Beaten But Not Broken

He was in a really foul mood, i could tell. Fouler than usual. His murderous countenance, the slammed door and that bark in response to the kids excited “Daddy!!!” were dead giveaways. One look at his face and i had Semilore my eldest, take Nimi to their room, praying silently and fervently that tonight would not be one of those nights. Quick as i could, considering how heavily pregnant i was, i shuffled into the kitchen to get his food. I wasn’t going to give him a reason to make me the end user of his wrath.
After I’ve served his meal at the table, i went to call him. He grunted a “Bring it to me!” Thankful for at least a feedback even if it was a grunt, i went to fetch his tray from the dining room. I was preoccupied with rending a song of gratitude albeit inaudibly, to the forces-that-be for averting tonight’s drama when my leg hit the edge of the bed and i nearly fell. In trying to regain my balance, the glass of water i had put on the tray fell and splashed...on the bed but mostly on him!

Before i got married, I had a list of what i wanted in a man. A hot temper was not one of them but my husband, he scored a whooping 9 out of my 12 wants on that list. I figured i could deal with the hot temper. After all, everyone who’s been on the receiving end of his temper deserved it...sort of! I figured wrong!

I knew he was in a really foul mood that night; i just didn’t how bad he’s got it. No sooner had i opened my mouth to apologise, than he landed the mother lode of slaps on my right cheek! I SAW STARS, literally. The tray of food i was carrying slipped from my hands, emptying its contents all over the floor. Impaired vision would fetch same reaction from even the strongest. That night wasn’t one of those nights. That night was THE NIGHT! He beat me until i felt my water break. My God. Even then, he didn’t stop until he noticed i was doubled over in excrutiating pain, hugging my pregnancy. I don’t remember much after that. I think i passed out. I heard i was out of it for two days. When i woke, a beautiful baby girl was put in my bruised arms. My daughter. My third child for this man i loved...and i had no recollection of birthing her. He stole that from me.

I should hate him with all of my heart but i couldn’t. I was bitter, yes but i couldn’t hate him. Not when he was standing there by my bedside, eyes glittering with unshed tears, pleading for my forgiveness and pledging his undying love. I forgave him.  Why wouldn’t i? He is my husband and I love him. Nobody had it all. Nobody needs to know what he did. It was our business and my shame to bear. Moreover, we were reasonably happy...
...until that late night, two months later.

It was way past 9pm when the knock came at the door. The kids were asleep; the nanny that comes in daily to help out had gone; and my darling husband has signed out for the day...his heavy locomotive snores cannot signify anything else. Well aware of the increasing robbery incidences in our neighbourhood, i called out as i neared the door, “Who is there?” The voice was not a familiar one. He said he was looking for my husband. This late at night? Erring on the side of caution, i told him the hubby was asleep and to come back in the morning or better still, give him a call. Unknown man left. I went to bed. End of story...
...or so i honestly thought!

He beat me out of bed! Blows after blows on my stomach. I thought it was a nasty dream until i receive that one blow that had me screaming out of sleep. It felt like my stomach imploded! I woke up to the face of a deranged man, ranting...with white spit gathered at the corners of his mouth! I didn’t get a chance to ask what i did wrong! Slaps and blows were generously rained down on me, with the occasional “If i don’t kill you today, call me a bastard” tossed into the medley. I don’t believe the man i married would make good on this promise but the man beating down on me right now, was not the man i married. This man, would kill me in a second. His rage was all consuming!
I scrambled out of bed, shoved him aside and ran out of the room. Past his mother, who was obviously eavesdropping, into the children’s room. Where i got the strength from, i’d never know. I quickly locked and collapsed against the door, startling Iya Dupe who was ironing the baby’s clothes. From where i cowered, i heard him scream, “You will not bring money and yet, you’ll drive away the customers that will bring me money! He came late at night and so what?” Iya Dupe, the nanny, was staring at me in horror. Thankfully, Semilore and Nimi has gone off to school.

He left the house thereafter. As soon as Iya Dupe confirmed that he was truly gone, i unlocked the door, snatched my two-month old baby from the gloating arms of my mother-in-law and ran for my life, to my sister’s house. I was not going to be killed in my husband’s house.
My sister was on her way out the door when the cab carrying the baby and i dropped us off at her house. Just as i saw her, the shakes started. I was shaking so much, both the cab man and my sister’s gateman raised alarm. I remember she dropped her purse and ran towards me. I remember someone took the baby from me. I remember feeling really lightheaded and then i couldn’t remember much. Again! They said i collapsed in a heap. I blame pregnancy and childbirth. I was usually stronger than this.

I came to in a hospital. My sister said i lost quite a lot of blood. The doctor said my sister’s prompt action in getting me to the hospital saved my life. They both wanted to know what happened. I couldn’t bring myself to say that the man who promised to love me, and cherish, and protect me, nearly beat me to death. No, i didn’t tell them that. Instead, i told them i just woke and noticed i was bleeding. I was kept overnight for observation and discharged next day. I stayed the second night at my sister’s. He never called! Through our 5 years of marriage, i had not once stayed away from home overnight without his say-so. On days i dared to even come home late, late being 9pm, i usually explained my tears. Today though, the day i needed him to hound me the most about my whereabouts, he didn’t call.
There was a knock on my sister’s door early the next morning. I know my heart skipped three beats; whether in fear or in anticipation, i couldn’t tell. I heard my sister’s help say “Mama, good morning”. I heaved a sigh of relief. It had been fear, not anticipation. My husband goes by many names [some of which he was aware of; Brute Brutus...that he doesn’t know of] but never by “Mama”. I came out to see who “Mama” was. From where i stood, i could detect the tiniest hint of a smirk pass across my mother-in-law’s face as she spied me and said, almost gleefully, “My son said you forgot these ones,” shoving Semilore and Nimi to me. Then she turned and left. I don’t believe in witches and wizards but if i did, my mother-in-law belonged in a coven!

I talked after she left.

I told my sister everything, starting from the very beginning of this abuse. My shame be damned. What could be as shameful as my staying in your younger sister’s house with three children in tow? And a husband who is going about his business like he never had a wife and children?
I told my sister about his rage-fests. How he flew into them at the slightest provocation. How it started just after i gave birth to Nimi and got worse with the news of my last pregnancy. How i’ve felt like a sex slave in recent years cos after each beating, with my tears blinding me, he flips me over and fucks me. How one part of my body or the other aches on a daily. How i live in perpetual fear for myself but mostly for my children. How his mother sees nothing wrong with his actions, instead she blames me for not being an “obedient enough” wife! How...

My sister interrupted to ask whether he was the reason i was the hospital yesterday. I nodded my affirmation...then added after a minute’s hesitation, “You know the baby came quite early? He beat me into labour!” At that, my sister got up and left!
I heard my brothers put him in a hospital for one month.
I heard they beat him so bad, he cried for his mother.
I heard he promised he would NEVER lay a finger on me, or any woman, for as long as he lives.
I heard all these...from the comforts of my parents’ house where i stayed for nearly 5 months.

He came with his kinsmen to ask for my forgiveness.
He said he got help; that he was a changed man. I believed him. I was a changed woman too.  My siblings lent me some of their backbones. I’m stronger for it.
He said to come home with him. I did. He is after all, the father of my beautiful children.
He said he loved me. I upped an eyebrow in response.
He said i’ll learn to love him again. I didn’t have to. I’ve always loved him, even when it felt almost impossible. He hurt me...physically and emotionally.
He said while he respects his mother, he’s realized that she has no place in our marriage. I didn’t fault that reasoning.
He said if it made me happy, i could get a job. I did. It made me happy...mostly because he took my feelings into consideration.
He said we’ll be fine....and we were! Still are

This is our 8th year of marriage, and we’ve never been happier.
I spoke out and i’m blessed for it!

Blogger’s Note: This post, while fictitious, was inspired by a real life story. Like the main character in this post, my friend...she spoke out and while her husband was not manhandled, a threat to that effect was extended to him by his own kinsmen! He had since towed the line! Are you being abused in your marriage? Speak out! It may well save your life.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I don't buy this disturbingly false happy ending. Ask your friend to speak out again, and this time tell the truth.

Hazel said...

Hi Anon. Thank you for dropping a comment. I did say this story was fictitious. So, I decide how it ends. I chose happy!

The lady that inspired this post is still with her husband and she's happy. It doesnt have to always end bad. Despite the bitter journey, some of these stories actually have happy endings!

I choose to believe that!

Anonymous said...

Well written, I don't know how a woman can honestly put up with so much beating. Can a beast turn into a prince I will say yes but it takes the grace of God and hopefully not too late. Demi

dayor said...

I'm glad the person that inspired the story spoke up and got help.

The main lesson we all are to learn is: "SPEAK OUT" . If it works out you would have saved your marriage, If it doesn't you would have at least saved your life.

Thanks for sharing.

P.S: When are you going to finish up the story about the two sisters....? waiting still:D

Jemima said...

Hey Hazel, i don't know about your friend taking such beating and going back it cant be easy she went back in 5 months it would take me 5 years at least if i ever go back..but since you say its a true story, i believe Dayor said if it didnt work you wld have at least saved a life..and that story nko, we still dey wait o...

jhazmyn said...

Moral of the story...SPEAK UP OOOOO!!! Don't make excuses, don't rationalize, find a safe place/person and speak up.

If he/she doesn't treasure you enough to care about your safety, you treasure yourself and care about your own safety (and your kids if any) pls .

Daughter of Her King said...

deep.... very deep. but why are some men so aggressive and physically abusive? The heart of men is desperately wicked..

Only God knows if its truly over.

Fluffycutething said...

I don't think I'd ever go back after even one beating all the love I have will most ikely fade away if things ever degenerated to such a level.

~Sirius~ said...

Hmmm, she went back.

Well, every woman has a breaking point. I don't know if I would stay after one beating. Not to talk about beating me into labour.

Truth be told I would never advise any woman to go back either, but that's just me.

moshalewa's world said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
moshalewa's world said...

This is utter madness, nothing and I mean nothing should ever push a man, boyfriend, boyfriend, husband to go to this extent..... this babe try sha. SPEAK OUT-IT CAN SAVE UR LIFE

moshalewa's world said...

This is utter madness nothing absolutely nothing should make any man, guy, boyfriend, Manfriend husband do matter how angry you are or nagging your wife is. She's your wife not your punching bag. To maladies out there- SPEAK OUT AND SAVE UR SELF