Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

My Name Is Hope, And I Survived (Graphic Content)

My name is hope, and I was a victim of brutal domestic abuse, I am telling my story simply to help millions of women who are still in such relationships, I do not tell this story to pull at your heart strings, or as a stereotype, but I tell this story to create awareness, to let people know that these things are happening, I have requested my real identity be kept a secret, because I am still in my transition process, am sure with time, I will be able to reveal my identity.

I was married for 9 years, and I have 2 kids, both girls, I endured abuse for 7 years of abuse out of those 9 years, my second child suffers from brain damage, because when I was 7 months pregnant with her, my ex-husband pushed me face first into a brick wall, pulled me to the ground and kicked me until I bled, he rushed me to the hospital, and the child was brought out immediately, she spent and additional 5mnonths in the incubator.

I don’t know why he did all he did to me, but all I know is he did all he did to me, and he has no remorse, and why should he have any? When we live in a country that really has no laws on things like this, or even regard women as humans or partners in the home.

He put me through hell, for 7 years, I cried, I begged, and even prayed for death, but none of those things helped me, rape was a norm for me, and at a point I would just close my eyes and wait until he was done, I stopped feeling anything for him, so I became a zombie, nothing I ever did made him happy, so I stopped trying and just kept doing what I did, it didn’t matter if the house was spotless or filthy, I still got the same reaction, beating me up was like a drug for him, I would see him restless for hours until he laid hands on me, then he would relax and even venture a smile.

If he got heat from work, he would unload on me, if he had money problems, you guessed it, somehow I would be the one wasting all his money, he beat me up for having girls, he beat me up for looking at him funny, he beat me up for singing or breathing, in short he beat me for being alive.

I reported him to the police several times, but the response was always the same, “madam, it is a family issue, and you need to work it out with your husband”.

I tried to leave several times, but just as I was about to leave, I would stop and look at my kids, I had nothing, no source of income, no place to go, nothing, and my second child required constant medical attention, and so with those thoughts I would shelve the idea of an escape and convince myself I was staying for my children.

What Changed?

On this faithful night, when he came home, he was not particularly angry, but I felt very uneasy, I knew a storm was brewing, so I just braced myself for the worst. Not long after I put the kids to sleep, he summoned me to his room, he was sitting on a stool, with a bottle of vodka in his hands, he ordered me to close the door and strip, well like I stated earlier, this was routine to me, so I just went through the motions, I took off all my clothes and proceeded to the bed, I knew the drill.

I lay on the bed and spread my legs, he took a long gulp and dropped the bottle, he took off the shorts and climbed on top of me, he spread my legs with so much aggression and proceeded to penetrate me, and suddenly he flew into a rage and hit me across the face, calling me a prostitute, he said I was giving my body out to other men so much, my body had gotten use to them, and this caused me not to get wet enough for him to penetrate, and in the process bruised himself, he never considered the pain I felt each time he penetrated me, it was like having a baby every time, the pain was so intense I would sit in hot water for hours just to get over the soreness.

He pulled me up, pulled out a belt and proceeded to beating me like a mule, he tied me to the chair and flogged me like I was some slave, I closed my eyes and bit my lip, so I wouldn’t scream, he called me all sorts of names, but one statement he made would change my life forever “you are a worthless being, you were born worthless, and you will dies worthless, I own you, and your forsaken children, you can’t even produce useful children, you are worse than an animal”. That night I decided enough was enough, he continued to flog me until his hands got weak, he kicked me out of his room naked and bleeding, I whispered a thank you, and walked into the bathroom, and for the first time in 7 years, I did not cry, that night I realized I needed to hear all that to wake me up, I suddenly realized that it couldn’t be as bad out there as it was in here, so I decided I was walking away with my girls, and I was not going to look back.

The next morning, after he left for work, I went into his room, searched and found some money, I packed light, and took the girls, and we left, I travelled back my home town, I had an aunty whom I knew from childhood and I hoped she was still alive, I guess the universe was on my side, because she was, when I got there, I narrated everything to her, she wept, and wept some more.

I left my girls with her, with a little money, she assured me some natural herbs would be used for my second daughter, I came back to town and got a job as cleaner at the cinema, it helps me keep a low profile, people usually don’t notice cleaners.

Long story short, I went through hell, I left because I realized I wasn’t worthless, I suddenly realized I wasn’t property to be owned, I realized I was of better use to my children alive than dead, I doubt if I would ever have a meaningful relationship with any other human, I seriously have trust issues, but I am here to tell you what no book, blog or psychiatrist will tell you, the decision to leave an abusive relationship lies totally in your hands, so decide now and decide fast.

My name is Hope and I survived.

By Arome Ameh

 

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One thought on “My Name Is Hope, And I Survived (Graphic Content)

  • Hi Hope, I’m so sorry to read about your horrendous ordeal. Thank goodness you were able to walk away from it eventually but it cannot have been easy for you. I sincerely hope you are receiving therapeutic intervention; recovery is possible, but it’s a long, hard road and I hope you have a good support network.
    What you wrote about the police sums up the underlying issue: in the home the laws that protected individuals at large from the evils of trauma quite simply did not apply! So at what point, I wonder, did violent assault, ABH, GBH and rape cease to be indictable (criminal) offences? The moment the front door closed on the ‘civilised’ world?
    Sadly, this criminal attitude means that inevitably there is a significant political agenda surrounding this issue meaning the authorities guilty of willful neglect and complacency will be very slow to accept responsibility and implement change.
    I wish you the very best of luck and strength in your recovery,
    Stay strong,
    RdC