Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Till death do us part? Please No

Prof sent me this 'letter' from the grave by an Ogochukwu Onuchukwu. The link is here.
First off, may her soul rest in peace, Amen, and if this were Nollywood, may her anguished spirit trouble her husband till he makes reparations at least starting with caring for their children.

It’s a pathetic story of domestic abuse. While this wasn’t physical abuse you can see how psychological/verbal abuse can be as damaging as a knife in the heart.
Her story also brings to light so many other issues in the larger society – 
  • the do or die attitude towards marriage by women (how many times must we discuss this?), 
  • domestic violence form extended family e.g. In-laws which is also rampant, 
  • Spousal inheritance and how wives are overlooked, 
  • Stigma attached to childlessness, 
  • Rejection of the girl-child, 
  • Rejection of imperfect children. 
 Ogochukwu sadly represents a large percentage of Nigerian women who think their worth is validated by the love of a man and childbirth. I think this is a most selfish self-absorbing preoccupation which adds no value to womankind.

International Women’s day was celebrated this month. A day we celebrate women who have made contributions to their society, to the world despite the limitations placed by their gender, environment.
e.g. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti is mother to Fela, Olikoye, Beko Ransome Kuti (all notable and illustrious sons), but when her biography is read, the first paragraph will be about her amazing achievements as a warrior and activist while her equally notable children will be mentioned in the second paragraph. Her bravery lives on in her children. They are what they are because they had a mother who showed them that they could do whatever they wanted to do. Not a mother who’s sun rose and set on their father.

In all her tears one thing stood clear. Ogochukwu had substituted love for self with love for Kevin. She had supplanted her desire for God’s love by her desire for her husband’s attention. That’s not real love. This mental conditioning, this mental subjugation, this self martyrdom has got to stop!
She didn’t say he threatened her not to leave ala Jennifer Lopez’s film ‘Enough’, rather I am wont to believe that if she had made the decision to leave, Kevin and his family would have given her a befitting farewell (tic), swept the house clean to welcome in a new wife.

I remember the character Crystal played by Kimberly Elise in For colored girls. Crystal was married to a former soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Distress syndrome. He abused her and the kids for months, years. But she stayed on trying to be a super hero. Hoping to change him through her loyalty/faithfulness prayer and love (pride disguised as love methinks). Then one day her husband threw the kids out of the window in his bid to hurt her. C’est la Vie.

As she mourned and sunk into depression, can you remember one of the chats she had with Phylicia wherein she was blamed for the loss of her kids. For not trying to leave? I read comment sections where people said Phylicia was wrong to say that. Too judgmental. You haven’t walked in her shoes etc etc.
Let’s be real here. If a stranger hit your kid, would you pat his head and say “it’s alright”? 
No, you’ll call the cops on him/her.
How about if the stranger slaps you and stomps on your feet. Would you say “Thank you and turn the other cheek? Well you might turn the other cheek then, but from that day on, you would wisely give him a wide berth for your safety (or you could tell your mean brothers to beat him up).
Why then would a woman put up with a husband-turned-stranger in her matrimonial home? If the man who professed love to me, worshipped the ground I walk on suddenly turns into an abusive stranger am I obliged to stay with him? Is that what for better, for worse is? I think not.
The self/marriage preservative thing to do/say is ‘Husband I still love you but you need anger management/drug rehabilitation etc CAUSE you are no longer the man I married’ and as you say that, you give him a wide berth and move out or at least plan towards that if incapacitated.

Let’s stop putting up with sh##t or encouraging our friends, daughters, sisters, brethren to put up with it in the name of marriage or ‘what will people say’ or worse ‘for financial benefits’.
If we do, then we should be ready to keep burying them young.

RIP Ogochukwu Onuchukwu and truly, may your life teach others what marriage isn’t.

Disclaimer – ‘I am aware that there are women who walk in these shoes who wish to leave but lack the means, the support etc etc. this is not for you. This is for those who can’t bear the thought of not being Mrs. Somebody. For those in abusive girlfriend/boyfriend relationships right now..who are eyeing the price (an engagement ring) instead of their future health. Them who have ears listen..

11 comments:

  1. I really want to comment but I don't know what to say really. Its a sad story but one filled with so much to learn from it. Domestic violence is a subject that is becoming a daily hearing and it's so sad. Some people (both men and women) tend not to see any wrong in abusing their fellow. It's just sad! However, I feel for marriage, it's more complicated than what most people say or think about it. I rest my case.

    - LDP

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  2. I read it on some other blog..Its just so sad..I will always say, I will forgive certain things in marriage but Domestic violence is something that I wont risk...

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  3. I totally agree with you my sister. I'm still mad at this woman's story & I still wana cry cos of her kids. Seriously, there is no award for most battered in heaven (@least I think not) & I'll say this again, women need to know when to hold, fold, walk away & run a la Kenny Rogers

    & did u say not physical? Didn't you read the part where he tied her up & used belt on her?

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  4. I like your disclaimer because in these situations, there are many issues mixed together so i am happy you clarified exactly what issue you were referring to. It is known that abuse affects the victim emotionally and mentally, can completely destroy their self esteem and leave them believing that they have no better options than what they are experiencing. But it is also true that Nigerian society encourages this do-or die attitude to marriage. And that is an attitude that i cannot wait to see the back of. Ogo's story is very sad but whoever put it out on the internet did a very brave thing because now we're all talking about these problems that are usually hidden out of sight.

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  5. Ahn ahn Ginger, she was physically abused o, lots of times. Tying her with rope and using belt on her? Threatening her with knife, not once?

    The sad part is that.... This will happen to another woman again. We don't learn

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  6. Yes! she was physically abused too. The pain in my heart now is for her children no one can look after those kids better than she would have.
    Its just a sad story, read a comment someone made on Linda's blog and said her mom was going through a similar situation if not worse but was afraid to leave the marriage for fear of being stigmatized, imagine!! May Ogo's gentle soul rest in peace and just like you said, I hope we are all reading and learning...

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  7. What a story! No one should have to go through all that abuse in any relationship. Sad really.

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  8. When you marry out of desperation you fail to see such obvious flaws.

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  9. This exactly has been my point...marriage should not be a do or die affair..

    Thanks for saying this, Bless your heart!

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  10. In fact!
    I especially love the part where you say our validation should not come from our husbands' approval of us, or our child giving. It should come from God. I tire for these sad experiences. Kai!

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