So I would like to thank everybody who took out time to read and comment on the topic last discussed “domestic violence” and also those who read but didn’t comment, thank you also. You all are the best.
During the week, I was privileged to meet a survivor of domestic violence, who didn’t mind sharing her story as long as she was granted anonymity.
I had quite a short interview with her, but I learnt a whole lot and would love to share the “crucial info” as a friend would call it, with you guys.
Me: Good morning ma
Tracy (real name withheld): Good morning Blessing. How are you?
Me: I’m fine ma, you?
Tracy: I’m very fine, thank you.
Me: Can we meet you ma?
Tracy: My name is Miss Tracy Okene (not real names).
Me: Okay Miss Tracy. So you said you were once a victim of domestic violence. Can we hear your experience?
Tracy: Hmm… I got married in 2001 to my ex-husband, we had courted for about two years, I was fresh out of school, we met during my final year in school. Getting married just after service, was like the best thing, I had so many friends who were not yet married and so I was considered lucky especially with the fact that I had just landed a new job. After the wedding, I moved in with him, give and take about 6 months and that was when everything blew up in my face.
Me: What exactly do you mean when you say “blew up in your face”?
Tracy: I realized that I never really knew him. For example, I knew he had quite a temper but I had thought that it was a mild one. I knew he drank but not to the extent of coming home drunk on a regular basis. I knew he had lots of friends who used to sleep over at his place while we were dating, but I didn’t think they won’t stop coming when we got married. For crying out loud, we were a newly-wed couple, living in a 2-bedroom flat, we could have done with a lot of privacy.
His friends would mess up the whole place, I’d have to clean up regularly, it was sad. I would complain, he would get angry, sometimes he would break something in his anger.
He would restrict my movements, “I don’t want you going to that church” or “don’t move around with your single friends”, or “you must be back home by latest 7pm and my food must be ready by latest 7:30pm”, “I dont like you receiving visitors”. At times, he would come home very late, let’s say 11:00pm, the food and I would be waiting for him, he won’t touch it. When I slept off and he spent too much time horning or knocking as the case may be, I would hear it. He would beat me black and blue.
Me: Wow!!! The beatings, how did it start?
Tracy: Ah, it was first warnings that he would slap me o, then when they finally came, they weren’t enough, it graduated to beatings. There was even a time when he chased me round the house with a cutlass. My own husband.
Me: You said you courted for two years, didn’t you notice anything at all?
Tracy: Like I said before, I knew he had a temper, but it wasn’t a cause for concern because he kept his cool around me. Though, a member of his extended family told me that the man I was about to marry was a hot tempered man and that I should think well, I thought it was bad blood. He wasn’t in so good terms with his siblings, but that didn’t bother me. I was marrying him and not his siblings. His parents loved me and so did I. He was so loving and funny, so I overlooked his flaws.
Me: Did you have children?
Tracy: Yes, 2.
Me: How did this affect them?
Tracy: They were not happy with the whole thing. Immediately daddy was around, everybody went stiff, nobody said a word etc. but immediately he stepped out, I had my children back again.
Me: What of your family?
Tracy: I kept it from them in the beginning, but at a point I had to let them know, series and series of family meetings were called several times.
Me: What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? When did you decide to leave?
Tracy: That was in 2010. I was heavy, and he beat me over something so trivial. I saw death look me in the face. I lost the baby and was hospitalized for about a month or so because of my injuries and my blood pressure. I made up my mind not to go back, filed for a divorce and got sole custody of my children.
Me: So, how has it been so far without him?
Tracy: Life is so much better, though it is hard because I am a mother and a father at the same time. I am happier, no more lies about bumping into a door, or tripping over something, my kids are doing better at school. I can concentrate on my job. It is so much better.
Me: Thank you so very much ma, for your time and for sharing your story.
Tracy: You are welcome.
And that’s it. Hope you learnt one or two things.