A 51-year-old Pretoria woman pleaded with victims of domestic violence not to tolerate abuse as it could ultimately cost your life.
Ena Berger, who was shot nine times by her partner in their Montana home in June of 2012, shared her horrific ordeal with Rekord.
Berger, who lost six teeth from one of the bullets, was hit by nine of the 14 shots that her policeman fiancé Nico Kukkuk shot at her before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.
She said she still could not believe the man who was supposed to protect and love her ended up being an enemy that attempted to take her life so viciously.
“I trusted him with my life,” she said sorrowfully.
“As he was a policeman, I always felt he would protect me. I felt safe around him but in the end, that very same person pointed a gun at me and fired openly.”
Berger believed she could have prevented the fatal incident should she had addressed the problem from its inception.
She said silence or fear of speaking out was the problem most victims of gender-based violence had with the hope that the situation would become better.
“Failing to report or speak out about domestic violence from the beginning is a time bomb waiting to explode at any time,” she said.
“For domestic violence victims to prevent the worst, they should speak out about abuse and seek help right from the beginning to prevent the problem from escalating into a point where lives are lost.”
She had regrets about not telling her family about her partner’s serious anger problem.
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“After we had dated for eight months my partner moved in with me in late 2011.
“He immediately wanted us to be engaged. I refused at first but later agreed and two months later we broke off the engagement after an altercation between us.”
She said the argument erupted when they were at a camp in Pilanesberg. She revealed that when their dispute reached a boiling point, Kukkuk grabbed the engagement ring off of her finger while speeding with both of them in the car.
“He was driving at 200km per hour and said to me he was done. I thought we would get into a car accident.
“When we got home I told him I did not want him in my life anymore.”
However, a month later they were back together.
“He cried and begged me to forgive and take him back, so I did.”
The couple were engaged again by June when Kukkuk accused Berger of having an affair.
“On 24 June, he came home and asked if we could talk in the bedroom and I agreed.”
In the bedroom, he looked into her eyes, said “you will never get your free will in life”, locked the door, took his 9mm pistol and opened fire.
Berger was in a coma for nine days and had 27 operations after the shooting.
She said the ordeal had given her inner strength to be a stronger person.
She said domestic violence abuse was not only committed by men but also women.
“I am also aware that some women do the worse to their male partners.”
Kameeldrift police spokesperson Sergeant Mavis Sindane echoed Berger’s call for domestic violence victims to speak out.
“Most people are afraid to speak out about domestic violence, especially in cases when the suspect is a breadwinner,” she said.
She warned that this was, however, not solving the problem as it hindered the police from arresting suspects.
This article was republished from Rekord with permission