Yes to Domestic Violence: Why we should give up and give in (II)

From the Editor: Ayomikun is the poster child for the ‘wife material’ usually recommended by love and relationship ‘experts’ in Nigerian cyberspace (mostly made up of men, but the sprinkling of women amongst them are quite strident). She is stoic, forgiving, long-suffering, willing to give up her dreams, anything to make her man love her. She is determined to make her marriage work and her worst fear is being called a divorcee (Dalemosu in Yoruba).

In the last installment she talked about her several attempts to reconcile her desire to make her dreams come true and the realities of the abusive marriage she found herself in. She talked, in great length about her several attempts to get a job, her husband’s interference, to the point that he took it upon himself to send in a resignation for her.

She also mentioned, briefly, the fact that they were childless, despite the fact that she was a virgin when she got married.

Read on(the interview below has been edited for easy reading the video of the interview can be found here):

O: So I started working with my sister-in-law at her shop in Aleshinloye, after working there for about a year and half, my sister in law and I started having problems, she complained a lot about everything, ‘you’re not doing this well, you’re not doing that well,’ so I complained to my husband and he said I should come and sit down at home.

I was at home for about six months, then I was invited to start contributing to Everyday Gospel Magazine, Remi Olabanji was my boss then, he was the Chief-Editor. During that period I had several miscarriages. I noticed that whenever I’m pregnant, that’s when my husband will come up with some minor issues, he will start beating me until I lose the pregnancy.

9jafeminista: So you’re saying your husband beats you.

O: He can beat o! Not once not twice, in fact the third time, during my third pregnancy, while he was beating me I took up a knife and said I was going to stab him if he doesn’t leave me alone, on seeing the knife, he ran out of the room and called my parents.

9jafeminista: Didn’t you report him to anybody when he was beating you?

O: I did not, I believe it’s marriage, and you need to endure in some things, if I tell other people about what I’m going through, somebody would come and tell me that what I’m passing through is minor compared to what is happening in her home. I took the advice given to me by so many people that I should stick it out. That whenever I notice that he’s trying to start a fight, I should just leave the house. But there was this day it didn’t work.

After six months of staying at home I was able to scrape some money together, about thirty thousand naira, to start up my personal business. With that thirty thousand naira, I went to a man at Dugbe (who sells bales of second hand clothes), and asked him to give me one bale (using the experience I gained from selling second-hand clothes in my sister-in-law’s shop) and started selling clothes out of my mum’s shop. I was able to refund his money after a few months.

Anyway, I returned from shop one day and my husband said ‘You’re smelling, won ti lo si’ta won ti lo ba e sun’ (translation: one of your lovers has just slept with you). ‘Lo we, lo we ko yee run. Ke mi naa wa se te’mi.’ (translation: go and take your bath so you’ll stop stinking and then I’ll come and take my turn). I was like, ‘Am I a harlot or what? What do you take me for?’ And that day he was in my shop, he saw the way I was working.

Later that night he asked for sex and I said ‘no problem, come over’, when we started having sex, he said ‘mo ti mo e, oo ni gbera, oo ni m’ira tu’pu, won ti lo e, lo e, sugbon emi naa a lo t’emi si e l’ara.” (Translation: I know you will just lie there stiffly, not participating, they’ve used you very well, but I am going to use your body too). That was when he started hitting me again, in fact my cervix (vagina), he used his fingernails to tear everything. I had wounds for about four days, I started using antibiotics and hot-water, it was just like rape that night.

9jafeminista: What did you do while all that was going on?

O: He tied me! He tied me up that night. After two days he came around and was like ‘se’mi naa ni mo se e bayi? Gba owo k’o lo ra ampiclox,’ (translation: Am I the one who did this to you? Take some money for ampiclox [an antibiotic]). That same night he had sex with me, in spite of the fact that it was pretty painful.

I’ve tried to be enduring, because before I got married they were like ‘ile oko lo n lo o, won ki n p’ada si’le wa o, to ba ti lo ro d’aada o. Don’t come back, won ki n d’ale m’osu o’ (Translation: you’re going to your husband’s home now, you’re not allowed to return to us, think about your decision thoroughly. Don’t come back, we don’t allow divorce). So in times of trouble, I will just keep quiet. There was a day that he beat me up to the extent that he left marks on me. I had to take myself to the hospital. He did not come to visit me. I was there for about three days. On the third day, I called the members of my family ‘I’m in so-so hospital, I fell down the staircase.’

My mum came and said ‘Ah! O de su’bu bayi, oko e de de e mo’le ko so.’ (Translation: You had a fall this bad and your husband just locked you in the house without informing anybody). I said he travelled and he’s not back yet. My sister now said, ‘if at all he’s not back yet, I’ve been here for over 3hours and he’s not even called to find out about the state of your health.’ That was when I told my sister that I did not fall down a staircase that my husband beat me. My sister was like ‘S’on fi se bobo yi ni? Eni yi lo ma je ana’mo fun.’ (Translation: Has a curse been placed on this man? This is the last time he’ll lift a hand up to you). I started pleading with my sister ‘Ile oko ni o, emi ni mo ma gbe be, ee ni ba mi gbe be.’(Translation: This is my matrimonial home, and you’re not going to live there with me).

But we don’t have any baby!

9jafeminista: Did you try to take any tests and find out what was wrong?

O: We did everything, and we were told we are okay. I did HSG test, I did many tests, I even went to UCH, then in UCH we did ovary test…

9jafeminista: Which test did he do?

O: (long pause) he did, he did … spec… what do they call it? He did sperm… spermatozoa test. He did it at Union Diagnostics and he was tested positive, he had over 99million sperm cells, so there is high tendency that …

9jafeminista: Did he show the result of the test to you?

O: (pause) yes. So since there was no baby …

9jafeminista: Has he had another child after all these?

O: No, but he’s been victimising me at home ‘cos he had a girl called Victoria, she would call me and say ‘Ako Ibepe’ (Translation: Male pawpaw tree)

9jafeminista: Does she have a child?

O: She’s a single mother

9jafeminista: Is the child your husband’s?

O: No he’s not my husband’s, they are just ordinary boyfriend and girlfriend. So this lady kept calling me, abusing me, so one day I called him ‘come o, this girl has been calling me constantly saying all sorts of things, do you know anything about it?’ He said ‘No, I don’t know about it.’ So that night I monitored him till he slept off. After he fell asleep I took his phone and typed in the number that had been calling me, the username appeared on his phone, ‘Koredemi’ (Translation: The one that has brought blessings to me). I was quite surprised that my husband knows the girl and was just being cagey. So I accepted my fate. In the morning when he went to the bathroom, I rang the girl. Immediately she picked the call the girl said ‘Hello honey, se o ti kuro ni’le ni?’ (Translation: hello honey, have you left your place?) I ended the call. When my husband entered and saw the dialled call, next thing …

9jafeminista: pounced on you and started beating you

O: In fact, that day, I was beaten like hell. After that day I called my parents I was no longer interested in the marriage, that I’m tired of the abuse.

Conclusion: I’m sure by now you’re all wondering why we felt the need to interview Ayomikun. Aside from the fact that 9jafeminista is a platform for women to discuss issues pertaining to us all, we are also trying to examine the myth of the ‘wife material’. That perfect woman seemingly every man in naija cyberspace desires, beautiful, can cook, is willing to sacrifice her dreams and hopes on the altar of marriage, will do anything to keep her marriage together, will allow her husband his girlfriends, is willing to be beaten and raped without using those words.

Ayomikun is presently separated from her husband, In an offline interview she told us that he eventually threw her out and has refused to let her back to remove her things despite ‘pleading’ with him and his family. He informed her that he will ‘call her back when he is ready’. And of course nobody is talking about the 99million spermatozoa running around his sperm and the fact that he can’t father a child, but we won’t forget to mention that Ayomikun is considered barren, because it is the woman’s duty to bear children.

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