I am that little girl who got her heart broken at age six, watching her mother pack and leave an abusive marriage. A few years later, I found myself living with her and endured a life of being taunted by the neighbourhood children as the girl who was different, as it was not commonplace to be accepted as a divorcee in the 80s.
I watched my mother struggle with insecurities and seeking for acceptance in a society that only values a woman when she has the title 'Mrs', even if she has to die in cold blood at the hands of the man who once called her 'sweetheart'. I grew with pictures of domestic violence etched in my psyche too, from scenes witnessed from home and from neighbors and I promised myself it would not happen to me! Burying myself in books, with a determination to grow up to become as independent as I could, I shut my ears and eyes to all the rudeness and stigma I had to endure, knowing it was all a matter of time.
Today, I have come full circle. I am now also a single mother myself, however where my mother had hers thrusted at her by a violent marriage, I am a single mother by choice because I would rather stay so than repeat history.
My passion, is to see women happy. I live in a society where women are largely encouraged to remain in an abusive marriage and if possible, endure it till death. The culture of silence in my society and even religious organisations promote these, and many a woman here would rather stay and 'pray it away' than take a decisive action to stay alive. Unfortunately, each passing day we are inundated with news of women dying or maimed for life by men who once pledged to love and protect them and since we aaall know that 'dead men don't talk', most of these men get away with the crime or at most get just 'a slap on the wrist' for a crime so grievous. Children from these situations are then often left at the mercy of the elements, children for which the dead or injured women stayed in order to protect, to the detriment of their own happiness.
I believe in the maxim 'rather alone than unhappy', and today, I use all means at my disposal to speak to as many women as I know to put themselves first, knowing that self love is the first rule of survival.
Not much has changed since my mother's days, but today with proper education and empowerment, more women are coming out of the confines and redefining their lives. Single parenthood, though still frowned upon, is no longer the stigma it used to be when I was a girl.
I believe that my generation has the responsibility to teach and nurture the next generation of women to own their lives. An empowered woman is an empowered nation, and the more women are given opportunities to be independent the better our societies will be.
I see this as my life course. To give women like me, women who are either single mothers by choice or made so by life's unforeseen circumstances( divorcees, widows,etc) a shoulder, a voice, a hand to hold and as much solace as I can muster. Because, I reckon that if I could find happiness after such a turbulent childhood, every girl and every woman should.
How to Get Involved
You can join me to promote this cause by adopting a suffering woman today. Look around you, the telltales marks cannot be missed: the inexplicble scars, the evasive looks, the forced smiles, the silent signs, you cannot miss them if you look closely enough. Some just need a shoulder, some shelter, some a listening ear, some a refuge or a place to hide, most have nothing, with nowhere to go, not even family to turn to. Whatever the need may be, if each of us can reach out, one woman at a time, the lives of many will be saved. >