Chiefs striker opens up on abusive upbringing
Posted: 4 December 2017 Time: 16:00
A Kaizer Chiefs striker has revealed the harsh realities he faced in an abusive home during his childhood, and has offered encouragement to those struggling through similar circumstances.
As part of the international campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which runs from November 25 to December 10 each year, KickOff.com recently joined Vodacom in a 5km walk under the banner of 'No Violence against Women and Children'.
Also in attendance was Amakhosi forward Bernard Parker, who spoke out about the importance of the campaign, and shared his experience of growing up in an abusive home in Reiger Park, Boksburg.
"I grew up with an abusive father and, until today, we don't talk – my very own father, who I saw growing up and taking my mom through hell. Today I'm happy that my mom is a relieved woman and that he is no longer part of our lives," revealed the 31-year-old Bafana Bafana international.
"We see such things happen everyday in the locations, in the streets or at the corner shops in our communities, and what do we do as people? We stand and watch.
"In 2017, we take our phones out and record [what's going on], instead of stopping such things from happening, and that's a sad thing to see. We shouldn't be entertaining it!"
Parker feels privileged to be able to use his voice as a professional footballer, who has played at the highest level, to reach out and educate young men, while stressing the importance of being a positive role model.
"Happily, us footballers are recognised in poverty-stricken areas, which is where it [abuse] happens most, and we hope we can get the message across to them," said Parker.
"We know that they look up to us as footballers, so it's very important that we also lead by example and not be seen in the newspapers getting into the wrong things, especially things like abuse."
The former FC Twente attacker also shared a message of encouragement to those going through difficult circumstances involving domestic abuse.
"The world is beautiful, there's many things to see and live for out there. Don't get discouraged and think that there's no life after that [getting abused].
"Speak out and put your message across, there's a lot of help out there and there are many reasons to still live and other positive happenings to follow. It's important to live your life happily, freely and beautifully," he concluded.