‘I am a survivor of VAW! I chose not to allow my abusive husband ruin my life.’
I am a young woman, a graduate of a highly reputable Nigerian University, legally married to my very educated husband since 2003, our union produced 3 children. While living together as husband and wife, our relationship was fraught with several emotional, physical and psychological abuses but I stayed on due to family and societal pressure that a wife should endure whatever abuses to ensure that she stays in her matrimonial home.
Several times, I visited the hospital because he beats me mercilessly, I get badly injured and for days I remained on admission. My husband wanted to live big despite the fact that his income was not commensurate with his desired life style. When I advised him against this, I always get the beating of my life. In defiance to my advice, he got himself fired when his employers discovered that he was helping himself with the company’s fund. The situation then became worse! My life was further threatened!
During this period, I applied and got a federal government kick off grant for entrepreneurs, I thought this was a blessing for the family and could help us to stabilize, while he gets a new job. But his ego was deflated; he couldn’t overcome the fact that I was now the sole provider for the home. He became more physically abusive!
Series of interventions by families and our religious leaders to ensure amicable reconciliation proved abortive, I ran to someone he respects so much, he called him for a meeting, advised him to stop beating me and rather encourage me, I went back, but he did not stop, the last straw was almost going to take my life, I ran out of the house to my parents place!
He then refused to allow me access to my children, he kept threatening my life. I can’t even visit my children in school nor see them. I was emotionally distressed, I was frustrated. A friend of mine gave me
Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) contacts, they are a group of female lawyers, protecting women’s rights through pro bono lawyering; I called WARDC help line 08180056401, spoke with them, they asked me to come to the office at 9b Oluleye Street, off Adeniyi Jones, Coco Bustop, Ikeja, Lagos.
They had discussions with my husband at my instance but later advised that the best option is to resort to the court to adjudicate on the matter. They asked for a protection order from the court for me under the Lagos State Prohibition of Domestic Violence Law, and also asked for custody of my children. My husband also got a lawyer for himself and appeared in court.
The court initially gave me an interim protection order and restrained him from coming to my parents’ house to threaten me or harassing and embarrassing me when I come to see my children in their school. The court later gave me custody of two of my children and unrestricted access to one of them! I moved on, concentrated on my job! Today, I am a survivor, celebrated for my creativity and was in 2015 selected by the President Obama Initiative Mandela Washington Young African Leaders 2015 Award and Business Entrepreneurship CEU Award.
My advice to other women during the 16 days Activism against VAW, Speak out and seek help!