She was broken. Her dreams and hopes in life were scattered, and all she ever aspired to was to be happy. A once loving soul was covered with the bitterness of scars. She tried to hide the pain, but everyone saw it. She lived a life of pretense, hoping that just one day, maybe everything will be alright. Every time she’d blame herself for not being the good housewife to the monster she called her husband, the father of her child.
Alcohol was his addiction; he would hit on her whenever he was under its seductive pull. She would cry out in pain, but no one could hear her. She often lay in anguish from the pain and bruises all over her face; she would tell herself, “things will get better, he just needs a little more time. He is a loving man, maybe I should not question or upset him, and we’ll be okay.” After using her body as a punching bag, he would apologize so profusely – with so much pain and anguish in his voice – that the part of her where hope was housed would forgive him and fervently believe it wouldn’t happen again. His apology was always, “it is the devil, my emotions overwhelmed me. You know I love you, hurting you hurts me too.” That supposedly excused all the emotional, physical and mental pain and abuse he put her through.
Over the years, the part of her that believed him died a slow and torturous death. She finally realized this monster was not changing. She shared her pain with her family and friends, begging for help, but they warned her that it was against their religion for a woman to divorce her husband. They told her that she’ll never get married again because letting the world into her marriage would scare other men away. Even her parents said:
“My child, you can not divorce your husband simply because he hits on you. Maybe he has a reason for hitting on you… What are you doing to provoke him? You know he’s the one caring for this family; do you want us to go back in the ghetto? Go back to your husband’s house and make amends.”
So, for the sake of her child and family, she would go back to the torture house she called her home. She had no voice in her own home. At the sight of the man she married, she shook with fear. She feared that one day, she might just give up; she feared for her life and she lost interest in everything she had ever loved. She was lost soul wandering because she felt the world was against her; with no one to run to and no place actually feels like home, she craved for a safe haven. She often dreamt of the day she’ll go to sleep without bruises, a day without pain being inflicted externally and internally – a day her yes would be her yes and no would mean no.
At night, her husband would molest her; after hitting all over her, he’d rip her clothes and have his way with her. In the presence of their child, she lived in hurt and shame. Every day was a movie for their neighbors because her monster created the scenes and they were the actors in the movie. He, the predator, while she was the prey. She could not stand up to the creature she married because it was against their tradition for a lady to stand up to her husband. When a woman does such, she is categorized as rude and not a good example to young girls growing up.
You know the marriage vow, “for better, for worse?” Well, there was no better in their relationship, and she began to realize that waiting for better was gradually draining her life. The worst part was how hard she had to try and cope with the labels her community created for her. All she ever wanted and prayed for was to marry a man who loves her, who would cherish and adore her; someone who would treat her like the queen she is and be happy that he has her in his life. But each passing day was a reminder that she married a living nightmare just to get her parents out of poverty. She was her parents’ only child, and they had hopes that she would be the one to change their lives. Although she was a first-rate Masters degree graduate, the economy was tough so she couldn’t get a well-paying job that could support her family. So, she married this man she loved and thought her life would forever be a fairytale but the first signs of that not materializing was when her husband felt intimidated by her level of education and turned her into a housewife.
But eventually, she realized that she needed to raise her child to be stronger than the woman she has become. She became cognizant of the dangers of raising a child in such an abusive home. She had to find a way to escape! She needed to ignore the negative gender stereotypes and stand up for herself. She knew she had to do it for her daughter, and all other women going through the same hell as she was.
This fateful day, her husband came home as usual and started ranting and raving simply because she didn’t telepathically know what he wanted to eat for dinner and make it for him. He was about to raise his fist to hit on his punching bag when something in her broke free, the lioness in her roared in anger, and the plate she held in her hands found its way to his head. He fell and started bleeding profusely. But you see, when you unleash a beast after keeping it in captivity, it doesn’t turn away after the first hit, it tries its claws on the hands that open the leash and tears it apart. So she removed his belt from on his body and, with so much rage, beat the living demon out of him. Leaving him helpless on the floor, she grabbed her child and ran for her life. The husband was rushed to the hospital by nosy neighbors and in time recovered. But she was free! She could not be caged again. She found out that the freedom and peace of mind were worth more than it cost to live in pain. Over the next couple of months, she filed for a divorce, and that’s how she was free from the monster she called her husband.
Featured Picture by SARAH BARNHAM