Abuse — A personal story
On Monday I inadvertently walked into a scene of domestic violence. The shocking part was, as the woman tried to fight back, neighbors kept telling her to “stop being stubborn” I was shocked.
We all know how rampant incidences of domestic violence are in our society so I will not go into any of that, today I just want to share her story.
She met him when she was 17. Fresh out of High School, he told her he loved her and wanted her to be his wife. By 18 she was carrying a child for him, at 20 she had another baby. They did not get married until she was 21. By 23, she had a third child. She was coming from a background where her family was basically struggling, he was her bridge out of abject poverty. She got her first car at 20, something she only imagined. When she turned 22, he bought her an SUV.
This lady who is now 27 is very pretty, body to die for and extremely light skinned (this is a big deal in present day Nigeria). Her husband was so insecure and guarded about her. He stopped her from having friends. Before they got married, he promised her that she would go back to school (that didn’t happen until May this year after they had so many fights about it). He gave her so many rules — She couldn’t have friends, she couldn’t go out and she couldn’t start a business (according to him, what was the point since he could provide everything she wanted).
This morning when I called her to check up on her, she said to me — “Modupe I cannot be as independent as other women and it is so embarrassing, I am like a slave here and no one will understand”. During our conversation, she told me how he had been beating and battering her for years — she had no one to fight for her. Rather, after beating her, he would pack her bags and then her family members will come to beg for him to take her back.
After Monday’s episode, I got the police and an NGO that focuses on assisting victims of domestic violence involved. She was so worried, she kept asking me — “I hope he won’t go to jail, I just want them to warn him about beating me”. According to her, the only reason she is still in the marriage is because of her kids. Her husband once told her that if she leaves he would send the kids to the village to live with his mum.
As it stands, she is so confused and so am I. I couldn’t even bring myself to advice her to leave. I am still confused. She cannot raise three kids on her own (let’s assume he lets her take the kids), he has literally made her 100% dependent on him financially.
This is our reality. We need to do more to make people understand that domestic violence is a crime, one that won’t go unpunished if reported. Our Laws need to do more to protect the vulnerable members of our society. We need to do more.