I was back at Tito’s funeral.I had no idea how long my reverie lasted but when I came to, I was no longer sitting inside the church, half listening to the preacher, I was at Tito’s graveside, returning dust to dust. It all felt like a trance, the only real thing I felt was the solid frame of my darling husband holding me up, lest I fall and crash like a pack of cards. I looked around and saw family members, friends, colleagues, church members, neighbours—all heads hanging in grief, all wishing they could reverse the deed. I searched for a particular face but didn’t find who I was looking out for. The monster did not show up. Of course he dared not, cos I was about ready to dump him in the grave – right beside the woman he put there in the first place.
So, we buried Tito and she finally rested from the hardship that marked her brief married life. Lots of folks came around to pay their last respect and some expressed regret either for not paying enough attention to notice Tito’s predicament or for ignoring her plight and failing to come to her rescue. Though I tried my best to help, I was unable to help her stay alive. Lord knew I wished there was some kinda social welfare agency I could report to, who’d forcefully yank her from her husband and put her in my custody, but she was a consenting adult, wasn’t she? No one could forcefully remove her from dracula’s grips if she was willing to stay with him. I was enraged and I blamed the people who could have helped her make the right decision to get out and get help, yet condemned her to misery and eventual death by their excessive piousness. The stain of her blood is partly on them! The saddest thing, however, was that no amount of postmortem grief or regret or anger or blame could bring her back, she was gone and gone forever…
Back to earth! You didn’t think this was a true story, did you? Well, not so, I only took you on an imaginary ride. However, this fictional story bears every semblance to the real-life experiences of women who are victims of abusive relationships/marriages. I’ve mused over this issue again and again and I have a few things to say…
First, the title of this story reeks of DESPERATION! It was actually inspired by the same desperate statement Rachael made in Genesis 30:1, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Guess what, she got what she asked for – she had children but she also died! Hmm, be careful what you wish for! These days, many single ladies, in the face of desperation to be married, jump into relationships that are not worthwhile and like sheep being led to the slaughter, allow themselves into marriages that would be their eventual undoing. Most times, they know they are playing with fire but they would rather be burnt because they are desperate to fulfill the ‘societal obligation’ of getting married.
I have some questions, “Do we get married to fulfill societal obligation?” “Should we allow societal pressure push us till we fall headlong?” Who dictates when to get married – society or God?” “Does being single mean being unfulfilled? Does being single diminish or take away one’s dignity?”
Hmm, sometimes, this desperation in single ladies is fueled by seemingly ‘well meaning’ friends, colleagues, and family members. Knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, some of them make you feel less of yourself for being single. They subtly drop hints here and there to make you aware that they think ‘something is wrong with you’ for being single still. They say things that make you guilt-ladened for your decision to not settle for just anything or less than you deserve/desire. They contribute to the pressure that drives you up against the wall—they do it and they seem unaware of the havoc they are wrecking. I wish they would stop already!
At any rate, desperation to be ‘hooked’ (as is popularly tagged), whether self-induced or externally induced, will mostly lead one down a dangerous path of no return. One will actually get hooked – in the real and negative sense of it. I wish single ladies will learn to be more comfortable in their skin while patiently waiting for the time that is set by God to be.
My next bone of contention is the pious stance we take when a lady eventually finds herself a victim of spousal abuse/domestic violence. This, I believe, is responsible for a larger proportion of otherwise avoidable fatalities in abusive marriages. I am sure that even God, who is the author of marriage, is not cruel as to revel in the gruesome treatment of a woman in the hands of her husband. I do not think He is happy with it. Nah, I do not think He would prefer her to continue in such calamitous situation all in the name of marriage. So why do we often like to speak ‘as if on God’s behalf’ to condemn battered women to horrific living with our pious counsel-like-statements? “Divorce is not an option,” “God hates divorce,” “Marriage is for better for worse,” “You are a Christian, you can’t leave your husband,” “What you should do as a Christian is pray, pray, and pray,” “You can’t divorce ooo, you don’t want to end up in hell, do you?” “Marriage is not a bed of roses, you have to endure,” “The matrimonial home is a center for learning, you’re only going through a learning process, stay put and learn what you need to learn,” “Patience is a virtue, a Christian virtue for that matter. Just patiently endure, you will soon overcome,” “It’s shameful to wash your dirty linen in public, keep your affair between you and God, don’t publicise your predicament, don’t expose your husband,” “Check yourself, are you sure you are not the cause? Perhaps you are not satisfying your husband?” “A wife should submit to her husband. Maybe you are not submissive enough,” “It takes two to tango, you can’t be entirely blameless in this matter,” bla bla bla. All condemning sermons, no offer of practical help or solution! Will people just stop!!!!!
It’s no use regretting after death has claimed a life due to abuse. It’s no use crying over spilled milk after a life has been battered and maimed beyond repair. Let’s help victims of abuse make right decisions, instead of adding ‘insult to their injury.’
© 2014 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!