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THE DARK GLASSES




She wore them today. She could feel the stares of strangers as she walked into the room. She did not mind that they probably thought she was making the wrong fashion statement. She'd rather have them think that, than know the truth. These glasses she wore, occasionally, covered a horrible truth.
If she dared to remove them now, these strangers would cringe at the sight they concealed. One eye was swollen shut while the other had some nasty bruises around it. He was usually careful not to mark her.
Her dark skin would bear no marks if he wrapped his hands around her throat and squeezed till she thought that she would die.
A shove to the floor would leave no visible dirt on her body after she took a shower.
A visit to the doctor's for a sprained ankle could be explained away as the result of a fall down the stairs.


You see, they are the perfect couple so no one would believe what truly happened behind their closed doors. He was attentive and very courteous to her in public. Not one of his friends suspected the monster he, very frequently, became at home. She was a physically and emotionally abused woman.
"Yes, my husband is violent towards me," she thought to herself now. She wished she had the courage to shout it to the roof tops. But she didn't. She quietly collected her money from the teller and left the bank.
“He's very sorry now,” she thought, as she opened the door of her car. “He even cried last night as he promised that it would never happen again. But that had been his promise the last time too. Maybe, his tears mean that he’s tired of the madness and would actually change.”
Last night, for the first time, she had fought back. She had been so enraged that she had even bitten him very hard, on the arm he had tried to squeeze her neck with. She had scratched away at any part of him that she could and had told him over and over again that she would never be his passive victim again. She had felt like a tigress. Of course, he was stronger so he had done the most harm but she could sense his profound shock. The battle had been over sooner than usual. She had felt good with herself till she had looked around. Their six-year old son had stood at the door of the living room where they had just fought. She hadn't heard him leave the room he shared with his brother and sister. There had been tears rolling down his face. She had brought her hands to her mouth, distraught. The little boy had turned on his heels and walked away. She had called out to him but he had ignored her and gone back to his room.


She and her husband had cried together, at this point. It had brought back to him those dark years of his own childhood when his father had hit his mother. He had cried then, just as his son had also done last night. His father had hit him too but the tears he had shed for his mother had been more. Soon, he had grown bigger and had been able to stand up to his father. The beatings had stopped then.
"How did I become that same monster?" he had asked himself. He had always fought certain demons. Sometimes, his rages were fueled by alcohol and other times, by very silly reasons. He always seemed to have a mad waiting to erupt. No one but his immediate family knew that, though. He always tried to stop himself from hitting his wife but constantly found himself losing the battle to those demons.
"She is a good woman, this wife of mine," he had thought last night. "Despite all we've been through, I know she still loves me very much and I love her a lot too. So, why do I inflict this kind of pain on her?" While he apologized, they had both cried.


Her mother told her that every marriage had its peculiar challenges. "Your father never raised his hand to me but he wasn't a saint, you know."
His mother told her that he would grow out of it eventually. "Moreover, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.
His father told her to be more careful when speaking to him. "You women have a way of bringing out the worst in us with your mouths."
Her father had died a long time ago. She wondered all the time if he would have been the one to fight for her had he been alive, still.


Today, despite the threats she made last night, she knew that she'd never fight him again. Both their mothers said this kind of marriage was 'more normal than she thought'. However, she didn't want to live her life, afraid, and waiting for the next rain of blows to come. She would leave him if he ever hit her again. Of course, she had promised herself this before. But, that was before her first-born child had witnessed their fight.
She vowed to take the right steps in ending this cycle of violence. She would pray for her husband. She would pray for herself. She will pray for all of them. But, she will do more than that. That evil seed that had been sown in her little boy's mind would never be allowed to germinate.


She would go home and sleep. In a few days, the swelling would go down and the worst of the aches would disappear. "But things would never return to normal again," she vowed. "Next time, I will fight for my children and I will take off these dark glasses."

P.S.


While this may be a fictional story, it is the reality in a lot of homes. Women are not the only ones who suffer as a result of physical violence. Unfortunately, the young, impressionable ones get dragged into the mess. They are victims too and very often, the cycle continues in their own lives.


For the sake of our innocent children, let's all have the courage to say NO to any form of domestic abuse. Let's not just talk the talk. Let's be brave enough to walk the talk.


To read the concluding part of this story, please go to THE DARK GLASSES : BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Comments

  1. Somayina7:31 pm

    Children from broken homes grow up, most times, blaming themselves for the their parents' split. While those who had verbally or physically abusive parents battle with bitterness & resentment

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  2. Somayina, you're right. The irony is that most times, the abused woman stays on in the marriage for the sake of her children. She doesn't want them to have a broken home.
    Then, they end up witnessing the abuse.

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  3. Aijay7:46 am

    Funny that a lot of women in this day and age still feel it's 'normal' to be hit by their husbands!

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  4. Anonymous4:01 pm

    Abuse whether physical, emotional or verbal isn't just right! Some women experience all these even d beatings before they go into marriage. Its so sad.. Let's learn as women to place value on ourselves.. And as men, to value our wives and women..

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  5. Aijay; You'ð be amazed. Without a strong support system, many abused women considder the act as 'their cross to bear'. An abominable act then becomes 'normal'.

    Anonymous; You are sooo right. In a lot of cases, abuse of any kind starts before the ring is on the finger. This thing called love, eh? *SMH*
    .

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  6. nwunye arinze7:29 pm

    U see this domestic violence issue is really difficult to tackle cos at least 50%...no 75% of ladies in violent or abusive marriages had experienced some form of abuse from their spouses pre marriage...but in a soceity where a lady refuses to feel complete till there's a band on her ring finger,what do u expect. Till we learn to get married for the right reasons and pay less attention to money and the "good life",whatever that means,the end of abuse whether verbal or physical is not in sight.I know that women usually have this affinity for men that treat them badly...for some unexplainable reason....we can say no to domestic violence,what do we say to people that encourage it by some of the lousy choices they make!

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  7. Nwunye Arinze ;) while I may agree with you that some women do make lousy choices when it comes to men and relationship matters, I refuse to accept that it's okay for them to be abused. No one deserves to be humiliated in such a terrible manner.
    Moreover,abuse of all sorts go on everywhere, even in societies where a ring on the finger may mean nothing.

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  8. Tuoyo8:03 pm

    Hitting a woman dosent start in one day. All men that abuse their wives physically must have shown that trait before marriage,so if a woman decides to go into such union damning the consequences then i think she should have thought a lot about coping with it,because the truth is such men never change no matter what,i heard prayer changes situations but i doubt if it could change that,no matter how hard he tries to fight the demons,he can't win everytime.

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  9. Tuoyo, you're right about prayer, changing situations. I believe it can change this one too. On his own, an abusive man can never change. Completely letting go and letting God work it out could just be the only way to go.

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  10. Colettoo4:56 am

    Ola nwababy! This is a reality in many homes today! And the most affected are the kids too cos they witness this! Women shld wake up and know their rights! Better safe than never! Divorce is not necessary but permanent seperation is highly recommended until the pounding madness \psychosis has been dealt with in the man! Good one my sis!

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  11. Yeah, Coco... Better safe than sorry. The current trend is very scary.

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