News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday March 24th 2017

Acid attack survivor speaks against violence

27.02.2013

Cape Town-based Zimbabwean woman whose face was disfigured in a horrific acid attack last year, has broken her silence, claiming that her ex-boyfriend could be the one who hired her attackers.

Known to the media and public “Susan”, Perceive Shava, 24, said today she would reveal her real name and talk about the abuse she suffered at the hand of an ex-boyfriend to warn other woman not to fall into a similar trap and to encourage others to report gender-based violence.

Her life changed forever last year August 30, in what appeared to be a random acid attack in Cape Town centre. The attack left her face severely damaged and she has since had seven major surgeries in a bid to restore it.

Still traumatised by the event, she said yesterday that her attackers – who have been acquitted by the courts – could have hired by her abusive ex-boyfriend whom she was trying to break up with at the time.

Shava had been with her boyfriend for less than a month and she said before the incident he was abusive and claimed that if she left him he would kill them both so they could “die together”.

She described him as a “psycho” who literally tried to drive into the sea with her in his car when she tried to leave him.

A week into their relationship Shava said he stole money from her wallet and lied that he was going to put it in a savings account.

Shava alleged that her boyfriend would stalk her to work, wait until she finished and then forcibly try to take her home by pulling her along by her handbag in front of her colleagues.

He refused to let go of me,” said Shava. “He was harassing and embarrassing me in front of my friends. He was possessive and psycho.

I had a beautiful nose and he would tell me that if I break up with him, he would break my nose. It was a scary situation. I was in hell.”

Shava cannot understand why she was attacked last August, but she said it was most likely that her ex-boyfriend sent the attackers.

After the attack, she said he was questioned by police in connection with the incident but they let him go free. Shava hasn’t seen him since the incident.

Asked why it took him long to speak out, she said it was because the matter had been in court, but she had been disappointed that the alleged attackers had since been acquitted.

Shava said she would now be working with refugee lobby group People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) in their anti-gender violence department.

Braam Hanekom, chairman of Passop, said Shava had been “very brave” to go public about the abusive relationship hoping that her story would change lives. – Francis Hweshe

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