Putting Him in My Shoes

A man's belt
A man’s belt

Salewa and Poju (not real names) had been married for 5years. Looking at them from the outside, they looked happy but things were not what they seemed. Poju loved his wife and provided for her and his children but he had a bad temper. He just didn’t know how to be gentle. He threw temper tantrum every time something upset him especially at home. At first Salewa thought there was something she was doing wrong but after a while, she realized that her husband was just an unreasonable perfectionist. She knew it was impossible to meet his demands but she kept trying. Salewa rushes home from work during the week to make sure that dinner was ready by the time Poju arrived home. Their kids school homework had to also be attended to, plus she ensures that they had a shower and were smelling good by the time daddy arrived. The house must be sparkling clean. She did try but it’s only normal to have something out of order especially with little kids running around the house. Poju had refused to allow her hire a house-help yet the work load increased every day. As she prepared dinner again, she hoped that it would be a peaceful night for them all. Salewa felt unsafe in her own house yet she couldn’t share it with anyone. More questions about the bruises were coming her way but each time she blamed it on a fall. It wasn’t holding water anymore. Salewa was simply tired. Images of her kids wailing while their father’s belt rises and falls filled her again, she shuddered. Something had to give way and this time she had made up her mind, Salewa had a plan. Her back was against the wall but her mind was made up to damn the consequences of her plan.

Poju arrived home and as usual he was already angry that their gateman did not open the gate on time. He stormed into the living room with his briefcase. Salewa was waiting. She welcomed him with a loving kiss. Her perfume had an effect on Poju. He smiled at her after the kiss and said her smell was alluring. It was working, so Salewa told him that dinner was served and the meal was his best food. Poju believed that it was a promise of a great night of romance and sex. He was glad, so he went in to take a shower whistling before sitting at the table to enjoy his dinner. Salewa had ensured that the kids went to bed early. At the table Poju couldn’t take his eyes off his wife, she looked ravishing tonight. His meal went down quickly. They popped a wine bottle and somewhere in between Poju did manage to ask what they were celebrating. Salewa laughed lightly and said, “Just want to celebrate my king”, meaning her husband. Of course, Poju was all the more taken in and he drank more than his share. The stage was set for Salewa’s plan. She helped him up and off to the room they went with a promise of great romance but it was not to be. As soon as Poju landed in bed he dozed off, he was drunk. Sometime in the middle of the night he woke up and wanted to go to the toilet but he couldn’t stand up. He tried to struggle to get up but couldn’t. “Salewa”, he called out. “Right here my love”, she sat across him on a chair in the dark with the familiar belt. Salewa had tied Poju’s legs and hands. Poju realized that, and became afraid. He was right where she wanted him. She got up and began beating him with the belt continuously until all her pent up anger was spent. The pain of each belt stroke shut through Poju and for the first time he was in his wife’s shoes. He couldn’t cry out aloud for fear of having his kids coming into the room and seeing him in that condition. Finally Salewa’s plan was done and she knew that it was probably the end of their marriage. She broke down crying on the floor but Poju was still tied to the bed and that was how they were until morning.

You can guess what Poju would do in the morning, revenge? I was thinking some crazy retaliation…if Salewa would be around to get that, though, but…..that was the last time Poju ever raised his hands to beat his wife. He burnt the belt and asked her to forgive him and they both began to live happily ever after. This story sounds like a fairy tale but it did happen. I think it is one unusual case because many cases of spousal physical abuse have turned out in tragedy. And I must put in a word of CAUTION here: don’t try to deal with issue of abuse all alone. Speak out and get help. Salewa could have murdered her husband in bitterness and where does that leave her: In jail probably leaving their kids “parentless”.

Cases abound where continuous battery has led to the death of many women. Sadly too spousal abuse has ended many promising marriages/homes plus it breeds many traumatized and dysfunctional children that society has to deal with. How do we even begin to curb spousal abuse? It starts from the very beginning of a relationship. Choosing right, there is need to know how to recognize a person who might be prone to become abusive. It is not about your partner behaving properly you have to work on yourself. So if you have anger/temper issue work on it; get help on anger management.  You  might want to work on having an effective communication in your marriage. If you come from a home where violence was the order of the day then you might become a victim of your birth parents problems. Get help and deal with pent up issues and emotions. If your partner is physically abusing you DON’T HIDE IT – GET HELP.

By Adebisi Adetunji

Fatal Damage

children-protection
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I and a team went on a visit to a hospital to monitor and cover their antenatal/Prenatal care session for a maternal and child health radio programme we produce for broadcast. In a chat with the hospital management we listen to a heart breaking story of Folake (not real name) a 10yr old girl. She had being coming for check- up and will continue to do so probably for a long time. Folake’s medical condition was as a result of a “careless fatal mistake” her mother , Iya Laje (not real name) made. Iya Laje had a shop in her neighbourhood where she sells goods ranging from foodstuff to beverages, toiletries and other household goods. Her small business was thriving and many times she had to go to the market to replace sold goods while Folake her daughter was asked to Mann the shop. She was a sharp and brilliant 10yr old who could hold her own against customers who might want to cheat when buying goods. Folake could remember the price of every good in her mother’s shop. As always Iya Laje had to go to the market to purchase more goods, so on this faithful day she asked Folake to wait in the shop after she returned from school. Not long after her mother left Baba Yusuf(not real name), an elderly man who lived in their neighbourhood came to buy a few things. He came with a thousand Naira note and what he bought was worth One Hundred Naira. Folake didn’t have enough on her to cover the change and none of the other shop owners whom she approached had enough to borrow her to make up for the change. Baba Yusuf refused to leave his money to come back for the change later and Folake couldn’t afford to allow him take the goods away on credit. She insisted that her mother will not be happy to hear that a customer bought goods on credit and she had gotten whipped for doing this a few times in the past when the customer ends up refusing to pay. Baba Yusuf suddenly remembered that he had a hundred Naira note at home, so he asked Folake to accompany him to his house which was nearby to collect the money. She was relieved and immediately asked the woman next door to help her keep watch for a few minutes while she quickly collects the money from Baba Yusuf. That decision cost her, her innocence but how could she have known what was to come? He was elderly and everyone respected him in their neighbourhood. Unknown to Folake it was a trap. Baba Yusuf, raped little Folake. He was old enough to be her grandfather, at 60yrs old.
Folake was brought to the hospital bleeding seriously through her Virgina. She had a severe case of Virginal laceration with part of her genital organ detached. My team members vented their anger saying different things. Some said he should rot in a jail, some said he should be hanged; others said his penis should be chopped off. As a mother I felt like getting a gun to shoot Baba Yusuf, if i were to ever set my eyes on him. It was just so unthinkable and awful. We tried to find out if the family of Folake pressed charges against the culprit. Her family refused to press charges with the intention of protecting their daughter from public embarrassment; they also wanted to protect their family name. What is in a name when the bearer is already damaged? However when they found out how badly she was injured a new rage was steered up. Finally an Uncle of Folake surfaced and he had made up his mind to ensure that Baba Yusuf must face the wrath of the law. This process was still on at the time the story was been narrated to us.

A major challenge in the healing process of Folake was that the hospital was not equipped with necessary facility in order to repair her severe laceration properly and worse still her family can not afford to pay for a hospital that could fix it.  They were just managing to get by in spite of the seeming thriving small business of Iya Laje. So getting the needed repair was going to take a miracle of finding anyone who was willing to support them financially. It was a bit gladdening to know that hopefully Baba Yusuf will not add to the number of adults who defile children and get away with it. But my concern turned to the plight of little Folake, her doctors said her Virgina was badly damaged. She needed a cosmetic surgery. My heart was terribly broken with the fact that motherhood might be a challenge for her in the future. Many child rape culprits go unpunished because parents are too embarrassed to press charges. People who sexually abuse children referred to as Pedophiles are usually known adults such as relatives, parents and friends. These Pedophiles lure or force children to have sex and in the process leave damaging consequences, emotionally, psychologically, physically and heath wise.

What then can be done to protect children from sexual abuse? It will help to first know how to identify a Pedophile.  I’d say also vigilance of care givers such as parents, guardians and families. Have rules if a relative must come and leave with you. Teach your kids the basic rule of “boys and girls should have separate rooms: no using of bathroom at the same time by boys and girls, no sitting on Uncle so and so’s lap all the time; you have the right to say NO to any unwanted/uncomfortable touch; tell a trusted adult about any unwanted touch or sexual advance”. Sometimes sentiments have put children even more at risk of been raped/abused. It is time to stop shying away from giving your child sex education so they know what is safe and what is not safe. I also know that these abuse cases are under reported for fear of stigmatization. If more cases are reported and addressed by appropriate measures then perhaps kids like Folake, will be safer and perpetrators can be punished accordingly by law.

By Adebisi Adetunji

Impressions: The Paradox of Cosmetic Change

LOVE YOURSELF
workforthecausenottheapplause.com

I admired her from a distance. Rosemary(not real name) was cute, light in complexion and an average height woman. Everything she wore suited her.  She was what you would call a proper lady. When she had to speak to an audience, they were always held spell bound. Rosemary’s career took her across many countries. She represented the womenfolk and many looked up to her. Anytime she appeared or made an entry into a place her beautiful smile light up everywhere. Everything was going on well for Rosemary but a storm brood in her bosom. She had a secret fear; the fear of getting too old and loosing her husband’s attention. The desire to maintain the admiration of her audience; those who looked up to her and the desire to always be in shape consumed her. She wanted to be prim, proper and perfect. None of us who admired her knew what she was up to until one day, a day which started out on a bright note. I was at work when the news came. It was a breaking news…the news came that Rosemary was gone. She had left all her admirers including I in a terrible shock. Her fear and desire to look perfect ended her bright smile crushing the hope of many women whom she  mentored.  I was shaken but days later when news filtered in about the cause of her death my emotion flowed into disappointment, then anger and finally a sober reflection. Rosemary went to the table of a cosmetic surgeon but never made it through. Like many other women she wanted to  look better; she wanted to be perfect; she felt the need to shed something off or remould in order to maintain that perfect look.

The truth be told: None of us is perfect and none of us will ever be. But while you are on this side of life, live your life being a happy, contented and a satisfied person. It starts with loving yourself as you are though there is room for improvement but not necessarily through a “fatal” move for enhancement. Nature, i mean our biological make up has a cycle. There are different stages of your life and my life. As a child, teenager, middle age, older, aged…enjoy your life. If you were born with a small breast, celebrate the fact that your brazier’s size will not be scarce to get, plus the yard of cloth you’ll have to sew will be minimal(from the African perspective)…saves you money. And if you are endowed with a big breast, Great! Enjoy flaunting it nicely in whatever you wear as it gives you that very womanly shape…(Just trying to make you see the fun/humour in being yourself).

According to a report of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery  statistical data for 2014 cosmetic surgery: Women had more than 9.6million cosmetic procedures, which is 90% of the total as opposed to men with 10%- 1million. This means that more women opt for cosmetic surgery in order to enhance their physical appearance and beauty.  Plastic/Cosmetic surgery is a blessing that has come to help correct defects but how we choose to use it in modern day tends towards an attempt to cure our low self esteem; our attempt to look so perfect and make  others admire us. If you already don’t feel good about yourself don’t think a cosmetic surgery will cure it. There will always be something new to correct. In fact maintaining that cosmetic will cost you more money,time, bla…bla..bla. None of us is perfect and none of us will ever be. Be your own first admirer, be comfortable in your skin and i am not talking about colour or race.  It is about accepting and loving everything about you: Your gender, strength, weaknesses, height, shape etc. I am simply concerned about complications that can and sometimes arise doing a cosmetic surgery. So before you make that choice, be sure you are fully informed. You might want to  read up this article by Jenna Goudreau, The Hidden Dangers Of Cosmetic Surgery.

The miracle of plastic/cosmetic surgery has made it possible to change or reshape almost if not any part of one’s physique/body. Its intention is to repair or reconstruct a defect or simply to enhance appearance. When it comes to physical appearance and beauty women are more conscious of how they look. Looking good they say is good business and I’d say is serious business.I am for looking good but there is a difference between struggling to get others to love you and Loving yourself- You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Improve yourself through healthy and safe means.

Here is a few lines from my heart on how to love yourself:

Understand who you are

Find your strength and use it

Celebrate your victories

Don’t try to be somebody else, be you

Understand you are you, and you shouldn’t be somebody else, that’s your uniqueness.

You make the world beautiful just being you

Understand that God loves you unconditionally.

By Adebisi Adetunji

 

Too drunk to get her pregnant

Funny-Drunk-People-Picture-10
Typical drunk guy

“Women Protest for lack of men to make them Pregnant” – I came across this news article on my Facebook wall, and so i clicked on the link to read more about the story. It turned out that the men were actually available but are always too drunk to get their women pregnant. The story sounded funny that women could take to the street because their men have “killed all their fertile sperm” with too much alcohol in their blood stream. These women desperately wanted to become mothers.

This brings to mind the many African women who are blamed for their inability to give birth to children.  3months into a marriage, a wife begin to get stares and questions like,”how far”, meaning are you pregnant yet? By six months, the question becomes, “i hope everything is alright”. A number of women struggle to keep their marriage when the babies are not forthcoming as expected. In-laws begin to taunt such a woman, making life unbearable for her. Friends and family suggest that the man should marry another woman to  give him children. If the woman is lucky she may have the privileged knowledge of this, if she is not, she finds out at the man’s graveside. I remember the story of Susan (not real name). She and her husband battled for many years to have a baby but fate didn’t smile on her. Her husband died and all his family could think of was “their brothers property”. In their culture since Susan didn’t give birth to any child for her husband, she had no right to any inheritance. Susan’s in-laws left her with nothing, leaving behind an emptiness and a bitterness.

When a couple is having difficulty with having children both of them should look inwards to find out what actually needs fixing. Some men would even refuse to go for a fertility test,claiming that they are perfectly ok and capable of impregnating their wives.  Going for such a test as far as he is concerned is saying he is “impotent”. Another couple that i know comes to mind. They already had a child but it was taking too long for a second baby to come.  It spanned through 7yrs. All the while Funbi(Not real name) had been the one going for medical check and doing so many tests/procedure that even got her sick. After much insistence and appeal, the man, Aderopo(not real name) finally showed up at the hospital for a fertility test. It turned out that he had a serious case of low sperm count. Their doctor prescribed a treatment and the man seemed interested in trying out the plan. Soon afterwards he refused to take his medication and follow the treatment plan. Frustrated this Funbi had to report to a family member who prevailed on Aderopo. It was simply a case of his ego  refusing to accept that he was the one responsible for their  long wait. The good news was that the treatment worked and they had another baby. Imagine if Funbi didn’t have understanding in-laws.

A healthy life style is important to raising a family. Too much of anything is bad and this is no less for too much intake of alcohol whether by the woman or man. An Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr Patrick O’Brien , says: “Excessive alcohol lowers testosterone levels and sperm quality and quantity in men. It can also reduce libido, and cause impotence.”Too much drinking can greatly reduce a couple’s chances of conceiving, therefore a couple working at having babies should start with a life style change.

Photo credit: http://www.funnypica.com/top-33-funny-pictures-of-drunk-people/funny-drunk-people-picture-10/

By Adebisi Adetunji

 

Child Labour A risky business- A Radio Play

NO TO CHILD LABOUR
Children say no to child labour

A man insists on sending all his children to the city as house helps amidst the plea of his wife. All efforts to make  him see reason by his neighbour went on deaf ears. He had to pay a big price in the end. Have fun listening…only a click away on the link below.

//yourlisten.com/embed/html5?17360768

Celebrating and giving a voice to the African Child.

Photo Credit: jamnotforsale.tumblr.com

 

IMPRESSIONS

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Typical mother and daughter alone time (Private picture)

My eight year old daughter had a joke to tell me while I was undoing her old hair style in preparation for a new school week. The joke was about a teacher and her students. The teacher had asked them where they think God lived. Many of the kids said, He lived in heaven but one little girl had something different to say. The little girl said, God lived in the bathroom. Amused her teacher asked her why she believed so. Her response was, “Every morning I always hear my daddy say, Oh God why are you still in the bathroom?” I found it really funny and we both laughed about the joke. But as a mother I looked inwards and wondered what impression I am making on my daughter. Some Impressions last a life time.

Joke Credit: Explore Magazine…Beyond the classroom pg. 23, Vol 1. No 1

By Adebisi Adetunji