Former TV news journalist and radio news reader Vanessa Tedder recently published her memoir, Beaten but not Broken, right.Pictures: Supplied
Former TV news journalist and radio news reader Vanessa Tedder recently published her memoir, Beaten but not Broken, right.Pictures: Supplied

Former journalist tells abuse story to help others

By Nadia Khan Time of article published Sep 14, 2018

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Durban - Having survived a violent and abusive relationship, former TV news journalist Vanessa Tedder details the physical and sexual assaults inflicted on her allegedly by her ex-boyfriend in her memoir, Beaten but not Broken.

Tedder, nee Govender, wrote about being in a five-year abusive relationship while working as a news reader at two prominent Durban radio stations.

The 41-year-old said she was inspired to share her story to help others trapped in abusive relationships, who endure untold pain and anguish, to break free. 

To turn the tide on violence against women, Tedder said it was imperative for survivors to speak out to remove the shame and to destroy the self-imposed censorship that women seem to have.

Tedder said she started writing in 2015 but the trauma of recalling the abuse had become too much and she stopped. 

“It was sending me to a very dark place, so I put away the first three chapters I had written and thought I couldn’t do this because of the emotional impact it was having on me.

“Later on, I sent those three chapters to a former news anchor, Joanne Joseph, for feedback on whether she thought this had potential as a book. Her feedback and that of a few close people imbued (me) to re-open the book and start again.

“My memoir is a deeply personal account of the pain and trauma I endured as a victim of abuse during my time at Lotus FM at the hands of a colleague, who was my lover and abuser for more than five years. I have shared brutal and graphic accounts of the vicious assaults, both physical and sexual.

“The memoir traces our journey together as a seemingly happy-in-love couple on the outside, while we battled raging violence behind the scenes and out of the public eye.”

She added her memoir also talked about her experience with being bullied as a child for being dark skinned.

“We all know that colourism is a big issue in our community. This book is a no holds barred journey of profoundly personal experiences that are commonplace but which we choose not to talk about for fear of embarrassment or reprisal.

“This memoir says let’s erase all that and talk about the uncomfortable things. Let’s empower our girl-child to never allow anyone to treat them badly, and let us raise sons to be real men, and to never treat women as their punching bags or as objects for their sexual gratification.”

Tedder added she had incredibly powerful men and women, who have stood by her to help make her voice heard.

Former news editor-in-chief Debora Patta wrote the foreword to her memoir.

Tedder hopes the book plays “a small but critical part” in the history of women turning the tide on domestic abuse.

“From Hollywood to the suburbs, we are coming out of the shadows, we are reclaiming our power and we are choosing to no longer protect the monsters that violate, hurt and kill us.

“I have placed myself at the altar of public perception to alter the way we deal with violence against women and children. This book takes every shame and every stigma and crushes it with its explicitness to simply show at the end the shame belongs only to the abuser.”

* Beaten but Not Broken will be launched at Bargain Books at Ballito Lifestyle Centre on September 27 at 6 pm. It is available at all major  book stores, on Kindle, and via


Three lucky readers can win a copy of Beaten but not Broken by Vanessa Govender. To win SMS tagword POSTBeaten followed by your name and surname to 33258 (SMSes charged at R1.50). Competition ends 9 am, September 18, 2018. Terms and conditions apply. Winners will be informed telephonically. 


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