This week’s survivor story focuses on domestic violence. This is an all too common occurrence in homes. The sad fact is that just like sharon, a lot of victims remain in self denial until it is too late.
People want to project the image of a perfect home or a perfct relationship. This desire makes them endure the violence and abuse that comes with domestic violence, sometimes until it is too late.
Please I would appreciate your comments and remarks. you can leave them in the comment section below gthiks article. If you have any stories you would love to share with us, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharing your story does bring you closure and strengthens others probably goimg thriugh same issues.
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Sharon, Victim Of Domestic Violence
Hi my name is Sharon, I’m 33 years old, a single mum of two and a survivor of domestic violence. Currenlty, I reside in Calabar, Cross River State, In Nigeria, but I am originally from Delta state Nigeria. I was 20 when I met my ex-partner Simon, who was 30 at the time. He was my next door neighbour who worked at a bank while I was a student at the federal polytechnic in Delta state Nigeria.
At first, Simon was like this big brother who was always looking out for me, as everyone called me lastborn in our compound. As time progressed, we became close friends, got to know each other and became emotionally vested in our friendship. He was attentive and nice to me at the beginning of our relationship. He would tell me how pretty I was and made me feel “wanted and special”. There was no indicator that he would one day be a perpetrator of domestic violence.
I come from a dysfunctional family and was raised by my mum alone. Having never met my dad, all I could gather from mum was that he didn’t want anything to do with us. She added that they separated just before she found out she was pregnant with me. This meant that he probably never eevn knew I existed. So I never had a father figure in my life which was why it felt nice to have Simon taking care of me.
Cohabitation and start of my ordeal
After my OND, I moved in with Simon, and we began cohabiting. I was so sure I wanted to spend my life with him and he also stated that he would like to start a family with me as well. He promised to go see my people soon as he was buoyant enough. I didn’t want to go back to the house my mum shared with my stepfather so moving in with my lover seemed like a good idea at that time.
Simon began exhibiting some uncomfortable traits after I moved in with him. He would tell me what to wear and undermined my relationships with friends. Then, I fell pregnant and my mum was bitter about my decisions and we disagreed over my living with a man I wasn’t married to.
Simon on his part encouraged me to limit interactions with my mum, as he claimed she didn’t want the best for me. I knew this wasn’t really a healthy thing to do, but I never considered it a big deal until the domestic violence began.
The first time Simon assaulted me was over an argument about his gambling. Our daughter wasn’t feeling well and we couldn’t afford to get her proper medical care. Despite this, Simon went gambling away the little he had at the expense of his daughter’s care. I mean, who does that! Expressing my displeasure resulted in severe beating and battering.
He started with a slap across the face. Simon then pinned me into a corner with his hand wrapped around my throat as he snarled abuses at me. He threatened to kill me and leave with the daughter I so claimed to love. My partner then started to push and shove me around by my hair. He stopped the assault only when our daughter wouldn’t stop crying and needed attention.
It was quite shocking for me as I never expected it. I had always heard of domestic violence but I never assumed I would be part of that gory statistic. Infact, to me domestic violence was something that happened to people who chose violent partners not gentle ones like my Simeon. I just didn’t realise I was day dreaming as it was about to get worse.
Denial. No this wasn’t Domestic Violence!
On another occasion, we were having a quarrel, he pushed me to the ground. Because I was tired of being kicked about, I hit him as well, hoping to make him stop. This only infuriated him the more and he kicked my face with such force that my head went back and snapped in a fearful way. Blood trickled out as a result of the violent kick. For days, I wore neck braces to keep my neck in place.
The moment he saw blood, Simon became scared. He stopped kicking me and then began to apologise and treated my wounds himself. Eventually, I didn’t get to see a doctor for fear of inviting prying eyes into my family affairs. At this point, I was still in denial. No, this couldn’t be domestic abuse!
I tried to justify his actions a bit with the thought that I had provoked him into being violent. Up to that point, I was also scared of a police case or any exposure. I didn’t want the prying eyes of our neighbours and strangers, looking into our family matter. I knew where this could take us and I didn’t want my daughter to grow up without a dad just as I did. With all this in mind, I endured the violent relationship until the day my partner beat me into a coma. It took my neighbours coming to my aid to get him off me.
Reality sinks in
That day will forever be engraved in my memory. The worst part of it was that Simon justified his actions by saying he caught me cheating and sex chatting with another man which of course was a lie. I had no family member to fight for me, so even when he got arrested by the police, he was released almost immediately. One of our neighbours sat me down and advised me to leave the marriage if I wanted to stay alive and see my daughter grow.
So there I was at 29, clueless on how to start a new life as a single mum. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I had stayed in an abusive relationship for so long. Even worse was the thought that I had wasted my youth with a man who hadn’t even paid my bride price.
Filled with disgust at myself and life in general, I sank into depression. It took great effort on my side and the unrelentlesness of some good Samaritans who came to my aid to get out of it. They empowered and encouraged me to start anew and to face life once again.
Starting afresh is what I’ve been doing ever since. Meanwhile, my relationship with Simon didn’t end abruptly, it continued via phone calls where he would verbally and emotionally abuse me untill I refused to remain a victim and called his bluff.
Up till today, I’m still in self-doubt and battling a lot of the post effects of my previous life. There’s still so much work to be done in order for me to get over the abuse. I’m however, willing to put in the work for the sake of my daughter and for those who believe in me.
Thank you for reading my surviaval story.