Monday, November 17, 2014

Domestic Violence in NIGERIA. My Secret.


by Adesuwa
(Benin-City)

I am from Edo State and my partner is from Jos in Nigeria. I am 21 years old and he is 27. We have been together for four years. I am currently four months pregnant.

Three months into our relationship was the first time he showed his anger. That was the honeymoon period over. By then, we were completely in love and it caught me by surprise. It was my 18th birthday and we argued in the car on the way home. He raised his voice and told me to shut up many times. At the time it seemed very bad and hurtful, but now it’s me who says that sort of thing, and he takes it to a whole new level every time. Back then I thought it would just be a once off, not realizing the worst was yet to come.

I have always been the nagging type of person, but not for anything unreasonable. The issue is that we are both very stubborn and the more I nag, the more selfish he becomes.

The most common things I currently nag about are;

• Why don’t you ever take me out? (he doesn’t like to waste his money)
• Why aren’t you interested in preparing for our baby?

I should mention that he is quite OCD about many things such as, being neat and tidy, money saving and daily routines that cannot be broken! My mum thinks it’s funny, but it’s not funny if your living with that person. For example, apparently I wash the dishes wrong, sit on the couch wrong which will ruin it, and put things in the wrong places.

I have always been very against any type of violence. I’m not sure where he gets it from because he is from a good family. We have many cultural differences that we cannot agree on, but his family is defiantly not the violent type. Throughout the years, there had been many disagreements that led to him hitting me, pinning down, thrown me into the wall and throwing things at me - most of the time it will bruise me.

After reading other peoples stories, I can’t believe how common the excuse is! “You made me do it” and my response “I can’t make you do anything”. So whenever I have told him that he is stressing me and the baby out, his response is “I can’t make you do anything”. I have tried to fight him off while being attacked; this caused scratches on his arms. So when we have cooled down I try to question him on how he can be so awful, he says “what about what you did to me” and “you make my life hell every day and I’m depressed”. He has broken a lot of my possessions over the years, such as phone, straightener, and gifts from my parents. I always covered for him. If we argue in front of my mum, she generally takes his side. She has no idea that he is a violent person and it frustrates me.

I am defiantly embarrassed by the fact that we are still together and I have never told anybody about this. I honestly couldn’t explain why. It’s no different from anybody else, I love him and I can say it even when I’m angry. All this stuff is forgotten when all is good. It’s like you’re on top of the world, and then the argument and abuse starts again which brings me to today.

We were arguing about the fact that I wanted to go to the baby shop and he is not very interested. He ended up saying “I hope you have a heart attack and die.” This is what motivated me to share my story. I have a lot of mixed up hormones due to pregnancy right now. Apparently this is not a good enough excuse for the constant mood changes. I am really upset about the amount of times he has physically hurt me during this pregnancy. It is not a happy time at all.
To be honest, I am really scared of many things that are likely to happen; 1. Becoming a single mum. 2. If we stay together will our child be a victim? Or will his dad teach him these things too? 3. The intimacy has slowed down A LOT since becoming pregnant. Does he find it repulsive?

Although this pregnancy was unplanned, He used to always say how he wanted to have a child then and there. Now that it is happening it’s almost like he doesn’t want it. It hurt me the other night when he said he has doubts about marrying me. To say something like that whilst carrying his child felt like I was dying inside.

It would be very difficult to leave for many reasons; however I am aware it would be the right thing to do. I am open to all advice. It would be the first as I have not shared this story with anybody.

He can be my best friend or my worst enemy. Why is it so hard to leave? I feel like I’m giving him permission to be violent due to the fact that I have stayed with him, although I have tried explaining many times how wrong it is. These things that he says are very common. (Very casually) "I don't care if you leave. Go. My life is better without you." , "I’ll kill you.", "Call the cops, I don't care if I go to jail". I’ll never understand his behavior.