Monday, January 29, 2007

The Threathening Silence

I don't know how exactly how to start this post,but I am grateful to overwhelmed and confused for their inspiring posts.

The culture of silence,I remember as a little child.....

I remember seeing my crude Ijebu neighbour chasing his beautiful light in complexion wife to the elevator in his briefs. (She left him)

I remember on a Saturday morning,when my cool looking neighbour, a pastor,was pounding,YES! Pounding his wife;We all heard but no-one could knock on their door. I remember her running to our flat,her eyes bloodshot,her upper lip swollen,her body quivering.
I fling the door open quickly and run to her,and ask the stupid question"Aunty xxx what happened?" She tries to feign a smile,"Oh! Omo, I'm fine I just tripped from the staircase!"

Miracleworker sushed me before I could utter another word, she sent me and my silblings upstairs;I cried and asked why but I got silence. Deafening silence,the silence that tells you subtly,it is her lot,it is her choice, she must bear it.
( She is still with him,believing that Lord will change him)

I remember the Officer's wife,pretty,smart and soft spoken who was consistently disciplined by her husband,the discipline often lead her to the hospital for 2 weeks or more.

Whenever she is discharged from the hospital,there was a grand reception for her,loads of gifts and an exotic hoilday trip. The neighbours couldn't (shouldn't,wouldn't) speak at least, She survived it and She is happy(or so it seems) with her naval king.

I remember the silent night,he carried her in his arms,blood dripping from the side of her head,word went round that he smashed her skull on their ceramic bath tub;
"She makes me lose my temper!" he sobbed as he put her in the hospital's ambulance.

(She died shortly after her return from the hospital, her husband remarried)

Now,In my new neigbourhood, I refuse to keep silent as my neigbour constantly beats her 12 year old daughter for the most foolish reasons. My parents have spoken with her but she persists.

I don't know what I'll do next but I am definitely not keeping quiet.


20 comments:

londonnaijachic said...

Abuse! This is what i don't understand about women. He is beating you left, right centre and u are still there thinking he is gonna change. I wouldn't know cuz i haven't been faced with abuse but i know if it happened to me(God forbid) the first time, am carrying my bag and baggages back to my parent's house. I really don't know why women do this to themselves even if you love your husband so much u would allow him to bruise you, what about the kids involved? You are simply teaching your son that its ok to batter a woman and your daughter that its fine for a man to maltreat you which is just plain selfish. If abuse is going on around me, like you omohemi am definitely saying something. Its just so unfortunate that in places like naija, we haven't got like social services who are likely to intervene when it comes to child abuse. I have heard of two many fatal stories that could have been avoided if only the culture of silence was broken

azuka said...

I still don't understand this, but I think the abused somehow form a bond with the abuser. Somehow, both convince themselves that they need to do what they do.

confusednaijagirl said...

If you refuse to keep silent, then you can teach your kids not to tolerate abuse too. About Azuka's comment I dont think you have a bond with your abuser. Its amuch more complicated realtionship I had with my abuser.

confusednaijagirl said...

hey can i copy and use this story for the share your story posts. This one is more extensive than the one you left on my comments section.

Vera Ezimora said...

Omohemi,

I love this post. I think African women suffer it soooo much because of culture. Our culture makes us pick death over life; it's really sad, it's the truth.

Women can be so wise, yet so weak. We know the deal, but we still stay... waiting.

Naijadude said...

Hmm that got me to my marrow! What is it with the patriachal traditional system and africans?
The poor unfortunate women stays, hoping it is going to get any better, yet the silence, silence that is deafening, silence that kills, silence that taints the honesty and dignity, silence that messes up the loyalty, heck! silence that leaves a PAINFUL memory all thru the lifetime.

Hmm its sad it exists

Jaycee said...

Omohemi, loving the expression of this thought. Silence should be banished. But I've heard of several tales where FEAR is the main factor why people don't come out to look for help. They fear that they'll become broke financial (if they depend on their abuser for finances), they fear they will be rejected by the society...but word needs to go out that it won't be like that.

The culture of silence needs to be done away with...but I haven't quite figured out HOW we will accomplish that as a "team"...but I pray it will be extinguished real soon, and many of these women will assume their worths back!

omohemi Benson said...

@londonnaijachic
Some of these abused stay believing that their abuser will change,other stay because of shame(shame that the society wil laugh and disrecpect them if they leave their husbands)
3.Some women's mind have been condition to believe it is not only right but the only way they can receive love.

Social services ke? In Nigeria?
The closest thing we have to hat in Nigeria,is office of the public defender and it is avaliable only in Lagos.

omohemi Benson said...

@ azuka,
Bond? hmm I don't think so.
Like confused said It is alot more complicated than that.

Thanks for stopping by.

@ Confused,
Miracle worker told me over and over again not to tolerate any form of abuse,but she also explained to me that family issues run deep and one could not meddle in them except in an extreme case.

Until the abused or a close family member,comes out and ask for help then you stand by them but until then you can't wade in.

Sure love,you can use all you need,you inspired the post. Thank you.

@ Vera,
Thanks love,
This our culture wey our men don twist sef no be so o!
Abi no be for awa history we get the likes of Queen Amina and moremi?
Religion also adds to some of these case,where women are told to be "submissive" but they forget that the same Bible says be gentle as doves but be wise as serpents.

@Naijadude,
I no know o!
Silence in this case is foolish not golden. The silence slices through one's heart.

@Jaycee
Thanks girl,
I agree with you,but some of these women ARE finacially independent.Not only do they fear the society but some fear their families will not support them because they believe they have brought "disgrace" to them.

On the HOW,nobody has the solution but if we understand that we owe a responsibilty to one another,

2ndly if we understand that what goes around comes around.I'll use the case of my neighbours daughter.
If no-one begins to show her love now,she will think that is the norm.
She will allow anyone abuse her,she will in turn abuse her children(because that is the only way she has known)
She will in turn tell other people that abuse is okay.

It is a long road and a serious issue that cannot be solved in one day but we,especially women must at least start sumthing.

OmoIbadan said...

Next time...when u see people brushing people, either dial 199, abi na 911, then go one distance and pray, I remember (not too sure now)seeing (maybe na hearing sef) a man pick one of the kids that came to tojubo when he was beating his wife and used him to flog the wife, later when asked he said he was too enraged he thot the the tot was koboko.

Omohemi Benson said...

Omoibadan,
lol! Thanks for stopping by.

Shola said...

more people need to rise up to speak against the abuse in our homes , neighbourhoods and society at large.
i also think people need to be extensively educated on this issue, both the abusive and the abused.

omohemi, your blog looks really different, i sure have missed a lot since the last time i visited.

::aytwin:: said...

Wow!! that's truth in its most beautiful form..
one wuld never fully understand d abuse versus abused situation, but truth is that when evryone stands up for whats right, we culd ease the coming generation's issues.

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

My heart bleeds

Olawunmi said...

please don't keep quiet. please don't. we can't pretend like it doesnt happen. at least talk to the child to see if she's okay, and keep talking to the mother. please.

i'd like to meet a wife-beater in a dark alleyway, when i have the obvious advantage over him that he has over his wife. he will find out how far injustice goes on that day.

omohemi Benson said...

@Shola,
Yeah,Everyone needs to be educated and understand,because abuse in whatever form is a vicious cycle.

Yeah, it is different,beacuse this a whole new blog,the other one pafuka,I no know how!

@Aytwin,
It isnot only about the future generation but about us,here,now,if we donot understand and fight it,there is no future for us and our children.

@OWNB,
My heart bleeds too...

@Olawunmi,
I can't keep quietbecause my heart won't let me,I have given up on the mother and focused on the daughter,she is young and with love I can makeGod can make her better.
Lol! At meeting a wife beater.
Thanks for stopping by

@

milkan05 said...

Aya Omode ni were di si!! Pasan la ma fi le danu!! Cmon. Spare the rod and Spoil the CHILD!! We need disciplined boyz and galz in our society. After the flogging, ensure you put your word of advice into use...

Chxta said...

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
beneath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence.

Fools said I,you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.

Anonymous said...

My dad beat my mom for 17 years. She nearly died. She left his sorry ass after 17 years.In Naija it's hard.There's still a stigma on divorced women.It's changing thoughand there are no alimony laws so she ended up raising 5 kids alone and doing a great job. Anytime she holds my daughter now she cries and thanks God she's alive to see it and didn't die in my dad's house. She's not weak. She's a strong woman.I admire her. I say it's better to be alone and well than sick with a sick person. We need to destigmatise all forms of abuse in Nigeria and stop making victims pay(at least here...USA...they have shelters for battered women). God help us. NIce post. I'm really feeling you,OWNB and Confused right now. Thanks

omohemi Benson said...

@milkan05,
Discipline is different from physical abuse,
This my neighbour has once thrown a padlock on her duaghter's head!
What happens with discipline with love?

Thanks for stooping by.

@Chxta,
Lovely poem,
Thank you.

@Anon.
Thank God she survived.
She is not weak,but a strong survivor who has a strong daughter,I admire you.
God help us all!