When he found out about the loan, he became violent, saying that I should have first obtained his consent to do so. He said he was disciplining me for that ‘mistake’. That day, he almost killed me. He started by beating me up with a water pipe all over my body. I remember I was holding our six-month old son and I was struggling to balance between shielding myself from the whips and preventing my son from dropping down as I did so. It wasn’t easy, but he didn’t care. Thankfully, the house girl came to my rescue and grabbed my son before dashing out. When my husband got tired, he started slapping and punching my face until my upper lip burst open and began bleeding. That day, I decided to go back home to my parents, come what may.
My husband followed me there a few days later, where an ‘elders’ meeting was convened and he apologized to the wazee –and with a small fine to boot. The resolutions were that I return home with him, that he wouldn’t do it again, and that I try to be a more submissive wife. I obeyed my family’s instructions and went back with him.
But the violence continued. In 2015, I began planning my exit. I had endured 11 years of abuse in a union that was literally a living hell. He had never even paid dowry, despite his many assurances to me that he would make our union official. 11 good years of empty promises!
Let me also mention that his family never cared about me at all. In fact, they would openly tell me that ‘nimerudisha mtoto wao nyuma sana’ (their son was not advancing in life because of me). Which was untrue because I used to have my own business and work for my own money –however little it was. I had even encouraged him to buy a plot of land and he was already constructing a house in it. But to them, I was a parasite to their son. So you can imagine my dilemma. His family loathed me, and my parents encouraged me to stay with him. Basically I was on my own.
Meanwhile, our first son had been diagnosed with autism and based on my experiences raising him, I had decided to start a small center near home that would help cater for other autistic children. So together with a friend, we rented a house in the neighborhood with our savings, and set up a small center.
One day, I was alone in the center taking care of the six children since my friend had not reported for work that day, and neither had the house manager we had employed. So I cooked the meals, taught the children, did the laundry and cleaned the children among other chores and by the time I got home, I was completely exhausted.
As was usual with my husband, he would always demand for sex from me whether I wanted to or not, and many times I used to give in even when I wasn’t in the mood –just to avoid a beating. But on that day, I was too tired and I told him I would sort him out once I had gotten some rest. I pleaded for a few minutes of rest. But no sooner had I made this request than he violently dragged me out of the bed and began kicking me all over. He then forcefully pushed me out of the bedroom and I landed on the corridor floor. He then took out all my clothes and shoes from the wardrobe and threw them outside, before returning to the bedroom and locking himself inside.
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