CASE 3 – BEATEN BEFORE MY PARENTS (BSS)
“I can’t handle another battered woman. Please, I’m going to bed.” Abigail sighed. “I’m tired.”
“Would you want one on something else?” Toya squinted. “The next is about choice, really.”
“We said we’d do at least three each time we meet,” Sybil said softly. “The brute I was in a relationship with beat me up at the back of our house while my mum prepared food for him in the kitchen.”
“Can you read it, Sybil?” Toya said.
“I have to.”
Hello BSS Crew. My name is SI. My husband and I grew up in the same neighbourhood and our families were friends. On more than one occasion, his father had stumbled into physical altercations between my parents. As shameful as this sounds, many people knew my father physically abused my mother, and my husband was no different.
When we started to date, one promise he made to me was that he would never treat me the way my father treated my mother. This made me love him more. Especially after my older sister got married to a brutal young man. Her case was even worse than my mother’s. So pathetic she’s back at home because the last time her husband beat her up, he almost killed her.
The first time my husband raised his hand at me, it looked to me like a mistake. We had an argument and he slapped me. It was just one slap, and in my mind, I told myself there was probably one slap in every girl’s life, as they say. He never apologized and everything just died down.
However, the next time we argued, he yelled at me to shut up or he would shut me up. The rest is history. He shut me up that day. And he has done it again since then.
I was ashamed to tell my mother and sister my husband now beat me. They looked to me as the one who married right. To protect myself, I decided to stay away from whatever aggravated my husband. That way, I hoped the beating would reduce or stop.
Recently however, he did not even need to be aggravated. Any small thing, he would slap me or shove me. He never beat me to stupor and would sometimes insult me that my father did worse to my mother.
On a visit to my parents last Christmas, a small argument started. I wanted to walk away as my parents were seated right there in their parlour, with my sister. My husband pulled me back as I started to walk away and shoved me. I shouted at him to leave me alone. Instead, he slapped me twice, and pushed me to the floor. Next thing he walked out of the house and drove back home.
My parents blamed me for raising my voice at him and told me to take a taxi home with our two children. And beg my husband for forgiveness. More shocking is that even my sister too agreed with this verdict.
I went back home and begged my husband as my family advised, but I think this is all so wrong. I don’t want to end up like my mother and sister who have no self-esteem or self-value.
I have a great job and I am ready to leave this abusive relationship before it degenerates, but I am afraid to take the step without my family’s support.
“She has our support.” Toya cried. “That’s the first verdict.”
“One of the biggest issues women face is lack of family support.” Sybil moaned. “You’d ask me what that mother is still doing in that her husband’s house. Her family would have blamed her.”
“What kind of nonsense is that, sef.” Abigail hissed. “Why would my mother watch a man slap me and push me down?”
“My mother will bring out a knife for you. Are you mad?” Toya clapped. “Anyway, it’s late. What’s the verdict?”
“We have helpline numbers. She has our support.” Sybil stared at her screen for a second. “She’s in Lagos. It’s easy to get help for her.”
“She should leave him then? With the children?” Abigail said.
“No, she should get counselling.” Sybil shook her head. “I think he’s a copycat and only because he knows her family’s history.”
Toya gasped. “But he could get worse and do worse.”
“Yeah. That’s why she needs to call in.”
“There are excellent experts on this kind of people.”
“She’s right to not want to be like her mother and sister.”
“That is an important attitude to have. Refuse to accept.”
“Look inward and be strong.”
“Take charge. Step out.”
“It can be tough if the family is not supportive but there are many supportive women out there. Like us.”
“Reach out for help if the family is not giving one.”
“That’s it for me, ladies. Good job.”
“Good night. Love you.”
“Let us pray.”
CASE 4 – HE’S RICH BUT LACKS EMPATHY
“It’s a no for me.”