That is the reality for Miss SA Teen 2009 first princess Lucky Mthembu, who, at the hands of her ex-fiancé, a grandson of a prominent KwaZulu-Natal politician, has been bullied, beaten and battered in the past two years with little help from the police.
The model has filed five protection orders against her 29-year-old Hillcrest businessman ex-fiancé, who stalks her, as well as her family and friends, even vandalising property.
On Friday Karabo Mokoena of Joburg was buried after her boyfriend allegedly beat her to death before burning her in a story that has since seen the country gripped by awful tales of violence against young women and children.
There have been many other nameless victims of abuse in South Africa, as confirmed by the most recent Stats SA report on SA’s Demographic and Health Survey 2016 Key Indicator Report, which painted a horrifying picture of violence among intimate partners.
The report showed that for women aged between 18 and 54, at least two in 10 women had suffered physical abuse in the past year at the hands of their intimate partners. Three in 10 women who lived with a partner but were not married suffered physical abuse and almost four in 10 women who were divorced or separated had been abused in the past year.
“Gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. Despite constitutional protections, gender-based violence remains persistent and widespread in South Africa. Violence against women occurs across socio-economic status, race, age and religion,” the report said.
Last week Mthembu broke her silence on social media and has since forwarded a 14-page dossier of her gruelling experiences to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s office for intervention.
This week she spoke to the Sunday Tribune about her experiences, which include her feeling unsafe and in hiding, fearing her ex-fiancé. She has changed her phone numbers four times and has moved back and forth between relatives to avoid her ex.
“I decided to take to Twitter after the whole thing with Karabo, I was like this could have easily been me. I am at a point where I thought I should raise awareness because these things happen, it feels like a movie but it’s not,” said the 26-year-old woman.
“I am tired of the police, I have opened so many cases and nothing has happened, I am tired,” she said.
“When my ankle broke he was punching me, wrestled me to the ground and how he broke it… He handled me like I was an opponent in a wrestling match, slam- dunked me to the floor and strangled me,” she said.
This attack, among many others, happened at the ex-fiancé’s house.
It led to her quitting her master’s studies at UKZN before re-registering this year. Her lecturers are aware of her situation and have developed a special routine as she cannot attend classes out of fear.
Lucky Mthembu had to have an operation on her ankle after a violent night of abuse. Picture: Supplied
Mbalula’s spokesperson, Esethu Hasane, said the complaint was being handled by a lawyer at the complaints office of the minister and described the matter as “complex”.
“After careful reading and to have full understanding, he will consult with her and other role players. The case is quite complex,” said Hasane.
In 2015, Mthembu’s mother’s car was torched at a school in Pietermaritzburg shortly after the relationship ended. Two months later, she was slashed to death with a panga as she left her school.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said: “A case of murder where a school principal was found murdered was opened at Bishopstowe police station and was transferred to Mountain Rise detectives for further investigation. The case is still under investigation and the information on the investigation is sub judice”.
And in January last year, Mthembu’s current boyfriend was attacked at his home in Durban, allegedly by the ex-fiancé.
Gwala said a malicious damage to property case was being investigated and would be taken to senior prosecutions for a decision.
Four months after the attack on her boyfriend, three men in an unmarked SUV attacked the couple, pointing firearms at them and ramming their car. They escaped and a head-on collision ensued.
According to Mthembu, the police refused to open a case and would only make an entry for the crash.
The official comment from the police read: “According to Umbilo police, the scene was attended but the complainant said he does not require police investigation into the matter. No case was opened and an occurrence book entry was made,” said Gwala.
Mthembu disputes the police version and says police refused to open a case.
Protection orders in place by Mthembu and her close family, have not been successful. Mthembu, her close friends and family receive thousands of text messages talking ill of them, allegedly sent by her ex through a bulk SMS portal.
The ex-fiancé, whose name is known to the Sunday Tribune, could not be reached on his phone this week.