Won’t leave jailed boyfriend
Sat, July 28, 2012 - 12:00 AM
MY PARTNER IS IN JAIL. His friendship with and trust in a known criminal landed him there. Since he [has been] jailed my life is pure hell. I am no longer working and find it increasingly difficult to support my two young children and pay my bills. It’s really hard.
This period has led me to conclude that few people spare a thought for the family of those who are jailed. Too many of them treat the partners and children of convicted men with an indifference that I never thought possible.
From my experience, as soon as civil servants hear that your man is a convict they aren’t usually keen to help you afterwards. It’s as if they believe you are equally as wicked or have benefitted from the criminal activity your partner was involved with, so you don’t deserve any assistance.
The top officials need to look into the treatment meted out to women like me, who find themselves in a bad patch because they loved a man who messed up. It is wrong how we are made to pay for the mistakes of our loved ones.
As for family support, that varies depending on whether they are accustomed to having relatives in trouble with the police. For people like these, going to prison is not a stigma as they see the police as always picking on them.
Many of those people are not fair and have no conscience. They see the world as the haves versus the have-nots. And as the have-nots, they see nothing wrong in getting what they can from those who have.
In my case, I came from a solid family who taught me right from wrong, so having a partner who is a criminal is considered unacceptable and reason for them to blank you. As far as they are concerned, by choosing the criminal, I have turned my back on them so I have to suffer the consequences.
What makes this situation even worse for me is that my parents never liked him and told me so. They advised me to leave him out as he came from a district where people are known for crime and violence. But he was not like that and I, because I believed in him, kept on seeing him. Eventually, I got pregnant and moved in with him.
For more than four years we were a happy couple. Though I did not like some of his friends, I accepted that he grew up with them and just couldn’t blank them so. But it was one of those same people who landed him in trouble with the police and turned my life upside down.
The police came to our house early one morning and found items that had been stolen. My partner had told me that they belonged to his best friend, and he was just keeping them for him until he got a place of his own. That was a lie.
Can you imagine how I felt with the police shouting at me and digging up everything in the house? The children were frightened and crying, and they couldn’t understand why their father was unable to hug them as the police had him and prevented him from doing so?
That was one of the worst days of my life. But more bad days were to come.
For months he was out on bail and the uncertainty of not knowing if he would get off or not, when the case came up, was torture.
My problem was that I just didn’t know how to act. I didn’t want to hold onto him too tight for fear that if I lost him then I wouldn’t be able to handle it. At the same time I didn’t want to be too distant because he needed me then more than ever, and if it looked as if I was pulling away from him, he would have lost heart.
The pressure of that situation aged me. It was made more difficult because I could not turn to my family for help, as my father told me I had made up my bed, so I had to lie in it.
I did not particularly like his family so I could not talk with them either. I felt all alone, with two young children. I used to feel like my whole world was caving in on me. But worse was the feeling of helplessness, as I had no power to affect or change what was going to happen to him.
At the trial my worst fears came true; he was sentenced and taken away from me. I will never forget that day – hearing the jury’s verdict then the words of the judge. It was the day I feared most and when it happened I went totally numb.
As I said, things are tight for me and I don’t see any way out. But I will fight to survive because I love my man. He just made a mistake and I can’t turn my back on him like that.
I believe love is about for better or worse. You just can’t run when things turn sour. So I will keep the flames burning for him.
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