It is my decision to name myself Olutosin 3, it is not out of sheer ignorance or lack of deep thinking, it is because I could see the generational abuse rearing its ugly head in my life.

My grandmother was a strong woman, she decided to become strong after several abuse, my mother was not left out and when it was my turn, I made up my mind that I must be the end to this generational abuse.

My grandmother was married to three men, not out of her own volition, but she was inherited after the death of her husbands, which means, she got married to a very old man when she was 14 years, she delivered a son and the old man died, she was inherited by his brother, after 2 children the old man died. At the age of 25, she had 3 children and was warming up for the third brother.

History had it that, she refused but her parents were imprisoned until she succumbed and she finally married my grandfather and her parents were released. She had 4 more children for the man who detained her parents. She died untimely death after the seventh child.

My mother’s story was a bit different. What I witnessed was at the funeral of my father when I was barely 5 years old. Our chairs were thrown out of the venue and our sympathizers were dispersed unceremoniously. My mother had only daughters for my father. The last time I visited my I visited my father’s house after that unfateful experience was a week before my wedding.

I left his house when I was 4 years old, and went back at the age of 28years. Nobdy cared about us except my mother aand her siblings.

My mother insisted on education for us, she thought that illiteracy was the cause of her violence.Therefore, I began to study as if my life depended on it.

Lastly, I got married to a Romeo, who according to him; is an African Romeo. An African Romeo means power, whereas an African Juliet means “must Love, work, Listen and Submit’ this is not strange, it is as spelt out in the good books and in the stereotypical socialization that we were unfortunately raised in. I accepted my fate until a fateful day that changed the course of history visited my life.

Alas, education has nothing to do with violence against women. My degrees refused to stop any slaps from my husband. My family background undoubtedly affected my life, my experience with young men made matter worse. I was determined to marry a “gentleman” who would become a friend, a father I never had and a brother too. I worked relentlessly to make my marriage work or no marriage again.

To beat a woman is not strange in my community as long as it is done by the father, husband or an elderly man in the community. A pregnant woman would be caned on her legs, the long broom does the work well and wonderfully, and beaten on the legs does not affect the baby in her womb, every baby is secure in the fluid, aside that every woman cannot out grow beaten in our house, especaiily if she is a “wife”. A wife is the slave of her children.

The fear has nurtured in me, it has blossomed, I was secretly and feaerfully waiting for that day, Oh the inevitable day, when my slaps would rain like thunder. As I would have it, my slaps arrived early in my marriage. My first daughter was 28 days old when it began! This must stop, like all my achievements in life; determination has been the single dose. My husband’s first beating landed in a hospital. It was a terrible midnight beating when other women were enjoying the cozy chest of their husbands.

That fateful day my husband beat me like a forbidden snake and why? I asked him to help with the baby “please help me to carry this baby so that I could have s few minutes’ deep sleep’ I never knew that a man must not carry a baby. As the gods of women would have it, I was determined too; this time around to end the marriage. If not, it would end my life!

The drastic decision is due to the fact that I was afraid that Olutosin 3 may inherit the same experiences just exactly like that of the first and second generation Olutosins who suffered untold hardships because they were unfortunate to be women during their time, and there is the fourth Olutosin who is in this world again; she is my daughter; that she may not suffer the same fate.

Suddenly, I became strong after conversations with stronger women; I became a fighter and decided to put an end to swollen face and emergency admission into hospitals, where I would not be able to inform the doctors about the genesis of the swollen face.

Today, I gave birth to daughters only because my womb has been shaped to carry female foetus. If I refuse to be the voice, my daughters would remain voiceless. In my community now, I am blessed with more than 70 girls, who learning from me in our community. These girls will become champions as long as we continue to project our voices.

With further education, collaboration and readiness to invest in further education and enlightenment, I became a champion for women. The women who were struggling in silence became my allies. We have 150 women who are working towards personal and societal transformation in my community today. It becomes easier for us because we are working with likeminded international women who are working passionately on ground in other African and Asia countries.

Long live women, but we will live longer if we are determined to end violence in women’s world.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.

Comment on this Post

Comments

Olutosin,

You deserve all the respect ,love and support.It saddened me to read your story but you emerged a winner.My salute to you.

Hope the young girls that you mentor,learn to be as strong and compassionate as you.

You are fabulous and beautiful.You have a heart of gold.

I am blessed to know a woman like you,and may you inspire more.

Thank you for being what you are.

Much love

Mukut Ray

Thanks so much for the kind words. I admire you my dear.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Wonderful dear,

You are a brave lady, with a strong heart. The lesson once was taught to you had made you a teacher of hundreds of women and to be their voice, a powerful voice indeed.

Go ahead Champion, the girls need your voice.

Love.

Merlin James

Sharontina, Thanks thanks thanks. All my love to you.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Dear sister Olutosin, you have been blessed by God, called to tell the world what is happening in Nigeria. I pray for you every morning and I now understand why. Women everywhere, yourself included, are equal human beings and as such deserve to be treated equally under the law and with respect. When you first wrote for PulseWire I cautioned you to not be too vocal because your life could be endangered, but now I understand why you are beyond angry. Dear sister, push forward, one step at a time, with love. You are changing the world, whether you know it or not and I am very proud to know you. My love is coming toward Nigeria and your house and family. Father God, protect Olutosin this day and give her both courage and peace. amen.

I appreciate you sooo much and I Thank you for all the encouragement in time past and till nove.

All my love Will

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Thank you soooo much. I appreciate and love you always.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Dear Olutosin sister

I haven't told this to you, but during my entire US live speaking tour, I spoke of you. I told everyone - my audience, journalists who interviewed me and friends about what you do. However, today I learned something new about you, your past and it has only increased my love and respect for you.

You are a model for others and an inspiration too. May you keep going from strength to strength. I will follow you at every step! With much, much love and many hugs Your sister

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe

That is exactly how I tell everyone about you too....I love you so much and I promise to love you more and more. Thanks darling.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

That is exactly how I continue to tell everyone around me about you!!!! I appreciate you so very much and I respect you.

Welldone my darling. Thanks for being our voice.

Hugzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

I read your story twice! I just had too! I felt your pulse as I read through the lines.I still still feel it now even as I write. You are such a strong personality and I am glad that you are determined to save other women and girls from the evil acts perpetuated in the name of tradition. Being an African and a Nigerian at that, your story resonated. I celebrate your courage and determination with lots of admiration, respect and love for you.

Take good care of you,Sister Tosin!

Olanike

I appreciate your comment and I Love You.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Thank you for sharing. I can't imagine how much pain you went through especially from someone you expect to protect you. Having such courage to walk away is so admirable. Many are still afraid, preferring to "live their fate" and quietly endure their suffering. You're so right. If we women refuse to be the voice. Our daughters will remain voiceless.

Best regards.

Lylin

I appreciate you. We are the voice today but we must give voice to our daughter for their future sake.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Olutosin,

Excellent Illustration! Couldn't hold my tears. I pray so that I can be strong enough like u to raise voice against all odds happening around me.

Peace- Tanzina Ahmed Choudhury

Tanzina Ahmed Choudhury

Bangladesh

It is well. Strengthen yourself and you will be able to stand up for all. You can do it. I believe.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

I am proud that we are sisters. I appreciate you.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

So strong, brave and a golden heart! Thank you for sharing sister Olutosin. You always inspire me with your great work and words, so blessed to meet you virtually and hopefully one day in person God's willing.

We are strong and that's why we are here, raising our voices and that of others. Love you Sis. Looking forward to meeting you , One day and very soon too.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Oh sis, I can`t hold back my tears after reading this.You have said it all!you echoed my heart in this piece.I am comforted to know there are women like you out there.We share the same pain.You have indeed stood out like a voice for us all!I LOVE AND RESPECT YOU hugs, Leina

Thanks Thanks Thanks, we are our voices. May we continue to soar. Amen.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Ur story moves me.I feel deep self-righteous anger in me.....my father used to beat my mum, when we were kids..I remember nt being able to sleep cz they would quarrell bitterly far into the night,the words my dad spoke to my mum could cause a woman to commit suicide cz dey were filled wit venom.....he beat her one time dt she bleed,I ran on the streets without footwear, cryin,running to call my aunt....I have never been so scared in my life,I also watched my aunt get beat on by her ex-boyfriend...its a terrible culture that Nigerian men have....I have vowed that I will not tolerate domestic or physical violence,infact I make sure I tell evry guy I date dt the relationship is over wen he hits me,and I will ensure I try to sign a pre-nup dt gives me the opportunity to divorce any man who hits me......I absolutely loathe physical violence....Tnk u for the work u do, and the lives you touch....God bless u

I appreciate your comments, it is our responsibility to say NO.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

hey there, olu, what you did taking matters in to your own hands is amazing and my hope and wish is that for all women to have the kind of strength you have.

that we learn to know when to say noooo. down with violence against women, down with any kind of cruelty. well done and the best in championing women in DRC. If i may, right now i can not help but wonder what your husband is thinking.... can it be could, would and should have? well he lost out. take care, in Uganda when something gd happens or is happening , we say Uganda oyeee So i say OLU and WOMEN CHAMPIONING IN DRC OYEEEEEEEEEEEE, and you dear say Oyeeeee and mind each time you a complish any thing, does not matter how big or small,

salute/chant it with an OYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE you take care topie

I am in Lagos, Nigeria. Thanks so much, my husband is now working on gender equality :). Sometime, we need to take a stand to make a change. I appreciate you sooooooo much my dear.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Thumbs up my dear sis, our African society needs vessels of inspiration like you. Your story is a perfect step to be taken by our African women. so so proud of you. Hugs

Marvel

We usually inspire one another....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

What a wonderful blessing to read this story and find out how strong we can be as women if we put our mind to it. You are a blessing to all the women that surrounds you, don't let your hope go.

Love

Cece

We are blessed to have many Sisters!

Cece

I appreciate your comment....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Olutosin, what does it mean?

Well I am touched by your story, I couldn't hold my tears Sister , You are strong, Remain focused no one should intimidate you.

I appreciate you.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

In friendship and solidarity, we are together....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Your strength is inspiring, thank you so very much for sharing your words here! I cannot imagine the pain you have gone through, but am shaken to the core to hear how much determination you have to change the world. The girls you are mentoring now are so lucky to have such an amazing example of a strong woman in their lives, you are extraordinary. Best wishes and much love, Heidi

Thanks my love...

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

Tosin:

You continue to inspire me. Your struggle to rise up from a history of abuse and your own situation of violence and oppression to become one who advocates for women in your community is nothing short of admirable. You are a role model for the women of your country, of Africa and of this world.

We are truly honoured to have you as a member of this community. Thank you for your gifts of leadership and courage.

Wishing you much happiness in this new year. With love, Janice

Its been a long time Janice, thanks for stopping by, I love you as always.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

I, too, have tears in my eyes as I read of your abuse and your efforts to address these issues. I also believed that it was my lack of education that merited my abuse, but I now know that the only way women can reach real equality is through proving that we can support ourselves before we marry or give birth. We must work in committed communities to help women to define their own individual strengths and talents, obtain education and experience through mentoring each other, and succeed in their own aspirations before they become partners or parents. We must then choose marriage and parenting partners as we would choose a female best friend or a business partner.

Yvette

Yes my dear, so many things are wrong with the way we are socialized especially in the developing world. We tend to treat the symptoms instead of looking deep into the root causes.

We need one another, one sisterhood.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https: