The first violent encounter was when I told him I was pregnant. He told me to be smart, I was confused. The only natural thing after this for me was him telling me okay, ‘Then we have to get married fast.’ ‘I do not want to be a father, let alone the father to your child,’ he said. I was not sure he’d be the perfect father and husband for me too but the words stung me deep and I felt my blood rushing. ‘I am not having an abortion,’ I told him. ‘You can get away from my life, I will raise the child alone.’ He shook me. Shook me like someone trying to frantically wake a dead body, only for him he probably wanted to take the life out of me. It was the beginning of a series of violent encounters, I stayed on thinking having his attention was good enough for me………
Five years on. I look back and realise I was not in love with the guy, I was in love with the idea of being in a relationship with him. It affirmed me, took away my physical invisibility. He was popular and smart. His smartness probably made him aware of my desperation for affirmation and he decided to exploit that avenue by brutalising my confidence further. I have no physical wounds of his infliction. In fact the emotional scourge I went through made me aware of myself, my failings and my weaknesses. I emerged stronger and happier but no woman deserves to learn themselves in that manner.
It became a vicious cycle. I would throw tantrums knowing it would only end in violence. Being left alone and forgotten by him like I never happened seemed worse for me. When he noticed the belly would keep growing he became nice. Making promises. Calling to check on me. Sweeter than before. ‘I want us to try again, start afresh on a clean slate,’ he lied. So he paid a civil servant’s worth salary to a Doctor and I had the abortion. I will never forget the look of relief on his face when I told him it was done. A smart move would have been to distance himself away from me gently and slowly until I no longer needed him, but he literally flew to the hills and I chased him.
Whom did he think he was, messing with people’s lives and getting away with it? I would teach him a lesson. I did not have any curriculum for that lesson, in fact, I was just emotionally wounded and going through an emotional guilt trip which by the way would last for a year. So I would use my mouth and he would use his hands. For several months this went on. I would go to work with a disfigured face. Until one day I broke it all to the people I cared about the most, they were hurt, for me and for themselves. This is the day my healing began and I began to notice him for the monster he was. Maybe I had become a monster too, I really do not know.
I am happy now. Do I regret? No.
What I know today is low self-esteem is dangerous for our girls. I want my daughters to see the example of a good man in their father. When they see him treat me like a goddess, when they see him illuminate my smile and draw fits of laughter from me, they will know when a dangerous man plants himself in their lives. The thing about having being abused is the struggle to appreciate goodness. It’s treated with suspicion too often. The father to my two daughters is the most amazing man in the world. Kind, caring, patient. He has a beautiful soul. I am still learning that he is real.
I have met my abuser twice. When I look at him, it’s as if am seeing a stranger. I do not recollect enough details of the emotional despair I suffered because of him. I look at him and try to find the traces of change-none. I look at him and search deep in my soul for hatred-none. I look at him and try to dig for regret-none. This is how I know I overcame. This is how I know abuse has nothing to do with how smart or educated you are. It has everything to do with how much value you place upon yourself. To anyone it can happen but a cycle of it happening means you need someone to tell you:
’This is not normal. You are special and deserve respect. He is a coward and you do not need a coward, he is setting a precedence for what will happen to your daughters and you do not want broken children, he is a failure and a monster. Being loved without injury being inflicted on you is normal and attainable, get it and embrace it because you are human and deserve it.’
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