Some months back, a friend sent me links to some stories on domestic violence. As a female, I have got to admit that reading those stories wrenched my heart a great deal. The first story was about a young man who murdered his banker wife and who eventually got a death sentence (I will rather not state the name of the man. His act is not worthy of emulation). The next story was on a girl who was battered by her “jealously loving and over-protective boyfriend.” I mean the guy did horrible and gory things to this girl (a model who you would not believe was ever a model when you see her before and after pictures). The list of such inhumane fates suffered by women/ladies in the hands of guys whom they claim to be in love with, or from guys who claim to love these females is endless. And to be honest, even if we keep enacting laws to curb this violence and punish such offenders, I still strongly believe the harm would have already been done to these ladies. Hence, punishing the offenders does not in any way truly alleviate the sufferings of these females. But then it’d help to scare others away from perpetrating such acts.
It is to this end I write on how not to be a victim in a relationship you walked into yourself. I mean, how miserable is it that we surrender or devolve the power over our very lives to some other person just because “we are in love with them.” Call me unromantic or whatever, I believe that in as much as you have not been literally tied down in a pit, you must muster every ounce of strength you possess to get out of an abusive relationship. No human being alive should be able to decide the fate of another human being like that.
At the risk of sounding insensitive, I make bold to say that any lady who ever got into an abusive relationship had clues. The signs were there; they might have been minor or inconspicuous, but they were there. Such ladies were just “too in love” to notice, or for those that noticed, they were just too sentimental or weak to acknowledge what those signs implied or expressly meant.
Some ladies stay in abusive relationships simply because the guy gives them beautiful and irresistible gifts. So they mistake gifts for love and keep thinking “he loves me and shows it by giving me all these exquisite gifts. He just has this little problem of getting angry.” For some, the excuse is “we have been together for ‘xyz’ years. I have invested a good number of years with him. I don’t see why I should now leave him and get back to the market in search of a partner because of this trivial matter. Who would even want me?” I have heard others say “he loves me too much; that is his problem. He can’t bear to have someone else share me with him.” And when most girls begin to believe and make these excuses for a man they are in a relationship with, they begin to think:
“Maybe I am the one with the problem.”
“I am constantly doing the things he doesn’t want me to do by keeping those friends, especially the male ones that he doesn’t want to see around me.”
“Maybe I need to stop talking back at him when he gets upset.”
“Maybe I need to please him more.”
These and several other blames are taken by the women in these relationships for the immaturity and madness of their partner/spouse. In the first place, who told you that a man has the license to beat you even if/when you are wrong? I mean you are a fellow adult with the man. Isn’t it ridiculous that your parents no longer beat you, but one guy/man from nowhere pops into your life in the name of love or a relationship and begins to do that which your parents can’t even consider doing anymore (that is if they ever beat you as a child)?
My dear ladies, here are a few hints to know that a man will be abusive (I hope you don’t overlook these tips and that you take them very seriously), so you can know when to flee from a relationship while you aren’t yet trapped:
a) Does he yell a lot? Once a man starts yelling at you more than the times that he compliments you or has normal conversations with you, you might want to really reconsider that relationship. Courtship is supposed to be the best time of a relationship; everything is nice, sweet and mostly enjoyable and fun. So if someone starts yelling at you so much in a relationship that you have to start being very conscious about how you speak and what you say to them, sweetheart, you need to start getting scared.
b) Does he grab you in strange ways? For example, does he suddenly pick your arm and force you to walk with him? Does he get angry and hold onto your wrist in hurtful manners?
c) Does he physically abuse other people in your presence? For example, does he get out of a car and go slap some ‘reckless motorist’ who scratches his car in traffic? Does he easily dangle blows in the faces of ‘other’ people other than you who upset him? It might seem like he loves you and he doesn’t get angry with only you in the entire world, but you need to be very afraid; it is just a matter of time before he would start threatening you with such violence, when he begins to feel like he owns you or feels at home with you.
d) Does he verbally abuse you and threaten you? Does he use words like “don’t you dare test me woman. You don’t want me getting mad.” Or such sentences as “you must be very stupid/foolish/mad. If you don’t start changing, one of these days I will teach you a lesson” “thank your stars that I love you. If not, I know how I would have dealt with you.” “See her: prostitute. You are always looking for an opportunity to be promiscuous. What were you doing at your friend’s party up till now?”
e) Does he complain a whole lot about who your friends are? Why you were smiling at some male colleague or even male stranger? Or why you didn’t pick his call or reply his message at a particular hour of the day that he was trying to contact you (especially when he makes a big deal out of it)? Does he query you on who you are talking to over the phone, or who you constantly chat with when you are free? Does he even go as far as to monitor your conversation with his friends or brothers?
f) When he starts saying “you know you mean the world to me, I can’t bear losing you to someone else if you ever leave me.” “If you ever leave me, I will kill you, kill the new guy and ultimately kill myself” “If you think you will ever leave me after all these things am doing for you, you better think again my dear”
When you begin to hear such sentences, please begin to run and run as fast as you can. Don’t leave room for sentiments such as “when he wants to apologize to me after terrible fights and arguments, he buys me expensive gifts, plans surprises for me and even begins to weep profusely regretting what he did to me.” To take him back after any form of abuse; whether verbal or physical is to reinforce him to continually abuse you. I mean, you are basically telling him “now you know how to pacify me and what penance to pay when you hurt me emotionally and physically. Keep pushing those buttons and you can abuse me all you want.”
In conclusion, don’t take lightly any observation by your close friends and family. Not everybody is out to “destroy your great relationship”. They might actually be on the lookout for your welfare when they start sensing dangerous and unhealthy signals in your relationship. Remember they have known you longer than this guy so they just might be right, especially when a good number of them are complaining about the same things like “why does he get angry so easily and start yelling at you even in public?” Girl, if he is yelling at you in public, chances are he will physically abuse you in private. But if he is already physically abusing you in public, he will kill you in private. Please ladies, be wise.
For those already in such relationships, who are finding it hard leaving due to fear of harm from the guy, I think it is high time you reported to the police so he can know that he can’t just take a shot at harming you anyhow; the law is already on its toe for you. Also, I think such ladies usually need counseling and a whole lot of love from close friends and families in order to psychologically and emotionally recover from such traumatizing experiences. There are NGOs and Human Right outfits willing to help you. Why not contact the nearest one to you today. Don’t be ashamed of the dungeon you are in, talk to someone who can help you today: nobody is out to judge or blame you. The important thing really, is you getting out and making the best out of the one life you have. There are no dress rehearsals for this life so don’t trivialize or lose yours in the hands of a violent and abusive partner.
@incomparablegem on Twitter
Opeyemi Akinkusote is a final year student of law. She’s passionate about empowering women and protecting women against violence. She loves to be around children educating them. She spends her time making the world a better place by advocating for love and good conscience.
The views expressed above are solely that of the author and not of Omojuwa.com or its associates.