. “And many of them are teenage mothers. If they lay charges, they withdraw later. They remain because they say the men buy them close and provide homes. Here drugs and alcohol play a big role. When the men drink and use drugs, it usually lead to them hitting their partners,” she said.

For 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and children, Independent Media will bring you stories behind the statistics. Please DONT LOOK AWAY. We can all make a difference by supporting victims and organisations working to build a future without violence.

Cape Argus