From the Editor’s Desk: I came across Fadhilat’s story on the Facebook page of Naija Story. What drew me in were the pictures, the pictures of a woman who had been brutally beaten.
She had written her story, two years after the fact.
I immediately sent her a message asking if she won’t mind sharing her story on 9jafeminista and to my delight, she agreed. I was delighted not because she went through what she did, but because she was brave enough to share her story with so many women out there, going through the same physical and mental torture she had suffered.
A lot of times when people talk about domestic violence and women who are victims, the picture we get in our mind is usually that of a poverty stricken woman, dependent on a man for her livelihood, but as we’ve learnt over and again, abuse knows no class or education.
The men who abuse women have one thing in common, to show how powerful they are, to make the women less – less beautiful, less independent, less …
This story is particularly important because the Violence Against Persons bill, which has been languishing in the Lower and Upper houses has finally been passed by the House of Assembly. This is victory for feminists who have toiled long and hard, away from the glare of the media (both traditional and non-traditional) to grab this victory.
One final step towards achieving total victory is when the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan signs this bill into law.
Below is the story of a single parent, who decided to marry an older man because they are supposedly kind and gentle due to their experience but found out she was married to a monster.
We hope that one day soon, there will be justice for Fadhilat Yetunde Bhadmus.
The first abuse occurred shortly after our trip from the holy land, Mecca, which happened to be a week to his 65th birthday, the 8th of Dec 2012.
He came to my apartment from Eko Club in Surulere, around 11.30 – 12.00 pm unannounced, demanding for food while I was already sleeping. He woke me up and started shouting at me, asking me why I would be sleeping while he was not home. I asked him why won’t I sleep? Besides I wasn’t expecting him in my apartment that night. He asked me if he needed an invitation before coming to my place and I said no. I asked him what he wanted to eat and he said I shouldn’t ask him silly questions that I should either give him food or he should go elsewhere.
I went into the kitchen and made him some rice and defrosted his frozen soup (he only eats fish and I usually made it in packs so I won’t be caught unawares whenever he makes his unannounced visits) served it and called him to come and eat. On getting up from where he was seated with a bottle of stout (which he brought with him from wherever he came from) and smoking his Consulate cigarette he went straight to the dining lifting my dishes up in the air and breaking them into pieces one after the other, telling me that I lack home training, was that how to serve him? Did he tell me he was hungry? And even if he was, did I ask him what he actually wanted to eat?
I stood there speechless for a few seconds before I could finish asking him why on earth he broke the valuable dishes I had acquired long before I met him, considering that I woke up to make him something to eat, the next thing that greeted my questions were rains of hard slaps on the left side of my face which continued for a while.
While trying to escape the beatings he ran after me into my bedroom to continue the assault, in spite of the fact that my girlfriend, who came from UK during that period was staying in my apartment. He left for his house that night leaving me with blood clotted, half-face. It was my girlfriend and kid sister that helped with packing cold E45 on the blood clotted face.
I was in indoors for a week plus because I couldn’t go out with the bruises. During his birthday party, I had to cover up with loads of makeup and concealer to hide traces of the abuse.
He neither apologized nor showed any sign of remorse.
The second one occurred a month after the first,in the same sequence the first.
He arrived at my apartment, that late too, while I was on the phone with my friend. He slapped the phone into my face, asking me who the hell I was talking to. Why didn’t I drop the call immediately he entered the room. That I lacked manners and respect, he left me with bruises and on my face and neck and left (each time he abuses me and leaves, he comes back very early in the morning still his arrogant self and not apologetic).
The major abuse occurred two months after this particular one, which happened some few days to my 37th birthday (5th of April was my day) and this occurred on the 21st of March 2013, I call it The Major Massacre because it went on for hours, from 12 midnight to 5 am the next morning.
There had been arguments over the issue of my not wanting to conceive for him, that I only wanted to use him and dump him. I told him it wasn’t like that, that God’ s time is the best, but when the problem persisted I told him to let us go and see an obstetrician to know if I have any problems, which we did and was asked to do several tests which I carried out and was told nothing was wrong with me. When he was asked to do the same tests he refused.
One particular day I was asked to do womb scanning, I was asked to come early without eating anything. I went to the laboratory with him, sat there for hours, waiting for the doctor to arrive, unfortunately he had to leave because he needed to go somewhere important, (according to him), which was okay by me. The doctor arrived later and carried out the test, meanwhile before he left, we planned to meet at Surulere because we had a birthday party to attend on the island. I told him I’ll be branching at my tailor’ s place to drop some clothes to be sewn which was okay by him but he insisted that I should call him once I got close to Surulere so that he can leave his house to meet me at Eko club, his club and second home, one of the rules he made was that I was not allowed to go to his home, no matter what happened because of his other wife, so as to give her some respect.
We met at the club and left for the party on the island, this was around 5:30 pm, unfortunately for us when we got there, the party had not started and he had to leave because he said he couldn’t wait and I was very hungry because I had not eaten that whole day. I returned to Surulere and on getting to the club, there was no food available, I had to go to an eatery to get something to eat. I was feeling dizzy already then, I bought the food and returned to the club to eat it.
It was while I was looking for tissue in my handbag that I came across a complimentary card that was given to me by a lady I bought sneakers from for my little girl, I was tearing it up when it occurred to me that I shouldn’t have, because he is an extremely jealous and temperamental man, I put the pieces together and placed it on the table, right in-between us in case any argument ensued.
But I was wrong because he had made up his mind about whose card it was, I knew there was going to be trouble because shortly after I placed the torn pieces of paper between us, he stood up abruptly, went straight to his car and drove off. I had no choice than to follow him in my own car (we went in separate cars) it was while I was in the car that he called my phone and started abusing me and calling me all sorts of names.
He claimed that a man gave me a complimentary card and that I had the gut to bring it to where he was and tore it in his presence. That I ridiculed him and I’ve been messing him up and down, he did not even give me the chance to explain whose card it was before he ended the call.
He got to my apartment before I did, so I went upstairs to meet him and tried to explain how the card came about but wouldn’t listen. He left the room suddenly and thinking that he had left for his house I started undressing, not knowing that he did not leave, but went and locked all the doors to the apartment and threw away the keys. He came back into the room and that was how the beatings started, I could not (or rather did not) want to come out of my bedroom when the assault started because of my little girl, I didn’t want her witnessing the battering. I eventually ran out of the room when I realized I was approaching either heaven or hell’s gate