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During their stay in the shelter, the women have many opportunities to talk about their experiences and express their feelings, to their counsellor or to one another. Sometimes it helps to write it down…


Poem of appreciation

Tronke Sonder Tralies (Prisons without bars)

Prisons without bars

Too many traumas, heartaches, bitterness, sadness, loneliness are in my life
Today it must come to an end; today I have risen above my circumstances
Today is my day I am not in his house any more, although I have nothing now


We all have our doubts and from time to time we all lose our way,
but to be fully human is to believe in something or someone,
to know that it’s possible to face the unimaginable and somehow
to put one foot in front of the other until you manage to find your home again.

I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude
as I was reminded of the beauty and strength that exist in me.

We are all so different, yet similar and yet when we are weak,
we need to remember that we are never alone, that this too shall pass.
How I experience my life and the things that happen
to me is always from the inside out.

I have become a stronger person and that is what I learnt here at the shelter.
I will always be grateful to the staff of Saartjie Baartman
for all they have done for me and my kids.

Shelter resident.

Terwyl ek in die supermark na die gesigte om,
My kyk, wonder ek hoeveel siele is soos myne in
‘n Tronk sonder tralies – `n tronk van emosionele en verbale geweld.

Hoeveel voete in fyn skoene het ook weer die bewaarder met wie
Ons getroud is se landmyn afgetrap. Die tronk het nie deure vir
Privaatheid nie. Hoeveel vroue is daagliks blootgestel aan die hale

Van `n siele-verwrokker se tong. Ek bid vir almal in tronke,
Die met en sonder deure.

I look around me at the faces in the supermarket
And wonder how many are souls like mine – in a prison without bars,
A prison of emotional and verbal violence.

How many fine-shod feet have also trod
The landmine laid by the prison guard we have married?
The prison doesn’t have doors for privacy.

How many women are daily tongue-lashed and stripped bare
By the destroyer of their souls?

I pray for everyone in prisons
Those with and without doors.)


Survival Stories of domestic violence in South Africa and abroad