thanks for the good job you are doing. Having read some of the stories published about divorce and widowhood, I felt compelled to share my story. Divorce isn’t something you dream about when you get married. Somehow, there is this fairy tale you have in your mind about you, your husband, children and a life ever after and then life turns ugly. Well, this is my divorce story.
I lost my father at the tender age of two. My mother raised four children by herself. It was not easy for a civil servant like her. There were months when salaries were owed and she had to get into business to make extra income. She sold bedspreads by the side to make ends meet. I must commend her she really tried for us.
As the youngest child, l looked up to my older siblings a lot. They became entrepreneurs because of our condition. I was often left alone in the house because they all had one thing or the other to do to make extra income. I was a bright little girl and everyone loved me.
I was raped at the age of ten by a teen who we considered family. I had gone to their home to watch tv and he took advantage of me because no one was home. I carried my shame with me for years. I only told my sister years later after the boy had died. She was not happy about the way I kept silent. We let that slide. It made me have hatred for men and I did not start dating till I was twenty –four, shortly after my NYSC.
I met my husband, Edem in camp but we did not start dating until almost a year later when I visited his town for a wedding and bumped into him. We hit off and our relationship blossomed. It was majorly a long distance relationship but it went smoothly.
I got a job in Lagos while he worked in Calabar, which was where he grew up. We got married and he encouraged me to keep my job that he would visit me in Lagos. I thought it was really considerate of him as I loved my job so much. After our honeymoon, I moved back to Lagos. He promised to visit twice a month and I, once. I knew I would eventually have to join him but decided to take advantage of what we had.
I knew moving to a new town would be challenging, I needed to save up a bit especially after all we spent on the wedding. I got pregnant and delivered a beautiful baby girl. Edem was over the moon with excitement. He immediately took leave from work and spent a whole month with us. I began to talk to him about my relocation. I needed to be near him now. He asked me to give him time to move to another apartment. I thought his apartment was fine. It was small but not too small for three people. I protested but he insisted.
My Path To Divorce
A year later he still had not moved. He visited regularly but I needed my child to be with both parents. So one day without informing him I left Lagos with our toddler. I arrived the house and a scene greeted me. My husband was being beaten black and blue. I shouted and rushed to where he was. I frantically asked what was going on, he was shocked to see me but kept mute.
‘Madam, welcome’ one of the neighbours who recognized me said.
I got to know that my darling hubby had raped a twelve-year-old in the neighbourhood. That was not all, another woman in the crowd shouted that he had raped a friend of hers too. In the confusion, police came and took him away. I saw the mother of the girl, crying her heart out. I remembered what happened to me and began to cry too. My baby who had been excited on the journey, suddenly went quiet as though she knew what was happening.
My husband was charged to court and found guilty. He spent five years in prison and was asked to pay the family of the girl a huge sum. I got to know that he had attempted to rape some other women as well.
I got a divorce from him as soon as he was released. I had already moved back to Lagos as I hadn’t submitted my resignation. I had to vacate my apartment because he knew the address.
The last time I saw him was that moment in court when the judge granted my request. He looked sickly and He begged me for forgiveness. I cannot. He’s dead to me. My daughter is my priority now. I’ve vowed to protect her with my whole life. The last I heard, he moved out of Calabar to Kano. I could have managed cheating, but rape? NO!
Someone might say that I should have given him a chance that i was in a hurry for a divorce, maybe he would be a better person after coming out of jail. Sometimes it is best to be in the shoes of the wearer before giving advice. If it was one person, then we would have understood but several and also a child? What is the guarantee of my child’s safety or their friends if they came over to our house? Would I have to continue watching my back because of one man?
Seeing that twelve year old brought all the memories I had tried to suppress all these years and it was as if he was the one that raped me. As it is, I am still traumatised by it all. I need some time to heal.