Fiona Ruzha, H-Metro Reporter
Ratidzo Muchairi was born without any disability until 2013 when she lost sight due to migraine headaches.
She was abused emotionally and physically by her husband.
Like many women, she suffered in silence pretending as if everything was normal and depression took a toll on her until she developed severe headaches.
“I lost my sight on July 19 2013 due to severe migraine headaches.
“Basically it was caused by GBV.
“At that point, I was someone who was too reserved.
“I was in a marriage which had a lot of fighting and things were not moving quite well.
“I would not tell anyone what was happening and everything was just pilling up that ended up with me having migraine headaches.
“I would have several attacks and sometimes collapse waking up the next morning or waking up after two days in hospital.
“When the doctors were busy concentrating on my migraine headaches unfortunately I lost my sight.
“They said the severe headaches strained and paralysed the muscles that transmit light to the eyes and that was the end of my sight,” she said.
A white wedding is every girl’s dream and Ratidzo was no exception.
She, her family and friend ate and danced on her special day but little did they know that this was the beginning of a miserable phase that was to cost Ratidzo her eyesight.
“I got married in October 2005 and what hurts me the most is when I lost my sight I was with my husband.
“This happened when we were staying in South Africa and I had to come home to try and run around then my husband later on followed.
“When he came it appears he failed to understand what the doctors had said that my condition was untreatable.
“Although the doctors had assured that they were going to do their best, I lost my sight. And the bills were too steep for my family to afford.
“So my husband went back to South Africa and promised to come back but he went for good.
“Up to now he doesn’t know my number or call, I don’t know whether its denial or just failure to accept my condition.
“But I had to put all that behind me so that I can move on with my life,” said Ratidzo.
Losing her sight was devastating to her and even to her family members.
In her mind, she had become useless and irrelevant to the society.
After a lot of counselling, Ratidzo finally discovered herself and started believing she can still fulfil her dreams despite her disability.
Her case is not in isolation as there are other women who are suffering at the hands of abusive husbands and vice versa.
This has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic which has exacerbated existing inequalities and disparities thus there has been an increase in reported cases of gender-based violence around the world and Zimbabwe has not been spared.
However, the country has made tremendous progress in raising awareness and ensuring that perpetrators face justice.
Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which began November 25, spotlighting all forms of violence against women and girls.
The campaign is running under the theme; “End Violence against Women and Girls Now; No to Child Marriages.”