Hi my name is Soma, I lived in an abusive marriage for four years. I still can’t fathom how I survived but I had to leave the marriage at the threat of my life and so as to give my baby a better life as well.
I have a child for the man who abused me. However, He was not abusive before the baby, just insecure. Kenneth and I dated while I was in school. He was a non-academic staff and was really nice to me. I took in months after we began dating.
Because I came from a no-nonsense home, my dad angrily withdrew his support from my education and my partner was forced to go pay my bride price and marry me. He also advised me to defer my admission till after the baby was born which I did.
When our baby, Munachi was born, my husband felt that the baby had a hold over me and began to feel that the baby was taking up ‘his time’ with me. He would get angry if the baby woke him at night and would chastise me for not attending to the baby’s need properly. He would scream at the baby for unnecessary things and would transfer aggression onto me if I tried to stop him from yelling at her. I tried not to let his attitude weigh me down, I believed he would change as she got older.
With the baby weaned, I spoke with him about my desire to go back to school and finish my education but he snapped and said it was no business of his as he had other monetary demands he needed to give priority to.
I felt trapped and stuck in the abuse I called a marriage. Kenneth didn’t want me mingling with people, warning me against bringing friends to our home. He stopped me from mingling with neighbours or joining any group in the church for that matter. I couldn’t go anywhere or visit anyone without his permission.
One day, in particular, stands out in my mind – this had happened before, but I just never felt it so deep like that day.
A friend of mine from school came to visit me and my husband came home and meet us talking. He barely acknowledged her greetings only for him to call me aside and demanded to know why she was at our house. Before I could explain her presence, he slapped me across the mouth and asked that I go tell her to leave and to say that I had to go somewhere.
When I got back to where my friend was, I saw that she was ready to leave as well, I told her that I had a programme to attend and had only just remembered. My friend gave me a knowing smile and said, “Don’t worry, I heard your husband” I tried to say something in his defence but nothing came out, I felt really embarrassed and small.
We got into a huge argument after she left and he hit me several times like he always did whenever I challenged him.
The next day, I called my friend to apologise about what had happened the previous day, and she asked me why I chose to stay in such an abusive relationship. Mentioning that she had overheard some friends say that my husband beats me like a baby, she told me she felt sorry for me and believed my husband didn’t love me. She also kept telling me it wasn’t my fault things were that way, that I should stop making excuse for my abuser and stand for myself and child.
I never thought I could have the courage to do what she said neither did I quite see it her way until one day, not too long after we had spoken.
That day, Muna was singing to a show on TV when Kenneth snapped out of bed and began yelling at her to keep quiet. He also used cuss words at our baby for making a mess of his note which he had left carelessly within her reach. Out of fear, my baby started wailing and urinated on herself.
I had never seen my baby so shocked and scared as she was that day. When I told Kenneth to stop making her so scared, he flew at me in rage. He began calling me useless woman and mother and when I returned his abusive words, he ran after me and gave me the beating of my life. That day, I knew I had to stand up for my child and so I left him that same day, which was pretty what he wanted as he has not been interested in us ever since.
I had a tough time moving on, but I had finally realised that we weren’t good together and I had to leave him before he beats me to death.
The day I left him, I called my mum, I was so ashamed to be needing her help in such a situation. I hadn’t wanted my parents to know what I had been going through because I didn’t want them angry with my child’s father. That day though, I had no choice and ended up letting them know how my years of marriage to Kenneth had been. I moved in with my family for another ten months to recover.
My first path to recovery was to go back to school. I have finished my first degree and I am currently studying for my masters. My daughter is now in nursery school. I still haven’t been able to open up to another man and that’s fine because being on my own is fantastic and I’m so happy that I left.
The biggest change has been in my daughter, she is so strong now and is always happy and singing away to her school songs. I know that she was being abused too and she needs me to be self- reliant so that she can rely on me too.
My mum helped me become stronger, she kept me from going back to my abuser. Always reminding me as to why I left whenever I chided myself. The biggest help has been recovering my dignity. Every day I am happier, stronger, and closer to my baby. I wonder now why I wanted to stay with Kenneth then because now I am free to go where I like, see who I like, do what I like, and more importantly, my baby girl is free to sing and dance at any time of day ( and you know I do too!)
To anyone out there who is going through abuse in their relationship or marriage, Quit falling into the victim role, YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING and you have the right to be as happy as my Muna, sing dance and be happy. Leave the man if he doesn’t like it.
When you are being abused, you forget that you are the most important person in your life, not some so-called Partner who wants to run the show alone. So get up, walk out, start over and don’t look back.
To those of you like me with a kid; Yes, I do know the kids have a right to two parents but they also have the basic human right to be safe. Believe me, an abusive partner becomes an abusive parent too. Secure your child’s wellbeing.