Thursday, October 10, 2013

10. It Was Tough, But I Was Finally Able to Leave - One Woman's Domestic Violence Story

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My name is Omalinze Okonkwo. I am a 33 year old Nigerian woman, who fled to the US to get away from a violently abusive husband/marriage. It had been hell, pretty much from day one of our 10 year marriage, with lots of hospitalizations and two separations in between. And it was ALL forms of abuse, from physical to emotional to psychological to mental to financial. This is the story of how I left, it was not and has not been easy, but I'm glad I'm free.

All that night that we were to leave the next day, I sat up, afraid, sleep far from me, I must have only nodded off at about 4:30am. At about 6am, I was awakened by the bedroom door slamming shut.

“Why are your wardrobe doors locked?” he demanded without ceremony.
“I think some of my stuff has been missing and I think it might be the TV guys so I locked them.”
“Well, they are gone now so come and open them.”
I shakily, said “Do you need something?” and he swung at me but I ducked clumsily.

He dragged me to the room, and forced me to open them. Then he asked where was my stuff because my wardrobe looked scanty. I said, I’d given most of them away as I was never going to wear them again. He glared steadily at me and appeared to consider my answer for a few minutes. I’d lost a lot of weight and my clothes were too big. But I’d left everything including my documents and my workout materials and my only set of jewelry because he was constantly going through my things so that must have calmed him a bit.

Not fully satisfied, he went to the kids’ rooms and opened their wardrobe and didn’t seem to notice the few missing things I’d packed because they had outgrown most of their clothes anyway so I hadn’t much to pack. Then, he looks around the room slowly and his eyes fall on my suitcases which I had left stacked out in the open for weeks but mixed with my visiting sisters’ which were kind of similar.

“Why are your suitcases out here?” I said they were my sister’s now as I had given them to her. However, he still sensed something saying… “Something is VERY wrong.”

I was petrified by then and when he tells me to get ready so we could drive to work to retrieve the passports, I knew I was dead. I shakily and silently got in to his car. Till this day, I don’t know what happened but about thirty minutes later he said, “ I’m late for my meeting. I’ll be at your office during the lunch break. Get out.”

That was all I needed. I jumped out, got on a bike and headed home.

I called my sister and asked her to dress the kids up. I threw our half-packed suitcases in my car and grabbed my jewelry and a few home appliances to make it look like I had found an apartment . I hugged my sister ,hurriedly with a promise to email her and and headed for the airport. Even though my flight was at 9pm, I hung around Ajao Estate which was about 40 minutes from the airport area till about 4pm then made ATM withdrawal at a fast food place because I knew he would track it . Hopefully, he would think I’d gotten a place in the area .

I was shaky, terrified that someone would see us at the airport and instructed my son to not smile or acknowledge anybody he knew because mummy didn’t want to talk to anyone. And as we were checked in, my heart beat a little faster till I thought my heart would explode. And I wasn't any less terrified when we got on the plane or during our 6 hour wait in Amman to transfer to the next leg of our journey. When we got to the UK, I called my brother again so I could go to his flat but his phone was disconnected.

After about 4 hours, I called an old friend Id met on my last trip over 5 years back and luckily, she was in town. She came and got me and the kids and took us to her terrace apartment (she was a retired nurse and on a disability leave so she had time). She insisted I stay as long as possible to rest . Apparently, I would scream out in the night while sleeping and she would come and watch me till I fell asleep. I was just beginning to relax until one day, my phone rang and it was him.

"You should know by now that I will ALWAYS find you." I hung up,shaking.

I immediately told her and we got in the car and drove to a shop where I sold my jewelry and swapped my phone. She loaned me the remainder of my air fare and I got on a plane to another city.Then I took the bus to the small town next to it.

After I'd called around and no shelter would take us, I got a BB and paid for 2 nights with the little money I had so the kids could rest and I'd figure something out. Two days later, the kids and I went to the doorstep of the church that I'd heard of during all of my many many online searches. They provide night shelter to homeless people where you have to sign in at a specific time each evening to get space. That is where we have been these past few weeks.

1. How I Got the Courage to Leave
2. How I Met my Abusive Husband
3. A Fatal Kind of Attraction
4. My Attempts to Leave or Separate
5. The Beginning of The Nightmare
6. How I Became A Different Person as an Abused Woman
7. The Red Flags I Overlooked Before my Abusive Marriage
8. Why I Kept Going Back To My Abusive Husband
9. When I Decided That I Will Not Die But Live
10. It Was Tough, But I Was Finally Able to Leave


Myne's note - October is Domestic Violence awareness month and Oma thinks this was a great time to share her story and reach out to other women for support and also to encourage others to speak out or take action. Names, Dates and Places have been changed to protect Oma and her children.

This is the end of the story and the current situation with Oma now, half on the streets and half in a homeless shelter. Oma is currently in need of help, financial and otherwise and if you're able to, please contact me at We're trying to work as quickly as possible for the safety of Oma and her ability to keep her children.


  1. Wow, glad I followed this to the end. I'm so happy for you that you were able to leave, and such a close call too! God id good. Amen. And he will provide you with your needs and people to help at this trying time.

  2. God has saved you. Thanks for speaking out so others can learn.

  3. so is she in the US or in the UK at the moment? the reason i'm asking is that if she were in the US, it'd be easier for me to help. i understand the need for discretion though. it is well. Nigerian society has failed women and yet patience is busy in Seoul accepting a silly award. for what?

    1. Oma is in the US and needs all the help she can get. Please send me an email. Thanks!

  4. Myne,I want to help.Is she still in a shelter?
    I have to stop judging asylum seekers.This lady obviously had no choice.

    1. Hi Anonymous, she is still in a shelter. Please email me for more details.

  5. Hello Myne. In her story, she says repeatedly that she went to the UK. But you keeping telling people that she's in the USA. Did she somehow manage to cross over into America. People are wary of online stories, even though they want to help in genuine circumstances, so please help us get thesstory right.

    1. my tots exactly and ajoa estate is 5-10mins from the airport not 40mins.

    2. Hi, I would advise that you help if you want to and leave the rest to God. If we all keep using microscopes to search out every fine detail before helping, her children may be taken from her before we come around saving her

    3. She said "Names, Dates and Places have been changed to protect Oma and her children."
      So Ajao estate could be Abuja.

  6. Dear Myne, thank you for sharing this Story and Tell Oma Thank You for having the courage to leave and Share her Story. I am currently a Single mum who chose not to marry the father of her child. The reason was because he had ALL these traces of a classic abusive man in this story Oma has shared.He was Emotionally, verbally and psychologically abusive,the only reason I don't think he hit me was because we were apart thru most of our relationship. Even though I got pregnant,I refused to marry him and till this day he tells me I'll regret it because his ego probably can't tolerate the fact that I said "No" but WTH,I'd rather be a single mum than be a dead wife. He seriously messed up my mind and Oma was right about the confusion, he made up so many lies and would tell them to anybody who would listen. He told me nobody would want me because "single girls never find husband finish,Is it After One like u that will find someone to marry"? My self-confidence was shattered. And he always hammered on the fact that a wife is supposed to be submissive and he always told me when he finds somebody better than me to marry,I'll wish I'd been more submissive and thrown my pride away for me to make my "home" work. His possessiveness knows no bounds n he always used to tell me we'd move to the country he lives in and when we get married,I should not have friends because they lead you astray(especially single friends). And the amazing part is that we were in a long distance relationship so he did this from Miles away! From another continent entirely. He would have his friends,family and strangers call and stalk me till I changed my number. I considered Killing myself soooo many times during my pregnancy and after childbirth. I was in shock and couldn't believe how I had gotten myself into such a mess. So many mornings I woke up thinking "I'm still alive, why didn't I die", that was how much torture I was in. For a long time I couldn't bear to look at sharp objects or knives because I started getting ideas of what to do to myself with it. At first my family believed him whenever he reported me to them n fabricated lies against me because they knew I could be stubborn n because I kept quiet about his issues. But the moment they started seeing the signs and the things he was doing to me the few times he was around, they rallied round me and gave me all the protection I needed. It is because I have a supportive family that I live to share a piece of my story. My child got me thru it too. And yes! Men like that are usually very handsome.
    I blame our failed Society that has raised such useless abusive men who think they can get away with anything because they're men. And Let's not forget our mothers who support their sons in beating abusive because they stayed in an abusive marriage or the ones that ask their daughters to keep "enduring" an abusive marriage. Shame on them!


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