FRONTLINES OF MY LIFE

Austina
Posted February 10, 2017 from Nigeria

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. >

Comments 20

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jacqueline.s
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Hello Austina,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is with leaders like you in the community choosing self love, will flow on to support others in your community. Keep up your hard work and vision to see other women empowered.

Austina
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Thank you Jacqueline. May the forces help us all to empower the world, one woman at a time. 

Blessings to you!

Joanna Smieja
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Hello Austina, 

Thank you for sharing your story! It seems that you are a strong woman with clear vision of inspiration for other women. I totally agree with the maxim "rather alone than unhappy". But following this maxim in life requires a strong self-esteem and courage. I hope that you will empower other women in your community to follow this path and that you will help them to choose a happy life. 

Take care,  Joanna 

Lisa Anderson
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Hello Austina,

Your words are so stirring -- thank you for sharing your journey and maxim of "better to be alone than unhappy." You are such a positive example for women who are seeking to leave unhealthy, abusive situations. I love your suggestion of helping to "adopt" women who appear to be suffering. 

Warm regards,

Lisa

JANEKALU
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Dear Tina, I appreciate your boldness.So many woman has gone to early grave  not standing  for what was good for them because of what the society will say forgothing that it is only the living that can get married..Continue the good works God will give you the Grace.

THANKS

Jane kalu

Austina
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Thank you Lisa, may our world get better, everyday.

Blessings

Austina
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Thank you Joanna,

May our world get better, one woman at a time. I am already doing my bit and presently working on unveiling an initiative to help women stand on their feet again. 

Blessings

Austina
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Thank you Jane. You know our society very well, I am sure. However, I believe things can only get better with the right education, awareness and a little more love. May women thrive!

Blessings

Sophie Ngassa
Feb 12, 2017
Feb 12, 2017

Dear sister Austina,

I am so pleased to be with you as you take the next step in your journey. You have been very brave, keep on your great vision.

Sophia Atadana
Feb 12, 2017
Feb 12, 2017

Thanks Jacky for your courage and the great work you are doing. Women indeed need to learn to love themselves first and acquire knowledge to do away with the unnecessary stigma from society for the Bible says' for lack of knowledge my people parish'

Austina
Feb 12, 2017
Feb 12, 2017

Thank you Adisatu, 

May our world get better, one woman at a time.

Blessings.

Austina
Feb 12, 2017
Feb 12, 2017

Thank you Sister Ngassa. May our world get better. I look forward to your support. 

Blessings.

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Austina,

although I didn't grow up in an abusive marriage I have seen my friends in abusive marriages and it pains me despite the education and empowerment and awareness this is still going on. We do not loose hope we will march on until things change,

Love

Lily Habesha
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Hello Austina,

You're such a tough girl. "Better alone, than being in bad company" is my MOTTO. You choose what's good for you. Why should you cut your age in living in such an abusive life.

Go girl

Rahmana Karuna
Feb 22, 2017
Feb 22, 2017

Beloved Austina 

Oh how i wished my mother would have left my father. Super title and topic. For those of us who have broken free of the cages of fear, shame, guilt, rage, depression, anxiety, or other less refined emotions and feelings that have been passed down and through those who come before us, and finding the way to transmute those unrefined energies into compassion, open heart, trust, faith, forgiveness, mercy. The question is: How do we help our sisters and brothers to fly out the open door of their cages? I agree, knowledge is important! knowledge of our feelings and emotions. knowledge of breath-the life giving force, knowledge of the inner self and listening to the heart, Learning to live with a  full, strong, open, clear heart. Learning to use that heart as a channel for our breath to speak our words.  listening and remembering. one of my many mottos "we do not stay with anyone who treats us worse than we treat ourselves", well, two favorite: "Be cautious and wise with my words, for they create my experience".

Your How to get involved box is awesome. i am posting this article to my facebook page, hopefully able to copy and paste the box at the top.

looking forward to following your progress with this project!!!

Austina
Mar 01, 2017
Mar 01, 2017

Dear Rahmana,

Thank you for sending me light. May we be illuminated enough to light up our world and be the impact we all need.

Blessings

Austina
Mar 01, 2017
Mar 01, 2017

Thank you Mulatwa. I appreciate your encouragement.

Blessings

Austina
Mar 01, 2017
Mar 01, 2017

Dear Immah,

Thank you. May our world get better.

Blessings.

sycamore_may
Mar 12, 2017
Mar 12, 2017

Dear Austina,

You are very strong and your words hold so much weight. Thank you for standing up for women everywhere and anywhere. You remind us that the fight for justice starts in our own communities. 

Thank you for sharing.

All the best, 

Sycamore 

Austina
May 13, 2017
May 13, 2017

Dear Sycamore,

Sis, my response here might be coming late but I truly appreciate the support, encouragement and mentorship you have offered me week in week out in the last couple of months. I am getting better each day and you are part of the success story.

This is just to let you know you are wonderful and I look forward to a stronger bond and closer friendship, as we grow together.

Blessings