DA's Van Damme opens up on her trauma, battle with party after racist attack
CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Phumzile Van Damme has taken to social media to talk about trauma she endured following a racist attack about two years ago.
She said that many people suffered in silence to protect their tormentors, be it physical, emotional or psychological abuse, adding that it was time that people started speaking up about personal traumas and stopped protecting abusers.
In June 2019, also in a series of tweets, Van Damme admitted to punching a man in self-defence after he threatened violence during an altercation with a family at the V&A Waterfront.
Now, Van Damme has again raised the issue.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Van Damme said that for three years, a blatant lie had been repeatedly perpetuated that she beat up a child at the V&A Waterfront.
Yazin many of us suffer is silence to protect our tormentors be it physical, emotional or psychological abuse. Its time we starting speaking up about our personal traumas and stop protecting abusers.Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) May 9, 2021
I suppose I represent a political convenience. Its better that the narrative be out there I beat up a child. I, stupidly, fell into this trap because despite repeated red flags, I always try see the good. I ignored the red flags. I kept quiet & 3 years later, here I am, broken.Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) May 9, 2021
And broken, is a grave understatement. Sometimes you do not know how bad a situation is until you explain it to someone else and you realize just how badly you have been treated and just how badly it has affected you.Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) May 9, 2021
Posting a picture of the man involved to show that he was not a child, Van Damme said that she kept quiet and endured the added trauma of being portrayed as a violent brute who beats up children.
She said that she had not corrected this because she was told that she wouldn't be punished for self-defence and further claimed that she was told not to report the matter to police.
Van Damme said that she was currently in a legal battle with the DA, with some members intent on punishing her for defending herself.
She further indicated that she'd endured psychological abuse at the hands of those people and had undergone hours of therapy.
Let me not say the DA, rather some in the DA. I will not tell you the psychological abuse I have had to endure at the hands of those people & the hours in therapy. My silence has not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. Speak up. Always.Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) May 9, 2021
The politician warned that her silence had not protected her and advised her Twitter followers that their silence would not protect them.
She encouraged readers to always speak up.
Van Damme said that she recorded the incident because like many women, she instinctively knew that she wouldn't be believed, adding the words "workplace abuse is real.....do not ignore it".
Later in the thread, Van Damme said that she supposed she represented a political convenience and that it was better that the narrative be out there that she beat up a child.
She finished by saying that she stupidly fell into a trap, because, despite repeated red flags, she always tried to see the good and kept quiet but years later she was broken.
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