HOW I SURVIVED TEN YEARS OF PAIN AND HURT – BOLD & BEAUTIFUL

Guest Post: She went through hell… but came out on the other side bold and beautiful. Olusola Haastrup shares her story. 

Marriage should be a thing of joy and a dream come true for any single lady looking to settle down but mine was a Nightmare from day one. People asked why I stayed for ten years since the pain was as long as the marriage, all I did was give excuses for his monstrous cruelty.

Initially, I thought it was as a result of his Joblessness and I did everything within my capacity to help him secure a job. Luckily, he got a job paying better than mine. This never alleviated my pain but rather aggravated it. I was in the marriage praying for my life to be spared as each day passed. I made different attempts to quit the marriage but every move proved abortive. I was considering suicide at some point, but, the love for my children kept me on. My children were the reason all attempts to leave him failed because he was always abducting them each time I left and security agents would Not do anything since he is the father of the children. I will return to him after leaving; crawling and apologizing for leaving the house.

We were living in Ilesha then, on 24th March 2014, I left with my children and my credential after another round of severe beating. It started on the night of 23rd and while my pastor and his wife pleaded with him but he told them to take me away or else he will kill me overnight. My pastor hastily adhered to his advice and took me to their home. I slept there and in the morning I returned home because my children were with him. He continued with the beating and threatened to kill me. Fortunately for me, he got a call and left the house at that moment. I hurriedly packed my credentials, wore school uniforms for my children as if I was taking them to school. We took a bus and landed in Ibadan wearing bathroom slippers. I left all I ever worked for including landed property which he sold eventually.

I was able to secure a transfer from my office and he didn’t know where I and the children were. At work, I changed my name all in a bid to avoid being found by him. After a year he finally got to know where we were and he came looking for us. Afraid he would take the children away from me, I agreed to get back with him. I thought I would only have to endure him as a weekend husband since he worked out of town. Things turned for the worse, he came home one night threatening to kill me as usual. I had to hide somewhere within the compound, hoping he will get tired and go to bed. When he couldn’t find me, he started hitting the children against the wall and as he was about to throw the youngest off the balcony upstairs, my neighbors ran to our rescue and saved my two years old baby. The older two didn’t struggle with him because they were used to his abuse.

I found myself sleeping in police stations, uncompleted buildings, the frontage of locked shops at night while trying to escape from his beatings. On the 7th of January 2017, I left my house, after another round of beating with bruises all over my body.

A friend called to say “No pain No gain, if you want to stay alive you have to let go of these children”. I had to do something and so I decided to hide my children somewhere. I was wearing a hijab(headscarf) to cover my head and face so that he won’t spot me while I kept the children away from school for a term since he was using them as bait.

After a school term, I took them to boarding school; the youngest was only three years old then and it really broke my heart, but that was the only choice I had at the time. At that point, I was ready for war; I realized he was only leveraging on my weakness and timidity. One day, he came to my office and he asked for the children, I boldly asked him to sue me for keeping the children away from him. He went away and started begging.

I later went to court to file for divorce, a process that showed me how painful and slow the Nigerian judicial System could be. I later withdrew my children from the boarding school when I realized the coast was clear and I was strong enough to stand up to him. 

In all of these I am sure someone would be wondering what my offenses were to deserve the beatings, let me list them:

When he wanted me to borrow money from my friends and colleagues and they declined.
When my salary was delayed for like a week
He must not knock the door twice before I opened or else according to him I was trying to hide a man
My phone must not ring for too long when he calls
When I didn’t wash his shoes because I stayed late at work
When I refused to give him the children’s school fees
I bought a car which he claimed, so whenever the car had issues and I dIdn’t have money to fix it, then, I must be ready for another round of beating; mind you I was not allowed to learn driving let alone driving the car.
When I refused to apply for the third bank loan because he could not account for the first two loans I obtained for him even though he earns more than I do; to mention but a few.

Finally, I got my self-esteem back and I realized life could be beautiful. It’s all in the past now, I do tell myself every time that I AM BOLD, STRONG AND BEAUTIFUL. I now strongly believe that I can go places if only I see myself doing so. My children and I are one big happy family. Trust me: I am loving my life. I have risen above my hurt and pain and gladly facing the future with boldness and determination.

Abuse stops when you say so and stand up for yourself. Stop excusing your abuser! Do not wait until one of you gets killed!

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

What?! Physically Assaulting A Pregnant Woman?!

Photo Credit: Hellobeautiful.com

Some days ago I listened to the horrifying story of an eight months old pregnant woman who was killed by her husband! My mind could not simply process the senseless act of this man who killed his unborn child and wife. So tempers flared up during an argument or misunderstanding between the couple and the man gives her a fatal punch that led to bleeding. He refuses to take her for treatment in the hospital for whatever reason, maybe in ignorance. How does one even begin to explain and excuse such a behavior?

My Take on this matter:

I believe that this man has probably been physically abusing his wife for a while now. This is why he thought that like other times, he could hit and get away with it. Unfortunately, it ended badly! Thankfully he has been arrested and hopefully, justice will be served.

If you are a woman who has found yourself in an abusive relationship, do not keep explaining the actions of the man away and making excuses for him, GET OUT! It is unacceptable and dangerous behavior. Many ladies still courting a man think that they can change his bad behavior, sorry dear, it doesn’t work that way. People do not change that easily except they want to, it takes more than your loving efforts. Worse still you are putting your life on the line. So if you are still just in the dating stage of your relationship and you notice signs of violence in your partner such as a violent push; a slap, smashing of things when he is angry, then BREAK THAT RELATIONSHIP NOW! It is only going to get worse when he marries you.

And if you have already made a commitment of marriage and your spouse/partner is abusive, get help! Get family, counselor, your pastor or spiritual leader or anyone you trust involved. Do not keep quiet about the matter; this is not the time to follow that advice usually ingrained in the hearts of couples during wedding ceremonies, “Do not let a third party into your marriage”. The idea is to handle your business and conflicts without bringing in others who might escalate the conflict. Hmmmn…Abuse is a matter not to be handled in this manner, SPEAK UP and GET HELP.

Our Role as Family Members, Neighbors, and Friends

It is true that we would want the marriages of our loved ones and acquaintance to last, however, if someone comes to you with a recurring physical abuse then do not tell them to stay in there and weather the storm. This storm may end drowning such a person. Point such a person in the direction of where they can get help. As a neighbor report, any abuse going on in your neighborhood. It is not “poke nosing”; it is saving a life and you can do it discreetly if you do not want those concerned to know. Once my brother reported a neighbor who always beat his wife and the police came and arrested him. Thankfully also the young woman’s family also came in to take their sister and daughter.

A family friend also narrated how he had to wrestle his abusive neighbor to the ground, giving him a few punches to teach him a lesson. That was how the young man realized that he was hurting his wife and stopped his abusive actions. So you cannot afford to mind your business when it comes to physical abuse in your neighborhood. Think of it this way, if you were the one been hurt, would you want someone to step in to help you? I am sure you would.

Back to the Pregnant Woman issue

A pregnant woman is in a very delicate position while still carrying a baby. Pushing, slapping, harassing her is endangering two lives! This should never have to happen. If you are a man who is short-tempered, when your woman upsets you and you cannot control your feelings, please pick up your shirt and go somewhere else to cool off instead of doing what you will regret later.

Life is a gift; no one has the right to snuff that life out! Help protect mums and their unborn babies.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

There are No Real Winners in War – Dr. Denis Mukwege #2018NobelPeacePrize

Photo Credit: From the Film – The Man who Mends Women

This piece is written in honour of a man who has done so much to bring healing and hope to women who suffered sexual violence in war. Dr Denis Mukwege was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Nadia Murad. As I said in a previous post, The Possibility of ending Sexual Violence – Nadia Murad 

I could never hope to capture their pain, agony, struggles and tireless efforts at mending others and speaking up to get the international community and everyone in the world to end this war crime – Sexual violence/rape as a tool for war.

But I’d like to simply share their work and story briefly in the bid to say, “I salute your courage; thank you for giving yourself so others can live in a safer world”.

Why do humans engage in war? The very ancient reason centres around conquest of territories; power tussle; supremacy and control. At the heart of it all is man’s insatiable thirst for power and control of resources. A Yoruba saying states, “Ibere Ogun laa ri, ko seni mo ipari e”, meaning that one can only know how a war begins but no one knows how it will all end. This saying is usually quoted as a warning to control a conflict before it gets out of hand.
No one really wins a war because both sides suffer loss ranging from losing men, women and children; structural and economic destruction of their cities. Everyone will need to rebuild again often for many years and they may never fully recover from the effects and impact of the war. More worrisome are the emotional and psychological scars left on both the fighting men and civilian victims.

The Democratic Republic of Congo experienced great conflicts between soldiers and rebels which left the country terribly ravaged. The war lasted for decades and is referred to as the “The great African World War with the highest number of casualties since World War II. Sexual Violence was a weapon of War in eastern Congo for more than 20 years.

Those who suffered more are women and children who are beaten, raped and brutally treated by angry soldiers who use this physical assault as a weapon of war. Records show that in many war situations of various countries or communities sexual violence is increasingly been used as a weapon to inflict pain in war. After the war is over these women and girls are left battered emotionally and physically and even stigmatized by society. According to the findings of UN representative for Sexual Violence in conflict, Margot Wallstrom(2010) –  as a result of the war DRC was labelled the “Rape Capital” 

One man saw this need and decided to commit to providing support for these battered women. He is Dr Denis Mukwege who recently was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner alongside Nadia Murad.

A Glimpse of Dr Denis Mukwege’s life and work 

Denis Mukwege is a medical doctor, who has made it his life’s mission to mend women who are victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo war. Dr Denis was inspired to become a doctor when he accompanied his father who was a pastor to visit various sick people in communities. He then went on to study medicine and specialized in gynaecology and obstetrics with the desire to provide services for women who experience birth complications. Another serious need arose as war ravaged his dear country; many women, girls and children faced a wave of brutality as they were raped by soldiers and rebel warlords. It was during this high conflict period that he founded the Panzi hospital. It is located in Bukavu the eastern part of Congo and was officially opened in 1999 by Dr Denis Mukwege. Panzi hospital is known for support for sexual violence survivors. He and his staff have carried out a gynaecological repair for over 40, 000 thousand women who were sexual violence victims in the Congolese conflicts and war.

His life was once threatened as he faced assassination attempt because of his advocacy work in creating awareness about stopping this war crime – sexual violence and bringing to book perpetrators. Dr Denis had to flee his country for a while before returning but while he was away staff continued treating survivors. At the Panzi hospital, each rape survivor is accompanied by a social assistant who works to create a tailor-made healing pathway which includes repair, psychological, legal and economic intervention programs.

I  once again salute Dr Denis Mukwege for his courageous and sacrificial efforts in bringing healing to these women and for his continued effort in the fight for women’s rights. He sure deserves this award. I end with his response to the award on Twitter:

This Nobel Prize is a recognition of the suffering of women victims of rape and sexual violence; the need for a just reparation in their favour and the hope to draw a red line against the use of rape in armed conflict.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Rape Survivor – “You can Heal”.

At the TeensHubs seminar for adolescents which held recently in Ibadan, while waiting for my turn to speak to participants about the harmful effects and need to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM ), I listened to this heartbreaking yet happy ending story of a young lady who had volunteered for the event. Oluwafunmbi Adeoti was born in Kwara state.

Funmbi – Rape Survivor & Me after sharing her story with Adolescents at the seminar

While growing up she wanted to be loved and therefore sort for acceptance wherever she could find it. Unfortunately she fell into the wrong hands and got pregnant at age 16 after been raped. Not wanting her parents to find out Funmbi ran away from home and soon met her former physics teacher who was then lecturing at a University.

Desperately looking for answers and a way out of her predicament she shared her dilemma with this physics teacher. Instead of helping, he added salt to her injury by encouraging her to opt for abortion. Things took a worse turn as this man lied to her that abortion was a very painful procedure and in order to minimize her pain he had to sleep with her. Poor Funmbi, was taken advantage of by another adult who should have protected her. Eventually she did have the abortion but kept the pain to herself for eight years.

Somewhere down the road while still hurting Funmbi met people who drew her out and the first time she spoke about what she had gone through, she wept profusely. However it was the beginning of her healing journey.

Funmbi had to learn that it was not her fault that these rape incidences happened and had to learn forgiveness. It was tough but at some point Funmbi came to a decision; that “the remaining part of her life was going to become the best”. Now she boldly speaks about her experience and has this to say to other survivors –

Whatever you have gone through, you can heal”.

There are many rape survivors out there like Funmbi, who need to get a chance to heal. Reach out to someone today, you never can tell what that innocent looking face might be going through.

If you are a survivor please reach out; do not continue to suffer on in silence battling the monsters of the trauma of your experience.

Break the Culture of Silence; Speak Up! 

And parents please pay attention to your children. Initiate conversations about their sexuality and reproductive health early on in life. Befriend them and educate them about situations and people who could take advantage of them.

Statistics

42.2% females were raped before age 18 (C DC – Center for Disease Control).

29% of Male were raped before age 10.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Principal Producer (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

 

A Book…A Story #WorldBookDay

Books carry within them treasures that you dig for through reading
Readers are leaders
Books provide insight and knowledge required to make life easier
Readers are equipped with solutions to the world’s problems.
Books tell our stories… A window to how someone else pulled through a challenge and succeed.
Books bring light to our world

Today I met this lovely lady and author. Her name is Barrister Abiade Olawanle Abiola. She is passionate about Women’s Human rights; children’s rights and sexual and Gender-based Violence and alternative dispute resolutions.

Abiade was involved in a turbulent marriage that lasted a few years. As I chatted with her, she shared how she had to endure emotional, psychological, financial abuse. Often her ex-husband was in one money mess or the other and she had to keep going to the police station to bail him. This was very embarrassing and on top of that he also sexually abused.

One very interesting thing about the relationship with her ex-husband was that he never got physical/beat her. Instead, all that she had gone through made her become aggressive and she would get physical with him as she became more frustrated with all the bottled up emotion.

Abiade said she had to struggle to sponsor herself through school as her father decided that he wouldn’t get her beyond secondary school. Abiade looked forward to finding true love a happy marriage, unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.

When she couldn’t take the abuse any longer, Abiade walked out of that marriage. Today she can tell her story and is busy helping to intervene in ending Abuse in all its form. Abiade has finally been able to publish her story and her book is titled, “Abuse is Never Justified – Realities of Change”.

Abiade is the founder of “Human of Substance Empowerment Initiative”. She believes that she will not be the person she now is, were it not for her marriage experience.

I just got a copy of her book and I am looking forward to reading and drinking in all the details. Abiade intends to put back all money proceeds from the book back into her youth empowerment project. For her, it is all about changing lives for good.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Woman To Woman Talk #28 – What to Do When He Beats You

Romoke felt the blows crashing into her body in quick succession. She is not sure whether to cry out as a wave of pain hits her on all sides and she is not even sure which part of her body again. A few moments later the beating stops and Romoke crawls on her knees dragging herself on the floor, the pain won’t allow her to stand and on so she dragged herself to rest her back on the wall. Her children stood before her crying and saying “mummy sorry”. Romoke knew she had to get up maybe not for herself but for her children. She finally mustered all the strength she had left to rise and clean up herself. Blood was trickling down her face, there was a cut on her head. Romoke walked dizzily to the bathroom to wash; to wash off the pain.

Moments later she was out of the shower wearing a long sleeve to cover the bruises on her arm. Her swollen head and face stared at her in the mirror; the pain won’t go away; the memories of the blows descending on her body came rushing back. Romoke shuddered and wondered how long she would have to put up with this. She had reported Tunde to the police, he was arrested and released and the beating didn’t stop. She shared her dilemma with her siblings but no one wanted her to take the option of leaving. Yes, the meant good in their own way, they want her marriage to survive. Romoke is not sure what to do anymore but she wants the beating to stop; she wants to get out but how?

Again and again, we hear stories like this about another woman who is beaten to the point of bleeding by her spouse or lover. Some end up in real tragedy and never get out of such abusive relationship alive. I just heard another of such story of wife battery today and the woman is looking for a way of escape and help but the option of leaving him is not yet on the table. I am baffled at the fact that women still stay on in these abusive relationships and worst still family members placate her to endure and keep her marriage!

Candid Opinion

If you are been physically assaulted by your man, GET OUT OF THERE! Yes get out, find somewhere to stay. Do not keep getting beaten and hold onto hope that he will one day change. Get out and let him work on himself and change,that is if he ever changes.

Some women stay on in an abusive relationship because of so many reasons which include:

  1. What will people say – Wanting others to believe that your life is perfect.
  2. Not financially able to cope with meeting personal needs and probably that of her children if they have them.
  3. Believing that he will change.
  4. Too emotionally attached to the man

Once you know that the man you are dating can or has physically assaulted you in any way END THAT RELATIONSHIP!!!

Once the man you are married to is physically assaulting you have a PLAN B. Get a job, save some money in order to be able to take care of yourself when you may have to leave that relationship.

#International Women’s Day 2018 Loading- Theme: Improving the lives of Women everywhere, rural or Urban; the time is now

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Our World has Gone Mad!!! What can We Do About It?

Credits: Shutterstock

Some time ago a man was seen early in the morning when people were rushing to get to work carrying a little child who was kicking and crying. Everyone passed by as they went about their business but one man noticed and decided to challenge the man carrying the child. The man just dropped the child and ran. He had abducted that child as soon as her mum dropped her off at the school gate!

The world has become more complex as our once simpler and innocent way of life is a mixed bag of mistrust, horror, and chaos. We now want to satisfy our appetite at any cost. The syndrome of anything that makes me happy even when it hurts others. Selfishness and wickedness(forgive my strong language) is the picture that we see on our news screens every day. Sometimes even though I work with a media organization, I feel like shutting out the news headlines that evade the social media, TV, radio, and newspapers. This is because fellow human beings seem to craft and carry more terrible wicked schemes. Will this ever end?

Such news as that of the rape and murder of young Zainab Ansari In Pakistan is really disheartening. As I watched her picture on the placards of those protesting in her community, I couldn’t but feel an awful chill. One camera did catch her abductor on tape and the horror of it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. “You dare not trust your child even with a supposed trusted neighbor”, it didn’t use to be so! I thought to myself.

I remember as a child my parents could just leave us in the care of a friend or neighbor while running errands or on days they have a function we couldn’t accompany them on. They did not fear us being molested by anyone. In fact, as a child up to my teenage level, you were afraid of your mum or dad’s friends seeing you engaged in anything that your parents didn’t approve of. They will definitely make sure that your parents hear about it! Now neighbors, friends and even close family members abuse those in their care sexually to a point where organs are damaged or a life is lost!

I also remember times when I was sick as a teenager when our family doctor would examine me. My mother didn’t have to stay in the examining room and the doctor did not take advantage of me! Now I won’t dream of living my daughter or my son for that matter with a doctor alone especially if it has to with getting undressed to examine him/her.

My Advice on ways you can protect your child:

  • Don’t be careless. Walk with your child to school especially younger children.
  • Keep an eye on your children.
  • Stop living your child with just anyone. some of us parents even leave them with a lesson teacher and you go out doing your business… Haaa! I hear some even leave their house key with lesson teacher who sleeps in the house when such parents travel on business! Haaaaaa… Danger raises to power 100!!😱😱
  • Teach your child what to look out for in identifying predators.
  • Remind your child about the golden rule of not talking to strangers.
  • Stop minding your business if you notice something abnormal about an adult holding a child or a stranger taking away your neighbor’s children do Something!!!

Seriously parents pay attention, stop been in hurry to go about your tasks forgetting to take those little but safe precautions.

Every child has a right to life and protection

Adebisi Adetunji(c)

 

Blogging Plans on Femininematerz As the Year Kicks Off

Every new year heralds a new beginning. It is usually an opportunity to take a look at the past year’s achievements and plan to move forward.

I’d like to share my blogging plans with you so you will know what to expect:

  • I am bringing back the serial post on “Dear Diary… TBEE Writes”. It is a fiction and story of a typical Nigerian campus girl which started last year but my workload increased and I couldn’t just keep up. But a number of fans and readers who had been following the story keep asking me to continue. And so continue I must in order to put a smile on the faces of these fans 😀😀. Catch up on the last two episodes here :

Dear Diary – Something Terrible Happened on Campus… TBEE Writes #19

Dear Diary- The Soup Thief was Caught but a Threat is Underway… TBEE Writes #18

  • Woman to Woman Talk” series post where I basically have a frank chat with my female clan😀 also picks up again.

Woman to Woman Talk #23- She Won’t Let Them Do it

Woman to Woman Talk #22- She Poured Hot Water on the Other Woman in her Husband’s Life.

Other issues that falls in my passion groove that will feature on this page are:

  1. Speaking out about ending gender based violence and harmful practices(FGMC, domestic violence etc.)
  2. Wellbeing of Women, Girls and Children
  3. A peep into my life & world
  4. Motivation and Inspirational posts
  5. Community gists and news around the world as well

I intend to also throw in a few spontaneous and necessary posts. As we journey together this year on this blogging space, I hope we can have an engaging, intriguing and exciting time together!!!

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Njideka Ekuma Mbam: She Ran and Her Whole Community Had to Make A Decision

There are stories that you hear and it just gladens your heart in a warm way. And when something you were a part of contributes to the success of the story then you get a sense of fulfillment that you have made a difference in someone’s life. The telephone number featured on the FGMC sensitization radio drama “Pim Pim Pim” became a life line to people who attempted to get help for three girls on the run.

Njideka had listened to education talks about the negative effects of female genital mutilation and cutting also known as female circumcision on girls in school and in church. In her community girls must go through the rite of female circumcision to attain womanhood and soon the drums heralding her time to be cut began to sound.

A few days to her being circumcised Njideka ran to protect herself. Two other girls joined her. A series of event took place which finally lead to the IZZI community abandoning FGMC. Njideka is indeed a brave girl and a hero in the fight against a harmful cultural practice. Here is a short video telling her story and that of her community:

Adebisi Adetunji (C) BusyBee Media for Social Change & Development. Email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com twitter – @DebisiBusybee