This is the story of a young 29-year-old mom who sent me her story about her abusive relationship, and what made her eventually leave it.
“I got into a relationship with a man who I believed was ‘the one’. However, his true colors would soon begin to show. He started attacking me right from the early stages of the relationship.
After coming home from work, he would go through my handbag and phone just to check who called or sent me text messages. Whenever he thought he saw something suspicious, he would demand an explanation. Sometimes he would hit me while doing so and the more I would try to reason with him, the more he would beat me up.
The abuse continued as the relationship progressed.
Before long, I discovered I was pregnant. I hoped that he would change since we were now going to have a baby. They say babies have a way of mellowing one down.
But I was wrong.
Violence during pregnancy
It so happened that my pregnancy was complicated and despite knowing this, he didn’t make things any easier. There are days when he would attack me even when I was really sick. He would strangle me, kick and hit me while saying that the pregnancy wasn’t his. The beatings continued throughout the pregnancy. He did not care that I risked losing the baby.
Meanwhile, my health challenges during the pregnancy led me to lose my job as I would miss work so many times. When I became jobless, the abuse intensified. He would say that I was nothing without him.
He told me not to think about leaving him, threatening that if I did, he would track me and kill both the baby and I. I lived in perpetual fear of him. I also wondered where I would go -pregnant and jobless.
The day I tried to leave
Meanwhile, the nurse who used to see me during my antenatal care visits would warn me that the stress from my relationship was affecting the pregnancy as I had developed high blood pressure. But I seemed lost on what to do about it.
I would confide in my sisters and my grandmother about what was going on and they would caution me, telling me that if I didn’t leave the relationship, it was only a matter of time before the man would kill me. But I was too scared to leave him. What if he actualized his threats of killing my baby and I, as he had threatened so many times?
One day, I attempted to leave. This was after he had beat me up so bad, and I felt that I couldn’t take it anymore. Sadly, when I tried to leave, he grabbed me, kicked and choked me until I thought I would die. After he had exhausted his strength on me, he locked me inside the house and left with the keys as he went to work. I had no food in the house that day, so I stayed hungry, bruised and bleeding.
Eventually, by the grace of God, I delivered my baby who was born healthy.
A few days after my discharge from hospital, I remember begging him to serve me food (I was weak from the birth and was still bleeding) and instead of doing so, he slapped me so hard across my face because I had dared ask him to serve me. How could I have even entertained the thought of asking him to do so, he said as he hit me.
The day I finally left
I got a job when my son was around a year old. Then he started accusing me of sleeping around because I suddenly had money. He would gang up with his mum to frustrate me. (I used to live with her in their rural family home).
One time, she told me “Even if he beats you up, I will still support him because he’s my son.” She would often ridicule me.
The last time he hit me was when our son was one year and nine months old. That was the last straw. I got up and told myself that I was not going to raise my son in that kind of environment. I vowed that was the last time that he was ever going to hit me. I had had enough. Enough was enough.
That day, I mustered all my strength and left.
I rented a single room and began life with my son. It is where we still are today. I do menial jobs to support us both. Starting out has not been easy, but at least my son and I have peace.
It has been six months since I left. He has never reached out to know about me or our son, and that’s okay.
That relationship lasted three years. Three years of pure abuse. It was not worth it.
What I would like to tell a woman is that if he hits you for the first time, he’ll surely do it again. And again and again. Don’t wait until its too late. And don’t be afraid to leave and start your life together with your child. There is no harm in being a single mother and I believe you will be helping your children more by leaving, rather than raising them in the toxic environment of domestic violence.” -END
Have you ever been in an abusive relationship, which you left? What would you like to tell other women based on your experience? Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be in touch.
If you are in an abusive relationship or know someone who is, you can call the National Gender Violence Helpline (toll-free) number: 1195 and you will be assisted. Calling 1195 is free and operates on a 24-hour basis.
Mummy Tales is a platform dedicated to empowering its readers on different aspects of womanhood and motherhood. Read more motherhood experiences of Kenyan moms here. Connect with Mummy Tales on: FACEBOOK l YOU TUBE l INSTAGRAM l TWITTER