But that wasn’t the first time he had hit me. One day while we were still dating, we went out partying and when he had had enough, he announced that it was time to leave. It was my birthday and I was with my close friends, so I told him that I wasn’t done yet, though he was free to leave if he felt tired. I was staying in my own house anyway and so was he, so I didn’t see it necessary for us to leave together. But next thing I knew, he grabbed me and dragged me out of the club to his car, shoved me in and drove to his place. Once there, he took out his belt and whipped me mercilessly with it.
The following morning, he told me that my behavior had terribly upset him, and that my stubbornness had led him to discipline me. Strangely, I found myself apologizing to him, promising never to embarrass him again. That was the first time the violence happened. He had a temper but I hoped that once we got married, he would cool down.
But there I was now, married to him, and four months pregnant. Receiving kicks and blows from him. He hadn’t changed. Sadly, the beating he gave me that night caused me to suffer a miscarriage. It was a baby girl.
After my miscarriage, I decided to return to college to keep my mind busy and not sink into depression over the loss of my daughter. Back at home, the beatings became more frequent and over trivial things. If he didn’t like the color of my blouse, he would punch me and forcefully remove it from me. When he found me working on my laptop, he would accuse me of communicating with a secret lover. One time he crashed it. He would also tell me not to smile at anyone –man or woman –because that meant I was seducing them. But yet, he himself was having affairs with other women and did not even bother to hide them from me. Whenever I questioned him about this, his reply would be kicks, slaps, blows and punches.
Many times, I asked myself what I was doing in an abusive marriage. But having come from a broken home, I had vowed that my marriage would work no matter what, so I hang on. But I remember that twice, when things became extremely unbearable, I got fed up, packed up my things and left him but both times, a church delegation came back for me, urging me to reconcile with my husband. They said it was against God’s will for a man and his wife to be separated. That God hates divorce.
Interestingly, despite this stress, I managed to excel in my studies, graduating at the top of my MBA class in 2011. So impressed was the university that they offered me a full scholarship for my PhD studies. In addition, they hired me as a lecturer at the university. I now had a comfortable pay and better opportunities. But while I thought this was a good thing for us, it only made my husband unhappy and he beat me.
In the meantime, I found out that he was engaged in online criminal activities. I couldn’t believe that I was married to a thug! Many times he would invite his girlfriends to our house and they would carry out their operations -hacking people’s emails, making fraudulent calls and conning people. I was too scared to report his criminal activities to anyone because I knew he’d kill me.
All the while, I was trying to get pregnant -including using fertility treatments. I hoped that giving him a baby would change things between us for the better. My prayers were answered when finally, after three and a half years of trying, I conceived. When I shared the good news with him, I received a very serious beating. He told me he didn’t care about me or my pregnancy.
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