Survivors Of Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence. Whenever I hear that name, I get shivers. Not because I have ever been violated in the hands of a partner, but because I have been raised in a house where it was a norm. However, I needed to start a series on women who have survived domestic abuse and that is when she messaged me. As I look at our inbox history, she has ever sent me a photo where her back looked like it was tarmacked, that was on September 2019.
On her profile, she is a happy woman. Very interactive and supportive. If you judged her through her profile, you would not agree she has endured what am about to write. She told me she is not a great writer, but she wanted to share her story. She took long to get back to me, and I had to be patient.
“I am a victim of domestic violence!”
That description startled me, but I knew for one to overcome a circumstance, they have to own it.
“I will say I ignored the red signs because the first time he slapped me, we were dating”
I remember something I have read before “The red signs we ignore at the start of the relationship is what marks its end.”
She continued, “We were drinking and a guy known to me said hey to me. I did not even hug him. The problem is he came to our table to shake hands with me. He begged me to forgive him, he really did, and being in love, I forgave him. We dated for a while and we both decided we wanted a baby. I stopped using family planning and after two months of trying, I conceived. I don’t regret any of this, but I wish I waited a little longer. Anyway, the first time he beat me I was only two months pregnant. Dude worked in a club as a manager. He went to work one Sunday morning to drink beer with his friends. They referred to that pastime as “Sunday School.” I was battling afternoon sickness.”
She chuckles and puts “Lol”
She continued “Mine was never morning sickness so I was lazily in bed. I heard him at the door at around 2pm. He was banging the door and I assumed ‘aaaaahhhh he is drunk’ so I went to open the door innocently. However, the worst happened, he hit me using his head on my forehead. I saw stars and the next thing I recall was blows and kicks. He kept saying ‘I told you to keep off so and so. I hear someone saw you talking to her yesterday before you went for clinic”
“Yes, I said her. He took my phone, removed my sim card, broke it and put his old line in my phone. From that day, I was supposed to use that. I had never cried so much. All the while, I did not even shout because it was a Sunday and I did not want my neighbors to hear me shout. I was scared they would laugh at me. I did not even call my parents, I kept it to myself. The guy showered and left for work that night at ten. I remember him texting me, ‘nisikupate kwangu nikitoka job.’ He was sure after that text, I would leave so he took a Honda home to stop me from going. He was being dramatic because all the time, I was quiet. I thought he was remorseful. Long story short, I forgave him.”
“The nine months I held on felt like two years. He kept insulting me. There was no more intimacy. He told me he does not get an erection because he was sick and since he was broke he wouldn’t. I was okay with that, but because the town we lived in, I would hear about his sexcapades, cat fights by girls, abortion after abortion, but I did not ask since I was scared of him. He kept reminding me ‘You are pregnant, there is no where you can go’”
“Baby came and on the day he turned six months, same thing happened this time at night. He had turned red. He asked for my phone and before I could breathe out, it was in pieces. It was exactly 1am. He started throwing fists and kicks. I only hid my face. Kama kawaida, I did not scream. I was always afraid of my neighbors knowing. He took that two liter water from the dispenser, he hit my back. My son was sleeping, he work because that man was shouting and calling me a hoe. He was saying that I don’t listen when he says I shouldn’t talk to single moms from around. Mark you, those were my friends before I moved in with him.”
“He kicked me out at 2am, I was in my nighties and it was dark. No phone, no sweater. I started walking, I didn’t know where I was going, but the only number I remembered was my grandfather’s. I walked up to a watchman, borrowed his phone and called home. I was crying, but somehow I managed. I sat there with that watchman, he gave me his Maasai sheet because I was half-naked. My back was hurting big time, but I had to be strong. My parents took me to hospital. I still went back to him. He hit me countlessly, but the worset was in June 2019 at six o’clock.”
“Dude came for me at my then business place, he closed the shop and held me by my braids. No one bothered to ask him anything. He dragged me mpaka home. He had even collected my son and taken him to his parents’ house. That man beat me mercilessly. He even accused me of talking to unmarried women. He did not have a valid reason, but he wanted me to die so that he could marry his side chic. He should have told me to leave instead of beating me mercilessly.”
“My parents took me to hospital since they thought I would die because my back looked so bad. I remember sending pictures to you. It was a police case, but I chose to withdraw the case. I felt it was right, but that was the last time he saw my face.”
“Dude kept belittling me and making me feel bad. I did not have self-esteem. He kept telling me ‘You will be a single mom like your mom if you quit this marriage, how will you look after “him” by yourself?””
“This is what made me hold on to that abusive marriage, but look at me now. I have lost count but since I moved in him, he has hit me at least eight times”
Damn!!!! That story sent shivers down my spine. I asked her “Did you finally move out?”
“I moved to my parents because he took everything from me. Right now, I have managed to enroll my son to a school and So far so good. I have healed after seeing a counselor who said three words “Atieno* love yourself” I did that right now am fine.”
All that I could master to say is, “I am so happy you are okay. I really am.”
“Thanks Bobo …I would never want even my worst enemy to go through what I went through in my 5years of marriage,” She texted back.
“You are an amazing woman and damn!!! I don’t know what I could have done in your shoes. How did you recover?” I inquired.
“I went to a counselor in Ruaka, she really helped me. I was even suicidal at one point, but then that first month staying away from that toxic space I felt that that was what I really needed. You’ll not believe since 2016 when my son was born, I had even turned to an online begger, “nitumie Mia ya supper” because I was even starved. It is funny, but I’ll say eating and getting satisfied has made me recover too. I used to think I had allergies, lmao, I was just broke.”
“Talking about it too has really helped me recover. I hear stories from people who have gone through something similar and it makes me feel way better.”
She sounded lighter and happier.
The conversation was ending and I asked, “Do you think there is something you could have done different if time was turned back?”
She texted, “If time was turned back I’d have moved out that day he lay his hands on me first if time turned back I’d not have kept quiet when he hit. I would not have said hey to him given a chance again”
Closing remarks “Cheers to full recovery and attracting better”
NB: *Asterisk is used to hide her real name.
PS: If he hits you the first time, there will be a second and a third time.