A BITTERSWEET EXPERIENCE

By Queen Azeez

Ife is getting married. She has waited anxiously, ever since she realized what it meant to be a woman, for this day. Friends and family are present to rejoice with her. Appearing all decked up, she’s determined to finally say “yes I do” to the love of her life…for better for worse.

Months into the marriage, the joy of marital bliss has begun to fade away from her face. The meeky, delightful gentleman she has given her heart, has suddenly become a monster. At the slightest provocation, he flares up, nags at and molests her. He sometimes beats her to stupor, especially on days he is financially incapacitated. She can’t bear it anymore.

But he has a way of disrupting her thoughts of leaving. Pleas. He begins to beg her after he has abused her. He does that almost all the time. Each time she sees he is unremorseful, she swallows her pride and go to beg him. She believes he still loves her and she loves him too. She kept on telling herself, “he’ll change”. But now, she’s tired of begging this husband-turned-demon for molesting her. For how long will this continue? Is it because she’s a woman and he is stronger than she is? Because Ife is a weaker sex?

She wants to return to her father’s house, a father’s house is not supposed to scare a child, so the Yoruba say. But she can’t. He has warned her never to show up with her luggage in his house, as he has no room for a divorcee. He compares her with her siblings who hardly complained about their own marriages. He even threatens to disown her if she ever left her woman-beater husband. He can’t be a father to a divorcee. “What will the society say? Don’t you know it’s disgraceful?” He always say. And her mother keeps telling her to bear with him for the sake of her children, just like she had done in her father’s house for the sake of “us”. She keeps telling her he will change. But she knows he won’t. He had promised her he’ll change before marriage, but he hasn’t. Her mum keeps telling her “you-bear-with-anything-our-husband-does-to-you” sermon. She now regrets marrying him and for not taking action when she first noticed this demonic side of his.

By the way, why is she telling her this? To endure her husband’s domestic violence…just because he is a man? Because her parents can’t face the societal disgrace? Is it a sin?

Now she’s at a crossroad. Molestation from husband, repulsion from parents. This relationship is choking her already, yet she doesn’t want to be disowned by her father. She wants a break from this marital knot. She thinks it’s better not to seek revenge. She doesn’t want to end up being sentenced to death by hanging for killing her husband. She doesn’t want to stain her hands with marital blood…like recent cases. She knows she could become uncontrollable when she’s upset.That is why, whenever her husband beats her and she cried, she’d try to do something she loves to calm herself. Anytime she tries to talk back, it had always come with a sounding slap on the face.

People will end up saying she should have walked away when she noticed that her husband was being unfaithful. That she should have left before the issue took control of her emotions so much that it led to a brawl which took the life of her husband. She believes so, too. But how can she leave, when her parents are not willing to take her back in? How can she leave, when the society sees divorce as a curse that makes a divorcee woman an outcast, ineligible for seeking a better life?

She still asks herself why it is percieved as a sin for a widow to remarry and move on with life after the death of her husband. Why is a bereaved woman going out with another man several months after her late husband’s demise seen as a wicked and heartless wife? Whereas it is no sin for a man to take in another wife as widower few weeks after his wife’s death. Why is this?

The society says she can’t leave her woman-beater husband; yet, if he dies, she can’t move on to be happy again. Yet if the table were turned around, and she was the bad wife, his father would have ordered him to take in another wife. His mother would have asked him to jilt her, and the society would be expecting him to send her parking. This really unfair. Is it because she’s conceived as a weaker sex?

© Queen Azeez is an Arabic student and Campus Journalist, from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.

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