Domestic Violence Became A lifestyle, Until I Decided No More (2)

It got to a point where my own husband would tell me to go stark-naked immediately I come back from work or an outing. Why? He wants to smell me or sometimes my undies to know if I slept with a man or not. It was so humiliating.

He would even ask me how many men talked to me on my way out or back and whether I gave the man my number. When I don’t give him an answer, he will start with slaps and gradually enter into beating. I became a slave to my husband instead of a wife. When I serve him his food, he would ask me to be on my knees until he was through not minding my condition.

After I gave birth, there was a day we had an argument in the presence of his mother and he slapped me. His mother was shocked that she immediately warned him and warned him never to try it again. She told him to learn how to control his temper and to please her, he apologized to me. After he left, she also apologised on his behalf and asked me if it was the first time he was hitting. “No mama, he does not hit me. I guess he slapped me because he was very angry,” I lied.

When he started hitting me, I hid it from every body. I gave excuses for every injury on my body just to protect my husband. I was willing to endure any abuse as long as it does go to the extreme – death. But when I could not bear it any more, I reported to my parents. My mother told me, “In Africa if a woman leaves her matrimonial home, then, it means she was not well brought up. It is a shame on her family. I will advise you to endure my dear. What will people say? I know he will soon come back to his sense. Just endure.”

My father who was really furious with my mother’s statement replied, “Woman, how could you tell your own daughter to endure? Have I ever lifted a finger at you?” he asked. He turned to me and said, “Listen my daughter, Juwon only paid dowry on your head. I did not sell you to him. And remember you still have your room in my house. Come home before he kills you and my grandchildren,” he begged almost in tears.

I knew I needed to do something fast before Juwon hurts me seriously or even kills me. So, for the first time, I opened up to my friend Dora and she was shocked. “Why are you just opening up to me? How long has this been going on?” She asked. “It actually started that day you saw me lying on the ground when I was five months pregnant.” I revealed.

I confided in her that I was thinking of moving to my parents place but she advised me against it. Instead she counselled me to go and learn the basics of self-defence in martial arts. Seven months after delivery, I took Dora’s advice. She personally introduced me to the trainer. The first week was not easy, however, I made up my mind to continue. I attend classes thrice a week and in less than two months; I could already defend myself but I still played along with Bernard. That was because, I thought he would come back to his senses and become the loving and caring husband and father that he was.

But that fateful Friday in October 2013, something unexpected happened. Bernard came back from work that evening and asked me to prepare his dinner. I hurried to the kitchen to micro wave the food, and then served him about five minutes later. With the hot steam coming out from the fried rice, Bernard told me I served him cold food. As he raised his hands to hit me, I hit him and he found himself on the ground. He did not believe what had just hit him. He got up and tried to attack me again, but I kicked him and pinned him to the ground. It was as if I was acting an action movie. I started punching him until he started shouting for help. But of course, there was no help from anybody. After that day, Bernard never tried laying a finger on me again. Instead, he went about telling family members and close friends that I have become a husband beater.

I had to learn the act of self-defence to protect myself and not to actually hit my husband, but I guess he does not see it that way. Today, he is scared of me but that is not my intention. I just wanted him to stop using me as is punching bag. I want my husband back, I want the Bernard that I married. My children are growing up, I don’t want them to see either their father beating me or me hitting their father. What do I do? I need honest advice please.