Society thinks she has to endure, even unto death.
I did not want to start this year whinning about Violence Against Women (VAW) but I’m so annoyed right now.
Between yesterday and today, I’ve read two stories from wives who were almost battered to death by their husbands respectively. My heart bleeds. My heart bleeds that a human being would want to hurt another who is obviously not as strong as he is and for what reason?
Both women have been enduring these violence for many years, both have kids with these so called husbands. Which is probably why they stayed on, hoping that they would change, but instead they get worse. Worse to the point that one locked his wife up in a room for two days after beating her to stupor, so that she cannot get outside help. He confiscated her phone too. I’m so spitting mad, Kai!
Now, when both issues came up for discussion, women, WOMEN for goodness sakes, were encouraging these ladies to pray and endure! Duhh. One suggested we hear from both sides before we can judge. What is there to judge abeg? Who is even talking of judging right now? What could a man who intentionally set out to murder his wife tell us? He did not stop at hitting her with matchetes and sticks but had to isolate her to await her death. What could possibly justify that behaviour?
These women have been married for like ten years each, four and three kids respectively. The battering did not start last week or last month. It has been going on for as long as they were in that marriage. Why stay? For the sake of your kids? For fear that society will see you as a failure or a wayward woman? Or because you have no family to run to? One of these ladies said that the first time she ran to her father’s house with her kids, that her dad sent her back on the grounds that he has received bride price and drank wine on her head. Therefore he cannot harbour them. What is that?
Maybe I’m feeling this way because I am single. Maybe I have no right to advice anyone on this issue, but I’m gonna say my mind anyway.
- PLEASE ladies, this is your life, it has no duplicate and you have the power, in fact, you are mandated by God to protect it. I do not think God will shake your hands if you die at the hands of a husband. Protect your life!
- Seek outside help from reputable Non Governmental Organisations, from the judiciary and from the law enforcement agencies if you are a victim, before it is too late .
- It is best to get yourself empowered no matter how little so that if push gets to shove, you can pick up your life and sojourn on your own.
- There is no worthwhile reason to stay on in an abusive relationship because if you die, people will find some other topic to gossip about. They will pity you at death and what use is that? Besides, if you die or become vegetable, what do you think will happen to your children?
- As for those on lookers that believe the victims should stay on in the marriage just because it is supposed to be for better for worse contract, I salute una! While you encourage her to endure and pray, be a little more realistic. That man is not going to change. He will make promises, he will beg and plead, he is still same inside.
Sisters please take control of your lives and your children. If we do not take care of ourselves, who will? NOBODY!
STAND UP AGAINST
For more on one of the cases, visit
She hurt me real bad, in a way I did not think a friend would, but I guess she was not really a friend, more like an enemy. I cannot even bring myself to share it here because it hurts still (maybe someday I’d be able to do that). It has been months, but it feels like only yesterday. I think it hurts more because I still do not understand why I deserved such treatment or because it came like a bolt out of the blue.
I have come to realize that I need to forgive her if I want to be totally happy and unencumbered but I do not know HOW. I have tried, honestly, I have. At a point, I began to think that I have succeeded in the forgiveness process. However, when an issue close to that was being discussed elsewhere, I found my heart sinking into bitter, dark waters, a place I no longer wanted to go, I became angry and that was when I realized that I was yet to win this war.
Forgiving her is not her right, ordinarily, she does not deserve forgiveness of any kind, but I need it. I need to have that inner peace and joy, I need to be able to scroll on when I see her name on my phonebook without my heart feeling like it is being squeezed, I want to be able to smile whenever I see her post or name on facebook instead of that huge urge to unfriend her, I need to be able to wish her well sincerely whenever I think of her and imagine what she is doing. But I cannot do any of these sincerely, I try but my heart just refuses to let me. I found out that it was easier for me to pray that she rot in hell, that she meets some kind of misfortune, that someone pays her back in her own coin, but that is definitely not what I want, it is not the kind of person I want to be.
So, please, someone tell me how to forgive this pain and hurt completely. I am sure there is someone out there who can point me in the right direction on how to overcome this. I do not want to be bitter and vindictive, it is not my nature and it is depressing. I am good at forgiving and sometimes, even forgetting, but not this time. What is the practical way out? How do I free myself of this entanglement? If you know it, then please show me the way.
The first abnormality we noticed on her face as she walked towards us was the swollen right eye, but when she made to sit down, my friend and I could not help but notice the painful way she sat down even though she tried to hide it. So Clara my garrulous friend asked suspiciously,
“Babe, what happened to you, did you fight?” Chy looked from Clara to me as we both stared at her. Feigning innocence, she asked,
“What do you mean? Me ke, get involved in a fight?”
“So what’s with the swollen eye?” I asked in confusion.
“Oh, this?” Chy asked, gingerly touching the swelling. “Was it not this power holding people, they took the light and as I wanted to go get the torchlight, I bumped into the door frame.”
A couple of weeks after that, Chy visited Clara and I in the apartment we shared. This time, the bruises were more pronounced, her story was that she lost her footing while climbing down the stair case and fell down.
“I hope that guy you started seeing that you do not want to introduce to us is not hitting you Chy?” Clara probed.
Of course she denied it, but this time, we knew better than to believe the cock and bull story. However, matters came to a head when one weekend, about a month later, Chy rushed into our apartment with an overnight bag. She looked like she was run over by a truck. It was then that she narrated her story to us. She started dating this guy who seemed matured and responsible, different from the usual students her friends dated. They fell in love with each other and before you can say ‘jack Robinson’, she had moved out of the hostel and moved in with him.
Within months however, the guy became too jealous and over protective, monitoring her every move. Any form of communication with another male results in abuse. He started with verbal and financial abuse till he graduated to sexual and physical abuse.
This guy somehow traced Chy to our house, threatening all of us if we do not let her come back to him. It took the intervention of neighbours to get him to leave. The baffling part is that a few days after this incident, we came back from lectures and Chy was nowhere to be found. Fearing that the guy might have done something bad to her after calling her on the phone several times without any response, we began to run helter-skelter. We didn’t even know the guy’s house. It was later in the night when we had tried all avenues to no avail that she answered her call, informing us that she had gone back to the guy’s house, she had been missing him, blah, blah, blah.
Clare warned her not to come near our house again if he should beat her up again, but she did come few weeks later, more battered and broken than the previous occasions. We mended her as much as we could and the guy came again but this time, we were ready for him. We had informed his course mates and they dealt with him but he continued stalking and harassing her to the point that we had to get Chy’s Dad and the school authorities involved.
My question now is: Why did she keep going back to him despite the threats to her life and everything? Is it really love? The battered woman syndrome? Fear? Or just for peace to reign?
Another friend of mine told me that she has become so used to dating guys that abuse her to the point that if one did not abuse her, it seemed to her that they were not man enough and I was like really?
Is it possible that some women are wired to like abusive men and abusive relationships? I know scientists and psychologists say it is fear and battered woman syndrome, but to wish it upon oneself? Going through it over and over again, condoning it? Makes little sense to me.
Besides, why would a guy abuse someone he claims to love to the point of beating her up?
Maybe it is another shade of love…?
You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars. – Gary Allan
We get jealous when we feel threatened in our jobs, positions, relationships, and such stuffs as we deem important to us. Sometimes, we do it unconsciously. The truth is that many people are guilty of jealousy at one point or the other in their life’s journey.
Jealousy is not limited to man/woman relationships, rather, it transcends to sibling rivalry, competition among same sex, parents to children, colleagues, etcetera. Ever witnessed something like this?
It is at a birthday party and this group of sophisticated, charming girls is seated together at a table. Then along came this beautiful damsel looking all gorgeous and confident, waltzes into the room and makes her way through the crowd. A couple of the ladies seated on that table hiss and murmur to each other:
“Who does that one think she is, waltzing in as if she owns the whole place?”
“Who is she by the way, anybody we know?”
“Here she saunters down again. Watch me teach her some lessons on good manners”
said the most beautiful of them as she grabs the glass of wine before her, marches towards the new girl and making sure she bumped directly into the her, emptied her wine glass on her ruining her beautiful gown! Then pretends it was a mistake, while smirking happily, “There, that should teach her a lesson”
These ladies are all beautiful, so why are they jealous of the other girl? They probably believe she is stealing the show.
Men are also known to get jealous of their kids because his wife seems to be devoting so much time to them, vice versa. Colleagues in the office, one starts to feel that the boss is favouring a particular person, in classes, that one student is getting all the scores and all the accolades and attention. This is quite different from envy mind you, but both can turn sweet relationships sour, create enmity. That is why we must not let it fester but try to understand the reasons and fear behind it because there is always a reason – fear, insecurity, anger, etcetera. Rather than let it eat us up and damage our relationships, it should be a tool for self-improvement, a signal to change something.
UNDERSTANDING THE REASON BEHIND YOUR JEALOUSY
In the anecdote above, the ladies became scared that the new girl will take all the attention which is probably not true. This fueled their anger to the point of seeking to harm and humiliate her.
When we realize that the emotion we are feeling is jealousy, the first reaction should not be to retaliate or try to reclaim what we think we are losing. Once you recognize the emotion, try to understand why you are jealous, why you are angry or afraid. It could be that you fear losing the other person to a rival, or losing your position as the best or the most beautiful or you detest sharing the attention and love or even accolade that you hitherto enjoyed alone. Ask yourself what it is that fuels that fear or anger. I remember a friend saying that she used to be jealous of a particular girl in the office, but after a while, she sat down to address the issue because it was taking a toll on her and her relationship with this other girl. She realized that it was as simple as that the girl was new to the office but was very smart and sophisticated. She told herself, “but I am smart and even more beautiful and sophisticated, so why should I be jealous?” That was when it occurred to her that her real fear was that the new girl will become more popular and more sought after by the boss and her other colleagues. She was used to people looking up to her for assistance in solving office problems. Understanding this, she made an effort to befriend the girl and squash the negative emotion and everybody was the better for it.
Jealousy can stem from past experiences, directly or indirectly, losing a loved one, position, and power, to another. The fear of re-occurrence then grows and if unchecked, snowballs and diminishes our level of trust. This breeds insecurity and vulnerability to the victim. Take an objective but not too harsh look at yourself and understand what brings on the emotion. This will help tackle the problem, thus, recognizing its occurrence and understanding the reason behind it is the first step towards overcoming it.
SELF ESTEEM AND SELF CONFIDENCE
More often than not, jealousy arises due to low self-esteem and self-confidence which often results in lack of trust for oneself and for others. Feeling insecure and unsure of oneself creates room for jealousy to thrive. When one feels that others are better than he/she and thus stand better chances of having something or someone, when one believes that the other person is better, inferiority complex comes in and carries along with it jealousy. This forms part of the solution. If you are the jealous type, you need to work on your character, look inside you and find who you are, realize your worth and believe that you are unique, there’s no other like you. Trust in yourself and in your capabilities and gifts which God has deposited in you. Do not compare yourself with anybody except with yourself.
DON’T LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN AWAY WITH YOU
Some of us always imagine the worst. You imagine that the tall handsome guy will take your woman, that the sassy colleague will take away your position. Where did you get that idea from? Yea, he is cute and she is intelligent and so are you. What’s more, there is something special that those people saw in you that they did not find in others, could be your dedication, sincerity, loyalty, smile, could be anything but what matters is that you possess that rare quality. It may actually be your own viewpoint that is distorting reality and creating problems where none exists.
The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. – William Penn
LEARN FRO YOUR JEALOUSY
This is the whole point of this write up, to learn from past experiences and use it to improve ourselves. Do I get jealous because I’m scared of being left alone, fear of losing my job? Do I listen and believe in other people’s negative opinion and attitude towards me? Find the reason and work on improving that aspect of your life. I have learnt a lot about me since I started identifying these emotions as jealousy.
Sometimes, life thrusts us into situations that bring out our jealous nature or set us up to be experiencing this emotion all too often. Look at kids that are the only child of their parents, naturally, they are mostly self-centered and do not want to share anything with anybody. This sets them up for jealousy because they are scared of losing what they have because they are not used to sharing. That does not mean we will remain stagnant. The only room that always has vacancy is the room for improvement.
Changing and improving oneself is one of the hardest ventures to undertake but most necessary. It should be a gradual process, we fall and rise and keep fighting. Focus on the goal, be positive and we will all meet at the top.
He that is jealous is not in love. – Saint Augustine