Monday, 9 May 2016

'My domestic abuse story' - LIB reader shares her story

The LIB reader writes below...
I have made mistakes, the worst was getting married. Marriage is to me a cage where man and beast collide and attempt to make peace amidst jeers from bloodthirsty onlookers hungrily calling for a violent display of strengths. We  have a beautiful daughter together, who is my everything, but her cherubic beauty was not enough to calm the bubbling volcano of rage that constantly boiled beneath the surface of his heart, the heart of a man that was my husband for a full two years.
Two years of heart wrenching pain and warm salty tears. The beatings were such a common occurrence that I grew addicted to tasting my tears and felt oddly disturbed if a day went by without crying. My heart often rattled in my chest, I didn't seem to be doing enough, meals where never tasty enough,I wasn't beautiful enough, my fashion sense and judgment wasn't glamorous enough, even my natural maternal instincts were continually faulted by my slave master. The only thing I was good for was 'mating', because that was what it was- no kissing, no foreplay, no sweet words, just the sudden penetration and angry thrusts of an impatient man.      

Oftentimes, while he was on top of me, I allowed my thoughts take me away to a land where I felt safe, far away from my slave master. Where I could be beautiful, where I  could be the kind of slave he desired. Heaven knows I did my best those two years, I cooked,cleaned, cared, most of all I loved. But one bitter truth I have come to know is that lov  One of such painful memories that still float around in my head was when  I decided to surprise him by redecorating our living room. That turned out to be one of the wrongest moves I ever made. After a hard days' job of lifting heavy furniture while carrying a baby strapped to my back, I finally looked around, feeling happy to have planned such a surprise for my beloved husband. He walked in after work, looked around and questioned me as to why I left his living room in a mess. Long story short, an argument ensued and subsequently evolved into a fight. As I lay crying in the bedroom, I wondered how I could ever please this man. Did he love me? The scars on my body were emblems of his brutality.   

There were times neighbors banged on our door urging him to stop beating me, there was a time I was badly pummeled in church right in front of his mother, what was my crime? I found out he was having an affair while I was pregnant with our first child and  asked him about it via sms because I was too scared to confront him  for fear that he would get mad,  he got mad alright, after beating me ,he seized my phone and left me stranded in church while people looked on at me with obvious pity in their eyes.                                                   

Little things like  not reaching orgasm during sex left him in a fit of silent rage which often erupted into full blown war hours or a few days later,ultimately I learned how to fake a genuine orgasm.                
I met him a few years ago in the University. He was a year ahead of me and stood as a mentor and tutor during my sojourn through school. We had a bittersweet relationship. The bitter often over shadowed the sweet, heck! I can barely remember the sweet times.  Sadly, I remained in a toxic relationship because I listened to ignorant statements like "pray for your man, he would change" or "na woman dey fit change man. " 
                                                      
Thinking back now, I'm deliriously glad I summoned courage to leave such a toxic atmosphere. What would have become of my daughter in such an environment? What would have become of her mother? I'm one of the lucky few that left while they could. Sadly, Domestic abuse against women is gradually accepted as a natural part of a woman's status as her "husband's property". People are often quick to put the blame on the victims of domestic violence by asserting that these women either depend solely on husbands financially,or that they may have been trying to take over the man's role as the head of the house simply because the poor woman has a career. The silliest justification I have heard is that some women are not praying enough for their families thus the devil has found a way into homes. Total balder dash! Any man who resorts to hitting a woman is an animal. Simple and short.                                                                                         

Domestic abuse occurs in many forms and could be physical, sexual or psychological. This menace has more than reared it's ugly head, its shoulders are now very visible,  a systematic approach has to be put in place to change the orientation of our Nigerian men and women. From my experience, I feel the vows taken during marriage should be reviewed, especially the part that says "for better for worse", this phrase short as it may seem is like a death sentence often subjecting people to untold torture. A lot of victims of remain in abusive relationships/ marriages until they are finally maimed, killed and sometimes lose children. The time has come to stand up and say no! The short term and long term effect of domestic abuse on women is devastating. In my case, I lost hearing in my right ear, lost a 4 month old twin pregnancy, my self esteem diminished totally, fortunately, I'm lucky to be alive because where there is life, there is hope. Many women have not been as fortunate as I am.

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