Some Zimbabwean ladies saw a chance to better their lives by going abroad to work, but being abroad is not always a wonderful thing when your family is not with you.
Many foreign women in the United Kingdom have worked so hard to raise funds and bring their families for a great reunion.
Marvelous Chidhakwa is a nurse in the United Kingdom, who left Zimbabwe to offer her services as a nurse.
It is tempting to be in the UK when you are a nurse, as one can earn 5 000 pounds a month, which is a year’s salary for nurses elsewhere.
But this money does not come easy, Marvelous has three jobs, risking her health through overworking.
When she gets her money, she sends half of it to her husband and children in Zimbabwe.
Besides her nucleus family, she also takes care of her parents back home.
As a result of her demanding work schedule, Marvelous knows no social life.
She was excited when her husband and kids finally got visas to join her in the UK. Her life was to change forever.
The first few months were electric, but very soon had to go back to work and her working pattern created a gap between her and the husband.
She was too busy to notice the husband’s changed behaviour.
One fateful night, she fell sick at work and was driven home by her manager. As she opened the door she was welcomed by a lady’s bra and lingerie.
Marvelous could not believe her eyes when she saw her husband with another woman in their bedroom.
She just screamed and fainted and was taken back to hospital, this time for treatment.
When she came back home, the husband had left a note inscribed: “It was nice meeting you, I am gone”.
That was how her marriage collapsed.
All the work and effort she put in bringing her husband to the UK had come to nothing.
Marvelous fell into a depression which almost cost her life. The children were taken by the Social Service, while the husband moved in with another woman.
She suffered the worst form of emotional domestic violence.
The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, se_xual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.
Marvelous represents a lot of Zimbabwean women who are licking their wounds after the men they brought from home leave them for other women.
What Zimbabwean women face is what is called “intimate partner violence”.
Intimate partner violence refers to behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, se_xual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, se_xual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours.
Many men cheat on their wives in the UK and they try hard to blame it on their women.
Some complain of being se_xually deprived because their wives are always tired from their double or tripple shifts.
Some Zimbabwean men living in the UK are lazy and do not want to work double jobs, and as a result, the wife chips in by taking all the jobs available to her to be able to feed the family.
When they get home, they too tired to engage their husbands, let alone clean the house and feed the children.
If she says she is tired and she needs a rest, the husband threatens her with going out to find another woman.
Some women actually engage their husbands in the bedroom simply as a duty, not for pleasure because they will be tired.
This shows the se_xual violence many Zimbabwean women face at the hands of their once loving men.
Se_xual violence is “any se_xual act, attempt to obtain a se_xual act, or other act directed against a person’s se_xuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting. It includes rap_e, defined as the physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration.”
Several Zimbabwean men have been arrested and did time for se_xually abusing their wives.
England alone has seen over 70 percent of divorces in couples of foreign origins.
Zimbabwean men’s syndrome of being the big boss in the house has contributed to many divorces.
There is also this problem where men think all the house chores are to be done by the woman regardless of the jobs she has undertaken through the day.
Mandinema Matambanadzo was a nurse in the UK. She said her husband, whom she brought from home, started bringing girlfriends to their house.
The husband defiled the bedroom and still demanded more from her. So her performance at work started to diminish. She made several errors at work and this affected her service.
She was hauled before the nursing board and struck off from the role.
The husband moved in with another woman, a friend of Mandinema. Now Mandie is a psychiatric patient. The more she thinks of how she sacrificed to bring the man to the UK, the more she gets depressed.
Population-level surveys based on reports from victims provide the most accurate estimates of the prevalence of intimate partner violence and se_xual violence.
A 2013 analysis conduct by WHO with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the South Africa Medical Research Council, used existing data from over 80 countries and found that worldwide, one in three, or 35 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence.
The Zimbabwean Group, a research team on Zimbabweans in the UK estimated the abuse rate among the Zimbabwean couples to be at 80 percent.
Almost one third (30 percent) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or se_xual violence by their inti_mate partner.
Many Zimbabweans report having been se_xually assaulted by a partner, although data for non-partner se_xual violence are more limited.
Intimate partner and sexual violence are mostly perpetrated by men against women.
Many Zimbabwean men in the UK are content with one job, effectively making them less financially powerful than their hard working wives.
Gender inequality and norms on the acceptability of violence against women, which they have inherited from tradition, seem to work against the men, as they became root causes of violence against women.
Men in the UK have become the source of stress to their partners.
Many of them suffer from inferiority complex caused by their less earnings, as compared to their wives.
It is, however, true that there so many responsible Zimbabwean men in the UK. Some have developed their homes both in the diaspora and back home.
There are also a lot of men who were brought by their wives to the diaspora and remained faithful.