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

4 thoughts on “Putting Him in My Shoes

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