Asterie Kubwimana, a mother of seven and resident of Rusosoro in Gasabo District, is recovering steadily at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe after her husband hacked her with a machete and left her for dead.
The attack took place on the morning of June 21 in Rusororo Sector.
After the incident, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) mounted a countrywide search for the man, identified as Robert Rutaganira, but he still remains at large.
The New Times found her in good spirits despite the deep wounds all over her body (both side of her neck, left cheek, lower back and many cuts on both arms).
Before the assault, she worked as a midwife at the same hospital while her husband was as a cab driver.
She narrated that the morning after being hacked, though she was breathing well, she never believed she would survive because blood was oozing from the multiple cuts. She could barely feel her hands as they had been severely cut and were being held together by a piece of skin.
“I don’t remember the time I got here at the hospital but I was conscious on the arrival, but minutes later I slipped into a state of unconsciousness. I was immediately admitted into the intensive care unit where I spent four days, as doctors fixed my separated bones and tendon,” she said.
“Now, one month later, I can tell that I’m feeling better, I can walk to the physiotherapy room on my own. I’m thankful to God that I survived and am also thankful to the medical staff of this hospital who did what was virtually impossible, to keep me alive”.
However, although she is recovering from physical injuries, she is still traumatised. She always has a feeling that her husband was coming to kill her again and can’t afford staying alone in the hospital room even for minutes.
Kubwimana said that doctors promised her that in a few days to come, she will be able to go back home, but thinking that her husband remains at large makes her shiver. She is terrified that anytime he could get out of hiding and come back to finish his plan of killing her.
How it started
The couple went to bed as usual the night before the incident but the husband kept waking up and walking out of the room as if he had a problem.
In the morning, the children went to school and she went to the bathroom to get ready for work. Shortly after, when she was applying lotion, her husband came inside and told her he is going to kill her but she thought he was joking.
“As we were talking, he bent under the bed and grabbed a machete and started chopping my lower back and arms until I was completely helpless, he continued with the other parts until he was tired and fled the scene,” she recalled of the gruesome attack.
Their children had gone to school.
After the attack, Rutaganira locked her inside the house and threw the keys inside. He left her to die in their bedroom but she managed to open the door and get to sit in the living room where she continued to scream loudly until a neighbour heard her and came to her rescue.
Kubwimana said that she has been married to his abusive husband for 23 years. All these years, she said, apart from financial and mental abuse, his husband never attempted to physically abuse her. She only knew him as a womanizer and irresponsible man, who would spend all his income on other women.
“I knew all about his adultery but I decided to tolerate his character for the sake of our seven children. Even earlier in our marriage he gave birth to another child out of wedlock and the woman brought the child and we took care of her with our children,” she said.
Her husband would disappear time to time and come back, but one day he went off and spent seven months without giving a sign. She was worried and went to report to the police and the Ministry of Justice about his disappearance.
When he came back later he had completely changed for the worse that he even started dating their teenage daughter aged 18.
“My baby hid it from me but told me she wished her father would have stayed in exile. I knew there was something wrong and investigated until I discovered that he was sending her love messages by phone.”
Kubwimana decided to report her husband before he could rape their daughter, she said.
But the husband discovered her plan before she could go to the authorities and that is when he planned to kill her.
After all she has gone through, her advice to other women who are going through domestic abuse is to report it on time without waiting for things to get out of hand.
She also called on security agencies to do their best to make sure her husband is arrested so she could lead a peaceful life after leaving the hospital.