CASE 1 – HELD IN THE CROOK OF HIS ARM AND BEATEN TO STUPOR (BSS)
“Hey, Sybil. I think this is for you,” Toya said.
Sybil stared at the screen for more than a second. “This is going to be tough.”
Abigail adjusted her headset. “Do you want me to read it?”
“Be my guest, sister!” Sybil stood and walked to lean against the wall in the small cozy space Jimmy had converted to an office for her in their three-and-a-half bed apartment. Still, she ensured she was within her webcam range.
Abigail cleared her throat.
Good evening, BSS Crew. My name is JAC. I live with my husband in the small town of Okija, and we have been married for eight years. Recently, he bought me a phone, but he would never allow me to use it. I am a schoolteacher, and this is the first smartphone I will own. He refused to allow me to load data or use Whatsapp. Last week, my sister in Lagos video-called and we spoke at length. My husband, as he normally does, checked my phone when he came back from work. He’s a civil servant with the Federal Government. He saw the call from my sister. And there the beating started.
What pained me most is that while he was beating me, his phone rang. He held me in the crook of his left arm and picked the call with his right. When he was done chatting with his friend, he continued to hold me like this and punch me on the head until I went limp. That was when he let go and I fell on to the floor.
I feel hum…
“Okay, hold on, he what?” Toya cursed. “I’m sorry, ladies. I’m sorry.”
“Jimmy will cut his hand off,” Sybil muttered. “This is barbaric.”
Abigail exhaled. “Will you ladies allow me to finish reading?”
“Go on, sorry.” Toya waved. “Please, finish.”
“Where was I?”
I feel humiliated and ashamed. I know I shouldn’t complain because he did this before we got married but what pains me is this particular one. Holding me like that…
“Oh my God,” Abigail whispered. “While our daughters watched.”
The three ladies remained silent for several minutes.
Abigail clapped. “No judgment!”
“Really.” Sybil yawned. “What do we tell her? She hasn’t made any request.”
“Well, we reply with helpline numbers. Huh, let me check for Okija…isn’t that in Anambra state?” Toya grabbed her mouse and opened her browser.
“Yes, Anambra,” Abigail said.
Sybil rubbed her forehead. This wasn’t easy for her. “So, he holds her in the crook of his arm, while she dangles off him. She doesn’t fight back or anything, scream, kick.”
“It seems she’s used to being beaten but this was particularly humiliating because he held her and took a call.” Abigail sighed. “That’s an animal right there.”
Toya groaned. “And their daughters watched. She didn’t say how many?”
“Oh, three. She did. I didn’t see it,” Abigail said.
“I think she’s okay with the beating but this time she feels different.” Sybil rolled her eyes. “Maybe after seeing our adverts or seeing the girls, probably crying.”
“I don’t know. It gives me a headache, honestly.” Toya sighed noisily. “Okay. Let’s post a reply. What’s the verdict?”
Sybil clasped her hands. “She needs to get away from him before he finally damages her or the girls. She should call the Anambra number and they’ll tell her nearest shelter.”
“She has a job.”
“She won’t want to leave him.”
“She’s taken it for eight years.”
“Please, Sybil, post our verdict.”
“She has a choice.”
“We can’t force her.”
“I need a drink.”
“Let us pray.”
CASE 2 – DENIED SEX ON OUR WEDDING NIGHT
Abigail scoffed. “This makes no sense to me. Trash it.”
Toya gasped. “Wait. Wait a minute…she’s sixteen!”