I am that voice that kept screaming loud from within for peace, for joy and for the taste of true love but because I was mute no one heard me.
This letter comes straight from my heart. I am the survivor, I survived of a series of abuses, but today, I am an empowered woman who uses her personal experiences of abuse to motivate, engage and to bond with others, particularly with girls and women who have persevered through the severity of an abuse experience. With the right support, transcending misfortune from torment is conceivable within each one of us. My transformation did not come easy and this is a true confession. I was living a very frustrated, controlled, confused and depressed life. My life was like an Iceberg of pain and for many years I hide myself behind a smiling face, I knew I was slowly dying but little did anyone know I was giving up on the very essence of life.
I know the agony that takes after a broken relationship. Be that as it may, the way to any type of change lay in our own hands and unless we confide in ourselves enough to utilize our key, we are stuck with the dilemma either in our minds, our hearts or both. I realize the importance of taking a strong decision to change our situations instead of staying put. I am experiencing that change and I trust you also can. Here is my story…
As a child, I encountered sexual abuse from close family companions who were practically more like relatives yet I had no courage to tell anybody. Fortunately for me, my flower was still in place (I trust you get what I mean).
During my late teens, after I completed school, I got into a relationship with a man who used to teach in my school. We got hitched not long after and I adored him with each beat of my heart. I loved him so much that I cannot describe how deep that love was (you will understand me if you have experienced this sort of feeling about someone). I was so happy…I was married to the one who deflowered me and I would do anything to make him feel happy and satisfy him. I thought he felt same about me… I thought I was his lady; much to my dismay I later came to the realisation that I was the other lady.
Only a few days into our wedding, during our honeymoon, I saw the warning signs of abuse again (I say again because during our courtship, he tried raping after giving me some alcohol but I was lucky enough to escape). The signs I never wanted to acknowledge but then, how do you acknowledge something you are not familiar with or have no knowledge of?
This may sound ridiculous, you may ask…how I could not have known; well quite simply, I did not understand the term “abuse”. Besides, even if I did, I loved him despite his faults and believed he loved me too even though he used the sentence “I love you” only once throughout our relationship. He had made it clear to me that he didn’t love me. He couldn’t even get physically intimate with me most times unless he had watched some x movies.
I was used as a child bearing machine and probably he had married me so that he could have a son. Even more traumatizing was the fact that being my husband, he tried to persuade me to have an illicit affair with a friend of his so that he could probably get rid of me and keep our son with himself!
We lived together as a couple for about four and half months, after which I was threatened by him to relocate outside my home country to have my child or accept the other woman who will bear a child in the US (this will happen if I did not leave Nigeria he said).
Of course, I did not want to leave home but yet again, if I did not, I would have been left with the guilt blaming myself forever that I made my husband go outside our marriage to get what he wanted (a child abroad).
I was scared, scared for me and my unborn baby. Going abroad was not the problem, I had a mixture of feelings…leaving my husband behind knowing there was a possibility of him still seeing his so called ex who gave him his first daughter, the fact that I had no clue how to be a mother let alone care for a baby on my own, not having the support of my family etc. But, I made the bitter choice to leave all behind just to please this man whom I was so much in love with.
To protect my husband at the time, I never told my parents or siblings but one who then told me to accept the ultimatum if I did not want to find myself in a polygamous situation. Knowing well from some of my childhood friends who grow up in a polygamous family, I did not want my baby or myself to experience the complexities of being in a polygamous family.
I left Nigeria while I was pregnant, physically and emotionally vulnerable, on an unknown adventure. My fate was in the hands of a stranger, a lady I did not know. It was she who brought me to the Republic. Before I was handed to her, a close relative of my then husband begged him for me because I was always crying and pleading with him that I did not want to leave separately from him. He even suggested that he would care for me instead of the journey to the unknown my ex was putting me through with the pregnancy. I cried so much until my voice was silent. I felt so sorry for myself. I had to deal with all the pain on my own, my family had no clue what was going on.
It was winter when I arrived and I did not have appropriate clothing for the kind of weather I was going to face. I was then left in the hands of this lady. Skipping forward, I became a single mother without a clue of mothering. Yet fortunately, I met a woman who not just offered me support in caring of my kid; she showed me how to watch over my child. This was my reward for showing care and worrying about her and her child when she was sick.
I became depressed without even knowing what that also meant. I did not know it was actually serious until I became suicidal.
Even with the long distance between us, I let him control me (my ex). He never approved of me leaving my child with this new friend I made because we wanted people to know I was a mother and not a single. He stalks and monitors me with his new friends in the Republic.
I received so much torment from him and the situation I found myself in. I was not healthy mentally but then again who would be when you have no physical proof of an abuse. For long time, I stayed silent about my plight since I feared what could happen as well as the reaction and response from my friends and family and individuals around me. I would not like to be judged, or felt sorry for or named. I did not want to be rebuked for my choices, I did not like to bring disgrace on my family, I did not like to create any inconvenience and I did not like to give anybody a terrible name so I got used to bearing agony and kept my sentiments of anguish and dissatisfaction to myself. I endured all the abuse I got for a considerable length of time and trusted things will change yet they just deteriorated. My life became a blog of pain. I was hurt so much that I stopped expressing emotions. I became numb to feelings of physical pain.
One day I got so frustrated I decided I would end it all. I made decision that day to commit suicide. But the crying voice of my little angel, my daughter made me have second thoughts. And in those thoughts, I found faith in me and hope that I did not have to continue living for anyone else but me.
(To be continued……)