I was undergoing my intern-ship at the hospital when I met Mr Kola. He was a fine average man in his early fifties. He had children in their teens who he often brought to the hospital for medical check-ups. I was working in the laboratory where I carried out analysis on him and his children. I was respectful to him anytime he came around and that was it. I often played with his children but I noticed his wife never came with him. Usually, women are the ones to bring their children to the hospital but I never asked.
I was on the night shift when Mr Kola rushed an injured bike man. The man needed a blood transfusion and I had to carry out some tests. While the man was being treated, Mr Kola and I began to converse. We spoke at length and I found out that he was drunk while driving and mistakenly hit the man. He spoke about how his wife abandoned him which makes him both the provider and the domesticated parent. He broke down during our conversation and I had sympathy for him. I began to care for him and his family. We would chat on Whatsapp till late in the night. We became close and our relationship became sexual. We moved our intimate visits from the hotels to his house. I was comfortable in his house with children around. I was performing motherly duties to them and he was also taking care of me financially. I was in love!!!
I was rounding up my industrial training when I found out I was pregnant. Mr Kola insisted on marriage and not having children out of wedlock. My parents kicked against it that I was too young. They advised I give birth and they will take care of the baby till I become independent. I went against my parents and got married to him.
During my conversations with my step-children, they would talk about how their father is a better person. Curious, I would ask questions about the times their mother was present. They told me he used beat her mercilessly and would lock her in the house. They could not remember any time their mother was ever outside the house. Even when they went to church, she did not to with them. She had no job nor business, and never even when to the market. Their mother was always crying and working. They never had any family members around nor did they have any help.
I discussed what the children had been telling me with my husband and he denied all. He told me his ex-wife ran away with another man abandoning him and their children. However, the children told me that they came from school one day and their mother was nowhere to be found. He did not report to the police and they could not ask anyone of her whereabouts since they don’t speak to anyone in their streets. They accepted their fate and continued to live without their mother. They took care of the house domestically and always ate out before I started visiting.
I completed my industrial training and my husband advised me to drop out of school. I had just one year to complete my university education. He promised to travel me overseas for my degree. A few months, I delivered the most beautiful girl. I was enjoying motherhood and I brought up my starting my degree in western countries. My husband convinced me to allow our daughter to be matured. A few months after, I found out I was pregnant again. This time, I was having twin boys! Twins!!. I felt like my life was crashing. I was just twenty-three years old getting my life together. This pregnancy was difficult with raising a toddler and two teenagers at the same time.
Four years down the line, I was raising a five years old daughter and three years old twin boys. My step-children had gone to college in the US and they were living with their mother. They visited their father once and gave me a private phone. They advised me to leave the house because my husband was doing to me what he did to their mother. My husband bought everything we needed and I was also not allowed to go out. I would beg him to get a maid to ease my stress and he always brushed it off. He would go to work in the morning and lock all the doors. When my children started school, I was only allowed to dress them up. I had no keys and could not even go to the compound. I only swept the compound during weekends with my husband present. I could not remember what ‘Outside’ looked like. Cable TV, housework and my step-children were my only companions. I did not even have anyone’s phone number and the phone had no access to the internet.
I started bringing up the undergraduate degree again and he was getting offensive. When I realized this, I started begging to at least give me the funds to start a business. I wanted to have something to do. He was getting angrier the more I spoke about my studies or the business. Gradually, he began to complain about my body type. It started from my stomach being too big to my sagging breast and later stretch marks. It graduated to my cooking being bad, the way I walked, talked and my lack of education. I could not go back to my parents as I had turned my back on them years ago.
One Saturday, an apprentice came to the house and I indulged him. My husband was sleeping, so I spoke to the man extensively in a quiet tone. He told me I could escape through the air conditioner and he would help me. I went out through the air conditioner and climbed the fence through a ladder. I went to my parent’s place and I found out they no longer lived there. I also went to my aunt’s house and no one was there. Time was running and I had to go back home. The apprentice helped me back into the house like I never left.
The verbal abuse graduated to physical abuse. I was now being hit at the slightest opportunity. I looked forward to him leaving the house and dreaded his return. My children were my only source of joy and he was threatening to take them away if I ever leave, so I stayed. Two years after, I had gotten used to the physical and verbal abuse. I was at home dreading my husband’s return and he was not coming forth. Surprisingly, I became concerned and was calling continuously on the land-line. Even if I hate him, I was still concerned about his safety. Foodstuffs had finished and I had no money both physically and in my bank account. I could not even afford to feed my children. Only the apprentice was bringing in food for us.
My husband returned three weeks later and pretended like nothing happened. I spoke with him about not having any money in his absence. I pleaded for a monthly allowance and he blatantly refused. He buys everything in the house down to my undies and I was not able to save because he never gave me physical money. His off-and-on became a regular occurrence. He could be gone for two weeks – two months. My frustrations were on the increase and there was nowhere to go. My husband was absent again but this time for a longer while. There was no food in the house and my children were not going to school. I started going out through the air conditioner to make money to feed my children. I would go to the market to help people with luggage and got paid in return. The money I was paid was used to feed my children.
I went out one day and my husband was back in the house and the apprentice had escaped. My husband had looked for me in the house and I was nowhere to be found. I came back, jumped the fence and the person standing on my feet was my husband. He dragged me into the house by my hair and beat the living day out of me. I told him about the exhaustion of foodstuffs and I went to work in the market to buy foodstuffs for the children to eat. He only beat more with my children crying and pleading with him to stop. My husband had also found the phone his children bought for me and destroyed it.
My husband left again and I also escaped to make money to buy foodstuffs. I got home and my husband had returned. This time, he threw me out of the house with nothing. I had no access to the house or my children. I went to a nearby church and I was allowed to sleep in the auditorium. I was going to the house every day and one day, I saw a family moving in. I approached the man and he told me he just bought the house. I woke up in the compound very wet. I had fainted and this man and his family had taken me in. I narrated my story to them and they had sympathy for me. They also decided to employ me as their housekeeper.
Now am a housekeeper in the house which was mine. I have been able to save from my salary and I have started learning a skill. I am healing and I have forgiven myself. I still miss my children and I don’t even know where to start. I was walking home from my skill acquisition centre when I saw a poster on FREE THERAPY. I am currently in free therapy session with Arogi Foundation and getting better.
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