“Stop it Craig! You’re hurting me!” I said as I tried to defend myself. What is he holding this time round, a sharp object. My husband had done this a number of times but he’s never brought a kitchen knife. I literally freaked out because I didn’t know what that man was planning to do. He had just come from work, he was carrying a gift box and roses besides his briefcase. I was happy to see him back home, I had already dressed up because we were to go for a dinner date. As usual I went and hugged him, took the briefcase, removed his coat and shoes then ushered him in.
He acted so different on that day, I thought that maybe he wasn’t in good moods or it was just pressure from work. “Who is Mike and for how long have you been having an affair? ” Before I even uttered a word I was on the floor.He gave me the note attached to the rose flowers and ordered me to read aloud. “You’ll forever be my sweetheart, I love you,” from Mike. He gave me the gift box and asked me to unwrap it. Inside was a perfume and a necklace. The moment I saw the perfume I clearly knew who had sent the gift, but I was shocked coz we didn’t have an affair at the moment. I was absent minded for a minute. Craig had left the room and came back carrying something in his right hand. He fixed me to the wall and looked at me closely. “If I can’t have you then no one else will.” He was carrying a kitchen knife, I had never been that terrified. I pleaded for mercy, he dropped the knife and let go of me. I tried to explain amidst sobs that I really had nothing to do with Mike and that he was my ex lover. Ever since I met Craig, I had never even talked to him.
During my days as a young girl, I had never thought that I could some day stay in an abusive relationship. Craig was convinced by my explanation because he knew I am an honest person. He went down on his knees, “I am so sorry my wife, I knew you could never do this but I don’t know what came over me. Please forgive me.” From the expression on his face he was sincerely sorry. I had made up my mind to leave though it wasn’t the first time. I had always packed my stuff and failed to leave or even when I left I could come back after a week or two. “I am a strong woman,” I kept telling myself each time so I had to stay. Okay, what defines a strong woman? They say she never quits ,she perseveres for the sake of love and her children.I packed a few clothes and some essentials in a medium sized suitcase. “What about my babies?” I asked myself. They were upstairs with the house help, she locked them up in the bedroom so they didn’t witness the scenario. Jimmy was three and Tonia was five.
I was undecided whether to bid them goodbye or not because I didn’t want them to see me in the condition that I was in. I made up my mind to go, they were sitting on the bed, close to one another holding their hands. They hugged me so tight. “Mummy, you’ll be alright, please take us with you, don’t leave us behind.” said Tonia. That statement pierced my heart. That’s how I didn’t leave.I had caught my husband cheating twice and I forgave him because I’m a strong woman, they say strong women don’t quit. This same man almost killed me for just suspecting that I was cheating on him, he actually found out that I wasn’t. There’s a time I went home after a thorough beating. Craig had come home drunk, he was jovial and kept smiling. His phone was ringing, he hesitated to pick the call but due to persistence he really had to. I already knew something was wrong somewhere because I could clearly see lipstick marks on his shirt. “Hello darling, I miss you already ,” a soft voice spoke on the other end. “I’ll call you right back,” is all Craig said before hanging up. The moment I asked who had called and why there were lipstick marks on his shirt, he hit me so hard, that’s all I can remember. It’s like I became unconscious, I woke up in a hospital room. He was sitting on a chair just beside the bed. I stared at him, tears rolled down my cheeks, I just remembered that he had hit me, I already knew why I was in hospital. He looked guilty and sorry. “My dear husband, when did the rain start beating us?” I asked myself. “I’m happy to see you open your eyes Rita, you’re the love of my life, if I was to marry again, I’d still choose you. Please forgive me.” A nurse suddenly came in, she asked how I was feeling and said I’d get discharged in the evening, she then left.
I was back home, I was planning to leave the following day to go to my parents home though I didn’t want him to find out. The moment I set my eyes on mama, I began to cry, she definitely knew something was wrong with me. We were seated at the backyard, I was pouring out my heart, she was listening. “Mama, I can’t take it anymore, I want to quit,” that was my last sentence. She talked to me for about an hour and her last sentence was, “Rita my daughter, strong women never quit, your children need their dad.” That evening mama and I went for a nature walk, we had lots of fun, I forgot all my problems. The next day I went back to my home in the evening. My kids were happy to see me back. Craig came back from work a little bit early. He asked me to prepare because he had booked a flight for the two of us and that we’d be away for three days. That was his way of apologising, each and every time he hurt me he apologised in a nice way till I got convinced that he was really sorry. There’s a time he even bought me my dream car.
The next day we were up so early to get ready, we were to fly to Simba island, I was so excited because I really wanted to be away for a while in a different environment. My whole experience in the island was amazing, we had really good time. My husband and I had lengthy discussions and we decided to get in touch with with a marriage counselor. I tried by all means to make our marriage work, I even prayed and fasted for this son of a woman to change but nothing happened, but I wasn’t just going to give up, I kept pressing on.I was an almost perfect wife but I didn’t really understand why my husband was just messing up our marriage. We started having marriage counseling sessions and I got to learn that my husband had an abusive dad who used to beat up his mum, as a result he thought that that’s how a man should deal with his frustrations. This man surely needed to heal from his childhood experiences and reconcile with his past. After six months of counseling I saw light at the end of the tunnel. For all that while he didn’t lay his hands on me, that was his turning point.
I am writing this seated in my office as I wait to see my clients in the afternoon. I am a marriage counselor, I deal with those who have domestic violence issues. I’ve been married for twenty years now and the last time my husband hit me was fourteen years ago. After months of marriage counseling and years of praying, everything turned around, we’re a happy family now with five kids. Okay, the truth of the matter is; No woman or man deserves to be battered by the spouse. It’s not like people should comfortably stay in such kind of marriages but you get to also know that divorce is not the best option. That’s just one of the phrases I frequently tell my clients. If you’re a victim of domestic violence, don’t keep it to yourself, share with trusted people around you and if need be, seek counseling. I remember I used to shy away from talking to people around me about what I was going through, the more I kept silent, the more I felt hurt. There’s a time I decided to share with a friend and she suggested about counseling sessions and even referred me to a counselor. She even opened up and told me that she was once a victim and the counseling sessions really helped them. Let’s join hands together to fight domestic violence, yes, both you and I have a role to play.