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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Our marriage lasted 24 months though we dated for six years -Domestic violence survivor

Domestic violence is a deeply troubling reality affecting countless individuals globally. It encompasses various forms of abuse, including physical, emotional, financial, and psychological mistreatment.

Today, we have a special guest who accepted to share a true-life experience of how she was almost shot by her partner.

This interview aims to raise awareness while we collectively work towards breaking the cycle of abuse in our communities.

“My name is Afolabi Joy Opeyemi, and I am from Ondo State. I got married to my ex-husband in December 2020. We had dated for six years before we decided to tie the knot.

During the relationship, he acted like a good man — caring, loving, and all that. I think the only red flag I noticed was that he enjoys drinking. However, I didn’t know he was highly addicted to it.

A few months after we got married, I resigned from my job because it was far away from our place of residence. Also, I was pregnant and couldn’t cope with the stress.

While I was looking for another job, I couldn’t contribute to the financial expenses of the home. So, that was when I noticed the dark side of my then spouse.

He works with the Nigerian Civil Defense and would go to work without giving me any money for food. Despite the fact that I was pregnant, he didn’t care if I ate or not. He was spending all his money on alcoholic drinks at the expense of providing for his family.

We dated for six years before we decided to tie the knot

On several occasions, I had to beg and cry before he bought food items. When I saw how bad the situation was, I began to look for ways to fend for myself.

Since I am a hairstylist, I started informing people in the neighborhood about my skills. However, the moment I started making money from plaiting hair, this man began to accuse me of infidelity.

I was working in a salon and also had customers who were requesting home services. Anytime I had such offers, I used to share my location information with my ex-husband. However, the moment I returned home from work, he would accuse me of cheating and even beat me up.

There were days he locked the doors, and after beating me to his satisfaction, he would go to the bar to drink. that marriage felt like hell

I was pregnant when the maltreatment started. When I confided in some friends, they said the birth of my child might bring peace to the home. However, they were wrong.

He didn’t give me money to buy clothes for the baby. Most of the baby things I got were gifts from my customers, friends, and family. Despite all the efforts I made to make the marriage work, my (ex) husband kept on abusing and disrespecting me.

At one point, he turned our apartment into a meeting point for miscreants he called friends. They would mess up the whole place with alcohol and cigarettes. And anytime I complained about his attitude, I would receive a slap.

He was always abusing me over insignificant issues. At a point, I started feeling worthless and i developed high blood pressure

Imagine living in a compound where the neighbors were always coming to rescue me from his fist. There were days he locked the doors, and after beating me to his satisfaction, he would go to the bar to drink. In fact, that marriage felt like hell. There was nothing like communication, friendship, or care.

He was always abusing me over insignificant issues. At a point, I started feeling worthless and even developed high blood pressure.

Another bad habit he had was returning home late at night, and as soon as he stepped into the house, he would start looking for ways to pick a fight with me.

During an argument, he brought out a gun and threatened to shoot me

I didn’t tell my mother what was happening in my marriage. After I gave birth, she came to stay with me and was shocked when she saw his attitude. As usual, he wasn’t providing food for the family. My mother was the one buying what we were eating. She spent one month with us, and when she was leaving, my ex-husband didn’t give her a dime.

I wasn’t really surprised because I know he barely takes care of his own mother.

The gun incident
Many things happened in that marriage, but let me just talk about the last straw that broke the camel’s back. As I mentioned earlier, he was fond of returning late at night. So, on that day, he came home around 2 a.m. The moment he stepped in, I noticed that he was drunk. When I asked him when he would stop such practices, he got angry and started screaming at me. He said that I was responsible for all the setbacks in his life.

During the argument, he brought out a gun and threatened to shoot at me. Although he is a civil defense officer, I never knew he had a gun until that night. I had to quickly run into the bedroom and locked the door.

Another thing that saved me that night was the presence of my younger sister. She had visited me earlier that day and was inside the bedroom when the commotion started. My sister was so angry and wanted to confront him, but I told her not to do that. So, while we were locked up in the room, I started calling our family members to inform them about what just happened. Of course, they were surprised when they heard about it.

Some weeks after I had moved out, he came to seek reconciliation. He even sent his kinsmen, pastor, and respected elders to plead on his behalf. but I refused to go back. 

In the morning, I packed my belongings and left the marriage. I didn’t have any money when I left, but I believed that God would see me through. Some weeks after I left, he came to seek reconciliation, but I refused to go back. He even sent his kinsmen, pastor, and respected elders to plead on his behalf. However, when they heard my own side of the story, especially the part where he brought out a gun, some of them aborted their mission.

It’s been over a year since I got separated from him, and I am not regretting my decision. My goal is to build myself, expand my hairstyling/beauty business, and be a good mother to my daughter.

I didn’t have any money when I left, but I believed that God would see me through

Has he been sending money for his daughter’s upkeep? The answer is no! Instead, he is threatening to take her away from me. There was a day he came to my mother’s house and insulted every member of my family. After that incident, I overheard some neighbors gossiping about me for leaving my marriage. These are people who don’t even know the full story.

Final word
I have heard about women who stayed in abusive relationships until they were murdered. However, I’m glad that I was able to leave.

Leaving is not a sign of weakness; it’s an act of strength and self-preservation. Despite the challenges of single parenting, I prefer this phase of my life to the past.

The decision to leave an abusive relationship won’t be easy, especially if you are dependent on your abuser. However, just believe in your strength and ability to reclaim your life.

In summary, no matter what you go through, remember that you are not alone, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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