A Johannesburg woman, who killed her husband 11 years ago, has called on victims of abuse to seek help or to walk away before it is too late. Philda Sarlie shot and killed her violent husband using his gun.

Sarlie is now a gender-based violence activist. She is part of the newly-formed Black Doek Movement. “It gives me great pleasure and it’s heartbreaking to stand here. But I need to share my story with you. I was an abused woman for 18 years. And you might think why did you live in that situation for 18 years? But it’s not easy to leave because you get threatened, your children get threatened, your mother gets threatened and how I got out of that situation is that I killed my partner.”

Sarlie says it has never been easy since she took the life of her husband. She says memories of the abuse keep coming back to haunt her.

“I didn’t do it deliberately; I did it because he was going to kill me. I grabbed the gun and shot him. It happened 11 years ago but I still live with it every day. And the worst part is, I killed somebody I loved. I loved my abuser; I became addicted to my abuser. And I want to say to the young girls; don’t let that become normality. It’s not normal.”

Gender-based violence has been on the rise since the start of the national lockdown. The brutal murder of eight-months pregnant Tshegofatso Pule, who was stabbed and hanged from a tree in Roodepoort, earlier this month and the death of a three-year-old Orange Farm baby, who was found in a rubbish bin with stab wounds, served as a catalyst for calls on government to refocusing on gender-based violence.

Sarlie and other women have formed an anti-gender based violence group called the Black Doek Movement. “No amount of counseling can rectify that wound. And how many others end up the worst victims. I’m asking you all to pledge yourselves. You are not going to be around when your great-grandchildren are around. Would you take up the fight with us to make South Africa safe,” says one of the founders is Geraldine Prinsloo.

The Black Doek Movement calls on all women to join them to march to the Union Building on Women’s Day in August to call on Government to put an end to violence against women and children.

They intend to use social media with the hashtag Black Doek Movement to rally as many women and men to be part of the initiative.

In the video below social activist, Dereleen James talks about the objectives of the objective: