Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1. How I Got the Courage 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.

"Moooommmmmy! I'm coooooooold" wailed Ada, my little 2 year-old daughter as she stood shivering in the bitingly cold, windy and foggy UK early morning.

"Let's go back in and sleep a little, please Mommy!" begged Obi, my 8 year old son, his voice muffled by my head-tie-turned-scarf.

"I'm really sorry, babies! We can't go back in. We have to be out of the church at 5:30 am or they won't let us back another time. Remember what I said about adventures? There are some really-hard parts and some super-exciting parts. This is one of the hard ones,ok? But I promise, it'll get better, please sweeties?" I tried to comfort them.

"Ok, mommy!" they chorused and instantly start to argue about something inconsequential like they almost always did.

I shook my head, fondly and thanked God for the millionth time at how resilient and easy to please kids were. Or maybe, God just blessed me with extra-special kids! As we sit huddled up at the bus-stop, all of our luggage (2 big boxes and 2 over-stuffed backpacks) strewn around us, I struggled to hold back tears of bitterness and regret at all the years I wasted with Emeka, my husband and father of my kids.

One of the most recent incidents, a few days before I left Nigeria, kind of shook me up a little bit. I had just left the cinema where I had gone to see "The Interns". I was bored and worried about the time (it was about a little past 7pm) so I left half-way through the movie. On my way out, I saw a former business prospect (I run a small fitness consultancy for women) and we made small talk for a few minutes before we hugged goodbye and I hurried to try to catch a cab.

As I waited impatiently outside the Leisure Mall , I decided to start walking home and catch any empty one. Plus I needed the air, I wasn't in a good place emotionally. Eventually, I walked all the way home. I was almost at our gate when suddenly, all hell broke loose. I thought I was about to be kidnapped or robbed and my reflexes are less than zero so I stood petrified, chanting "Blood of Jesus!"

Turned out to be only Emeka, my painfully-handsome but spitting-mad husband. He had been in the mall too (coincidence or not? hmm) and had seen me talking to the lady as we had hugged at the end. I didn’t even know he was in he building complex but apparently, he had driven behind me as I walked home and as soon as I got to the gate, he speeds up and screeches to a screaming halt, startling me.

Before I could react, he grabs me the throat, calling me a “perverted lesbian slut”, that how come when he tried to get me to sleep with a girl on his birthday, I cried rape but I was picking them up on my own. I tried to tell him I was just “counseling” someone referred to me by one of my “virtual” boot-campers. He was already past that point. He says,” I am going to end this tonight.”

He drags me kicking and screaming to the kitchen and asks me to pick out a knife, I begged him to forgive me but he takes the big, pointy one and drags me back to his bedroom. He then flung me on the floor, and put a foot on my throat to keep me still. I break loose and he grabs me and twists both my arms by the thumb and forefingers till the pain forced me to my knees. With his other hand , he loops the TV cord around my thigh so tightly I felt the rope cut into my skin. [picture left]

He starts on the other thigh but the door slams as my youngest sister and the kids return from fellowship. He quickly unties the cord and hides the knife.

"This isn't finished." He hisses, seconds before the kids burst in excitedly...

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 - I had been communicating with Oma over the past couple of weeks since a mutual FB friend introduced us. But even chatting with her over the phone did not prepare me for this section of her narrative. I quickly asked if she was exaggerating for dramatic purposes until she sent me that picture of her thigh.

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 myne@mynewhitman.com. We're trying to work as quickly as possible for the safety of Oma and her ability to keep her children.


  1. wow...i am speechless, but i am glad this issue of domestic violence is getting more attention.

  2. Horrible!!! Some men are just animals!

  3. I can't believe this!This is terrible.Is that what women go through?

  4. God, there are men like this? He's probably educated and all, wow!

  5. Jesus take the wheel! I have heard of slap or push, but this? This is how women lose their lives. I'm glad you were able to leave, so many women have died like this at their husband's hands.

  6. Indeed this is not love and I'm glad she isn't taking this lightly 'till death do them part.' Please choose you and your children first. I'm happy and commend you for your courage in speaking out. Some people will try to criticize you, call you an attention seeker- but get this: the more you speak up about domestic violence, the less toxic it becomes for you. I pray for healing for you, honestly! Chei!

  7. Oh God! Why?? Why?? Just because she said yes I would marry you to him?? Why are people this wicked? Is this marriage? Ahhh *sobbing*

    I'm so sorry. No one deserves this. No one.

  8. God of mercy and light!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Hi there! This article couldn't be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept preaching about this. I'll forward this information to him.

    Pretty sure he's going to have a good read. Thank you
    for sharing!

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