Vanessa Govender, now Vanessa Tedder, is an award winning South African journalist, who is a familiar face in almost every South African home. For South African Indians, she is a source of pride and joy as one of the first Indian women in television journalism. So when Vanessa’s book, Beaten But Not Broken, hit the shelves late last year, it was a read that I had to get my hands on.
The book is written with passion and raw emotion. I literally could not put the book down and read it from cover to cover in four hours. In this book, Vanessa shares with the world her deepest secret of being in an abusive relationship for five and a half years. She shares her struggle in leaving this relationship due to the fear of her own safety and about being broken down emotionally and mentally through the physical and verbal abuse that she endured. She talks of feelings of not being good enough, not being able to find a partner who loved her like he did, and fear which kept her trapped in a toxic relationship. But most importantly, she shares her courage and resolve to set herself free and the long process of healing. Writing this book was stepping stone in her healing process, a journey which she is still on.
This incredible book by Vanessa Tedder resonates deep inside you and the feelings experienced through this read stays with you for days after you have finished reading this book. She offers this book also as a message to the hundreds of thousands of women in similar situations as a beacon of hope that you can get out and live a better life. She indicates that it comes down to understanding that you have a choice to leave and to do so before you or someone you love loses something greater because you didn’t.
Vanessa also raises an important issue around prejudices that exist within the Indian community around skin colour and the impact that this had on her from a very young age, which resulted in her developing self image and insecurity issues that made walking away from a relationship very difficult. To understand this fully, you have got to read the book.
If you haven’t read this book as yet, I implore you to pick up a copy and lose yourself in the words in its pages. You will be changed for the better for it. Thank you Vanessa Govender (Tedder) for giving us this book and sharing so much of yourself with us.
With Love and Gratitude