Saturday, May 25, 2024
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I got married as a teenager. I remember my dad being unhappy about it. He didn’t want me to.

My husband was older by almost 18 years. Very handsome, Intelligent, comfortable, appeared to be a gentleman. I remember when he was courting me anytime we quarrelled, I’d leave him and go home. He’d call me, but I wouldn’t pick up his call, Next thing, he’d come to the house and beg me, didn’t matter if I was right or wrong.

I remember he’d be there to pick me up from work, no matter how late I closed, or opened car doors, kisses on my forehead, the works. I thought he was the man of my dreams.

We got married.
Barely 3 days in, I got a shocker.
I went with my friend to the saloon to retouch my hair, I was washing my hair when he called, I couldn’t take his call so I asked my friend to please answer, the minute he realised he was speaking with my friend, he lost it, he began to scream at her, my Friend was trying to explain to him but he wasn’t having it, so at some point, she told him, abeg I’m not your wife doesn’t speak to me like that and hung up.

He started calling back, he called about 3 times, I had to pick up the call, and I tried to explain why I couldn’t pick up earlier, I had Barely said Baby I… when he let rip a torrent of curse words, you fucking bitch, ashawo, prostitute, you were fucking right? I was speechless, I stammered in shock, and he screamed again, where the fuck are you? I told him, and within 10 minutes he came and we left for home, abandoning my friend at the saloon.

All the way home he was seething, I was seething too, I thought it was the man that courted me I was with, so I was equally angry too, I didn’t know his real self was about to show.

The minute we stepped into the house, I got a thunderous punch to the side of my head. I staggered and was trying to gain my composure to talk when he came at me with torrents of slaps and punches, kicks too.

He finally stopped after I lay inert, and said to me, don’t you ever try to cheat on me again!!

From that point onwards, the physical abuse was a regular thing.
I gave birth to my first surviving child with my left eye swollen shut. This was the beginning of Enmity between himself and myself.

During the pregnancy, I had to be on bed rest for about 6 weeks, because of a beating that nearly resulted in me losing the pregnancy. I begged my gynaecologist to please insist I be admitted during the duration of those 6 weeks. Those were the happiest 6 weeks of my life in that marriage.

I remember when I travelled for my elder sister’s marriage Oby Nnadi, we were at the saloon in Owerri when he called me and I missed his call, he then called my sis and I spoke to him through her phone and explained I didn’t hear the phone ring. He didn’t say much before he hung up.
When I got back to Lagos, the beating I got resulted in one of my eardrums getting busted.

I lost several phones because I was constantly holding my phone in my hands so I wouldn’t miss his calls, and he would call repeatedly till I picked up, sometimes I’d see 50 missed calls, and I’d know I was dead already. Because of this, to date, I HATE being called repeatedly, especially by my partner, I get panic attacks, and my breathing ceases literally. I begin to sweat, and my heart starts to beat erratically, till Tomorrow. I can’t stand repeated calls.
My family members were not allowed to visit or call.

He isolated me completely. Only my elder sister wouldn’t leave me alone. She fought him to a standstill, till he had no choice but to bow to her coming over. At some point, they developed a respectful but distant relationship. Sis, I love you, Thank you. I know you did that for me. He was changing my SIM card every other month.

He was answering my calls, my male cousins all loved me, I was their paddy, most of them lived abroad, and he chased every one of them away, insulting them, calling them my boyfriends.

He got a pump action, was given rubber bullets, he used me as target practice, Every shot he aimed at me pushed me to the ground, and he’d mock me and say I wasn’t even strong😭.

He broke my leg, and my head, and tore a part of my body with an iron hanger. God!!
He was always womanising, clubbing and coming home in the mornings.

The first time I ran away, my godmother got Project Alert involved. They invited him and interviewed him, they asked him what I usually did that used to annoy him to the point where he’d brutalised me like this, was I rude? Insulting? Had he caught me cheating? He told them I was nothing but a good wife. That I love him, but it’s just that he has a bad temper, and usually just transfers his aggression to me.

Mrs Josephine Effah, was angry that day and asked me what I wanted to do, I remember him begging me not to leave him, so yes, I went back. Thank you Project Alert and Mrs Josephine Effah for the good you do.

I finally left after he strangled me one day and left the house, but for some reason, I remember I heard my son crying over my body and somehow I came to. That was the day I began to plan my escape.
My escape is a story for another day.

I wrote about my friend who doesn’t want to leave and me blocking her because she won’t leave. After all, I’m mad at her.
I was a rich man’s wife, driving expensive cars and living what people were thinking was a great life, yet I left. She’s the one feeding the house in her case and paying the bills still stays.

I was a student in my final year without a penny to my name when I left, I knew the transition to a meagre lifestyle would be hard, but my life was more important, I left.
My friend is in a time where our society is somewhat supporting and standing up for abused women, the time I left, the support wasn’t there like it is now.

My family were most supportive of my decision and for that, I thank them.
I’m in a Healthier and Happier place in my life.
I want any woman in an abusive marriage to realise this:
1. It won’t get better.


Claire Nnadi

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