By Kola Peters Dopamu
The man burst into my office, in obvious fit of rage demanding to see me. I was rudely awoken from my deep thought and demanded to know why the man would breach normal protocol.
The man immediately introduced himself and without further ado he said he wanted to divorce his wife. As a lawyer, I am obliged to counsel intending divorcees and dissuade them from going ahead with the decision. This I do by giving a prohibitive bill that should scare them away.
When the man insisted on going ahead i asked him the reason why he wanted to divorce his wife but the man would not volunteer one reason. I became more curious particularly when the man was willing to pay the bill I gave him.
I asked him if their children were old enough or they had an adult living with them. The reason being to get further information from other close family members. The man answered that their children were rather too young but they had a house help in the house. So, I asked the man to call the house help to come to our office and he did.
Not long after the house help was ushered into the inner office where the man and I were. I insisted I wanted to talk to the house help alone so I demanded that the man excused us and he did. The house help, with little prompting from me and without much thought began his narrative.
“Sir, my Madam dey beat Oga too much. Everyday, my Madam go slap my Oga. If my Oga wan comot and Madam say make hin no go if Oga try to go, my Madam go start to dey beat am”.
So I called the man and asked him to confirm if that was the reason why he wanted a divorce and he said an emphatic Yes! My Jesus mind told me that there was more to the beating than I have heard. So I requested for the mobile number of the wife.
After collecting the wife’s number I told the man to go and make deposit of at least half of the bill given to him. The man departed my office and looked a little more relaxed than when he came in. Not long after he left i dialled the number demanding to speak with the woman.
The voice on the other side was so pleasant in contrast with the picture of a brute that the husband painted. For a brief moment I thought I dialled a wrong number but a firm confirmation of the name assured me that I was speaking with the right person. I introduced myself as a lawyer and that her husband came to our office to hire our service to initiate a divorce proceeding against her. She gave me a short but hysterical laughter and said “Oga Lawyer, I have been waiting for this call for a long time. I am indeed not surprised that he wants a divorce”.
I had thought I would invite her for a chat in our office but I couldn’t hold it any longer so I asked her the one million Dollar question, Do you beat your husband?
The woman answered in a defiant but affirmative way. I was a little confused. By the way, the man we are talking about here is not a small man, physically speaking. He is strictly built and about 5.9 meters tall. This is an average built of a man. He looked strong and capable of lifting 50kg objects. On the contrary, the woman appeared very frail and pale. She spoke little and almost taciturn. I couldn’t wrap it round my head how this frail looking woman could beat the this roly-poly man!
I asked her again! This time paying attention to her demeanour. As a lawyer, it is part of our job to study our subjects and make deductive reasoning. Without batting an eyelid she said to me almost unabashedly, “Sir, I beat him and I have no regret doing it”.
I became more confused and may be flustered! I asked her if she had a magic power she used. She said No. It was raw energy. (Fear began to catch me too🤣🤣🤣🤣) I reached to my refrigerator and gave her a bottle of cold water and waited to see the effect.
This woman pushed the glass cup provided aside, opened the plastic bottle and in one gulp guzzled the water. I gave her few minutes to allow the water complete its course in her body.
Suddenly, this woman started crying. Weeping and whimpering like a baby. I stood up from my seat and moved behind her, while offering her serviette paper. She took it from me and wiped her face with it. She appeared to have regained her composure! Obviously she had a story to tell. I was more than curious!
The woman sat back and as if reminiscing shook her head few times and took a deep breath inhaling and exhaling loudly as she did so.
She cleared her throat and began to let out words that has helped me to understand, at least a little more, the foolishness in the heart of mankind.
She began: “Sir, this began several years before I got married to my husband. I was brought up to respect older people. I saw the way my mother reverend my mother. It was a lordship or if you would, a suzerain or vassal kind of relationship. My father in return treated my mother like a royalty. According her all respect and regard. My father doted on my mother and would go extra length to ensure that she had maximum comfort. I was perspective! Looking forward to give my husband the same treatment. I was not prepared to rebel. I just wanted to be a good wife to my husband and a good mother to our children. The vision I had for marriage was utopian”.
“Unfortunately for me the first and only boyfriend that i had before my marriage was very abusive. At the slightest provocation he will deal several blows on me. On many occasions he beat me blue and black but I was too ashamed to talk. I was never going to challenge him. In fact, I foolishly thought he beat me because he loved me.”
“One day, after one of those bashing I was standing outside the gate of my boyfriend’s house somenly brooding over my life when this lady whom I has seen several times before but never exchanged words approached me and greeted me. I waa too much in pain to answer audibly so I merely nodded my head in response. She came closer and held my hands and told me her story which was equally pathetic, if not more than my case. She narrated to me how her husband used to beat her mercilessly for nothing. How she was advised to continue to endure because of her children. And how she heeded the advice until one day, what seemed like a pleasant afternoon gradually turned into a sordid and brutal afternoon for her;
“How her husband flew into a rage because she had the effrontery, insolence or impertinence to reply him somehow. He began first by pummeling her and later threw the cup of hot tea he was drinking at her. The cup and the hot content fell on her head and she immediately passed out and only woke up three days after to find herself on the hospital bad. The man, of course, became remorseful and was by her bedside when she came to.”
*”It was the nurse that treated her that advised her to run for dear lives as she only survived the incident by sheer grace of God. That many like that had died “protecting their marriage”. Abusive relationships are not to be encouraged or tolerated was the pith and gravamen of the advice”*
*”At this point, I was even more curious and I prodded her to continue her story”*
*”She paused for a few seconds and continued her narrative.”*
*”After listening to the woman I immediately made up my mind to end my relationship with my boyfriend. So, I went back inside and packed the few things I had in the apartment and made to go out. He didn’t believe I had the courage to leave so he was watching me as I exited the apartment. I made up my mind since that day that I will never allow any man to abuse me whether physically or emotionally”*
*”My boyfriend came begging several times promising never to hurt me again but I was done with him. I was not only done with him I made up my mind never to allow my future husband to beat me or humiliate me in any way.”*
*”To underscore my resolution I decided to find a way of protecting myself. I decided to join a karate club. I painstakingly went through the process until I became a black belt holder. I could hold my own anywhere and anytime against any man.”*
She continued her narrative and you could almost feel the apprehension she had about marriage at this point in her life. It was palpable!
She reclined herself on the soft couch and went on. She said she made up her mind that her future husband would not treat her like thrash and would not lay a finger on her.
It was therefore with great efforts that my client was able to convince her to marry him.
Without telling him about the previous beastly and unpleasant experience and her expertise in karate, she laid down what she consider the rules of engagement. These rules, the totality of which bordered on no-violence to her person whether physically or mentally. All these terms were readily agreed by my client and shortly after that they got married in a popular Pentecostal church they both attended. Of course, the usual admonitions to the wedded couple were given by the Parsons!
She went further and stated that not long after the marriage she discovered that her husband had short fuse and was a narcissist.
It was too difficult for her and she was beginning to regret agreeing to tie the nuptial cord with the man. But at least, he wasn’t beating her yet! So her hope hung on this thread.
That thinny thread broke shortly after. One day, as the man was getting ready to leave for office he asked her for a particular shirt but she said she did not know where it was.
The man flew into a rage pouring unptintable expletives on her. The next thing she heard was a “dirty slap” on her face with a stern warning that by the time he got back from work the shirt must not only be found but must be iron pressed.
After the man left she was greatly depressed but fortunately for her she found the shirt in the travelling bag he used recently and quickly washed it and did as she was instructed.
The man perhaps became sober when he got to the office, so he called her and promised that it would not happen again.
The man continued in his garrulous manner and continued to treat the woman with disdain and contempt. She constantly reminded him of his avowals and undertakings. But the man would not care.
So, it happened again. A non issue, mere bagatelle or what you could call a minutiae is what caused this man to remove his belt from his trousers and whipping this woman like a horse.
She was hurt. She was angry and she was vexed in her spirit. One mind was telling her to revolt another man was telling her to take a chill pill. She chose to follow the last mind.
As usual, after the battering the man came begging apologising for his transgression and violation of her person. She took the apologies with a pinch of salt but agreed with himself to give him another chance. She knew that would be the last chance whatsoever.
All appeared to be going fine. But then that is the pattern. Our man was quick to revert to his old way.
On a Sunday morning. By the way both parties were members of a popular Pentecostal church and served in the local assembly as deacons. They were both highly respected by the brethren. Their opinions were highly respected. The woman had done everything to help in covering all the atrocities committed by the brother.
So, on this particular Sunday
They were getting ready to go to church. The man came out from the bedroom and demanded, in his guttural voice that
they all must proceed to church immediately.
The woman, in trepidation came out of the bedroom, half dressed or if you would, half naked. She tried to offer an explanation to him the reason for the delay. While she was trying to gain her composure the man came after her and raised his hand in a wicked attempt to beat her.
In a commando style the woman caught the hand mid air and twisted it violently. The man gave a shrill sound. More out of bewilderment than the pain it brought.
The woman was unrelenting in her grip. She pushed the man to the ground and as he was going down she used her left knee to break the fall at an obtuse angle. Thereby giving the man a sharp contact with the knee.
The man was in a state of confusion and perplexity mixed with the sharp ankle pain. He couldn’t believe he had just been brought down by the woman he had been bullying for over one year.
He struggled to break free but the grip was too tight. He uttered some incomprehensible gibberish but it also went into trash.
The woman twisted the arm more and more with both hands and used her body weight to press the man down.
She quipped *”Will you ever attempt to beat me again or harass me”*. The pride in him wouldn’t allow him to say No. So she continued to twist his arm more and more. When the pain became excruciating and unbearable he started pleading for mercy. The woman in further humiliation of the man took hold of a bottle of water that was on the centre table and emptied the content on the man. She loosened her grip on him and left him in the throes of discomfort.
When he was eventually free he made a feeble attempt at hitting the woman but his hand had become numb that he couldn’t raise it up.
That was the beginning of the journey into humiliation and had continued for Close to 6 years afterward.
After narrating her story I asked the man if the story told by the woman was true. The man dejectedly answered in the affirmative.
So, who do we blame? Is it the woman who became a lord and master over her husband because of her experience in the hands of abusive men or is it the man who turned herself into a bully?
In my usual manner I took time to counsel the parties.
I asked either of them if they still love each other and the both answered positively.
The woman promised never to beat the man only on the condition that he would never raise a finger on her. The man acquiesced to the demand and both parties departed in one peace.
The man paid my fees sha o😝😝😝😝😝😝😝😝🥰🥰