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..