Wednesday, October 9, 2013

5. The Beginning of The Nightmare - 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.

The abuse started with emotional abuse when we were about to get married . We had an unspoken agreement that we would get married and had started planning our traditional and church wedding around my 23rd birthday. I got a taste of his cruelty when I was at his place one weekend. Next thing, I knew, he was telling me that his mom had changed everything from the colors I had chosen down to who was to be on my train although we had previously finalized venue and general logistics.

I remember saying, “Please explain". His response was, “There’s nothing to explain. My mom has chosen and that's that.” I objected and he got up and walked out. When he came back late in the night, he didn't say a word to me for the entire weekend. He wouldn't look at me or touch me. All he did was watch TV or make wedding preparations with his mom or discuss me with her on the phone while I sat in tearful silence.

This sort of behavior became normal for us. It was so bad that I and my friends had to fast for the entire week so that he would be in a good mood. On the day of my traditional, his mom was upset to see that I hadn't done my hair and dress according to her directives. So, she went crying to her son saying that I had disrespected her and my punishment began.

He didn't speak to me except when people were watching. And his mom and her friends/cousins all joined together in the cold war all throughout the entire ceremony. I was inconsolable as I was about to leave with him but people thought it was the expected "traditional crying” of a new bride leaving her father’s house. And true to form, he and his entire family did not utter a word to me throughout the mandatory three-day stay at his village.

I wept all through and so did my cousin who accompanied me. Eventually, on the day I was to leave, I was summoned to the living room where himself, his mom and elderly aunties had gathered for a "meeting". These meetings were to become a normal occurrence throughout my marriage. I was accused of disrespecting his mom and invariably his aunties. I knelt through the entire ordeal and was made to apologize on my knees to each of them and finally my husband. That was how I began my life as a married woman.

Pretty much the same thing happened during the church wedding. I had much let them have their way with planning the wedding but I insisted on getting my hair done at my hairstylist .As usual, he got upset that I disobeyed him and was so livid he almost attacked my hairdresser. Because he had threatened to deal with me if I was late, I had rushed to the church without a drop of make-up.

He gave me the cold shoulder throughout the ceremony and was even screaming at me just before the reception, when my friend tried to put on some make-up for me. On our wedding night, the stony silence continued and only ended the following day at yet another panel with me apologizing to over six people on my knees.

The stony silences gradually worsened to verbal abuse. A year later, when I was six months pregnant, things got physical. I hadn't been sleeping well and we had guests that kept me up at night with loud music and laughter. So, after many days of sleepless nights, I decided to go to my friend, Uzo’s house to nap for a bit. I had told him the night before so imagine my surprise when he sprung up, shouting "Where do you think you are going?" and knocked my bag to the floor as I tell him bye.

I stare open-mouthed at him then bent to pick up my bag; I told him where I was headed. He retorted that I wasn't going anywhere and as I opened my mouth to ask why, he slapped me so hard I flew across the kitchen. As I screamed and ran into the dining room locking the door, he kicked down the door and hauled me kicking and screaming back to our bedroom, saying he was going to teach me to "obey without question". He threw me on the bed, tore off my clothes and started to hit me.

All I could think of was my baby so I tried to protect my stomach the best I could. He only stopped when someone (I don't know if it was the guest or the neighbours) burst in, pulled him off me and threw a blanket over my whimpering, naked pregnant form. I stayed that way for hours, unable to understand what had just happened. Later that night, he came to me, crying.

From that day, each “punishment" was worse than the previous. And he always apologized with expensive gifts and sweet, tender love-making. After a while, the gifts stopped coming and the beatings more dangerous. I was in love with this man but he was slowly killing me.

That first day he beat me, he had bought a set of yellow, white and rose-gold bangles and a bottle of my favorite yoghurt. As he cried, apologizing, I started crying again asking him over and over again "Ike, so you hit me?” He kept saying he was sorry and that he didn't know what came over him. He was actually extremely tender as he cleaned me up with a wet wash-cloth and held me till I fell asleep. For a few days after, he was sweet and charming and attentive but before the week was up, he went back to being cruel.

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.

Over the next few days, you'll read more of Oma's story. Names, Dates and Places have been changed to protect Oma and her children. 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. Been following this story. Very pathetic! I feel very upset.

  2. Ladies, there is something I know, however a man treats you when you are still courting, that's as good as it will ever get while you are married. I am married so I know, its unfortunate that the author did not take the red flags seriously while she was yet to be married to this man. His mum upsetting your wedding plans, and his allowing it, having to fast for him to be in a good mood, its usually the bride who throws tantrums during wedding planning, and the man has to bend to her choices. His family is even abusive, treating you like crap for the three days you were with them, babe that was enough to send you running. Anyway, what is done, is done, I hope unmarried ladies will learn from this, don't ignore abusive behaviour while dating, I really feel sorry for the author. in the words of Maya Angelou- "if a person shows you who they are the first time, believe them"

    1. You are so right! Unfortunately many of us process things differently and those who do not have a good example of what a true mature love should look and feel like, will take anything that comes along.

      Sometimes we women convince ourselves that if we don't take this one proposal no other may be forthcoming, so we run with it to escape the dreaded state of singledom. I hope that the the young and inexperienced who visit this blog will gain wisdom and discernment from these stories. Truly, no matter what stage of life we are in, we should all keep praying for wisdom and discernment, because just a drop of each will protect us from a lifetime of sorrows.

    2. Above poster,u r right.The fear of being single is the beginning of eating crap.

  3. my dear your story is so touchy. I now don't regret standing up to my inlaws even though i feel bad at times that none of my inlaws are my friend reading your story makes me ve no regrets. After picking colors for my trad the mom went behind collected money from her son and bought our trad clothes diff color from what i wanted when i asked for money for lace u can imagine d rude shock when he told me mom already collected money for that called her and she told me to come pick up my own lace in the state where she resides, during church wedding she sent her nieces to collect d money my friends where picking, whenever she came to visit and my husband comes home from work she will come into the room and ask me to excuse them then she will call her daughter who was staying with us the will stay in the room and talk for hours, she even had spare keys to my house and never announced her arrival. After one year of praying and tolerating i called them to order, changed my lock without notifying any of them brought my bitchy cousin to live with us silently dished each of them plate of what the deserved now everyone know their boundaries.At least most importantly i and my husband are closer than ever and we have peace in our home.

  4. if a person shows you who they are the first time, believe them" - Maya Angelou

    This says it all.

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