AM I MY STORY? WHICH OF THE SIDES?
Growing up with my mum and my siblings, I had dreams. Of all the experiences that a rural child could have, I remember so strongly the love of my mother, her sacrifices and the bond I shared with my siblings. I lost my dad when I had not even celebrated my first birthday. All I have heard are stories that portray him as a caring and hardworking man. As a young widow with half a dozen kids, my mother played the dual role of a mother and father. I grew up experiencing in one woman, motherly affection and fatherly discipline. I can never remember going hungry for a day. Not at all! She worked so hard on the farm and her pots were always filled with food for her children and visitors. Beyond the capacities and expectations of a young widow in a remote part of Cameroon, my mother went out of her way and sent us all to school.
This is how hard this woman worked and today, the least of us has an equivalence of a bachelor’s degree. I still don’t know what difference it will make if my dad was around but I know I have had more than what an average child growing up in the village could have. Today, I have a career of my own and I am a State employed professional with three kids of my own. Ooh, I wish this was all about the story of my life. But there is more to it….
Just like every young girl, in my mid-twenties, I was “chased down” by this young man who convinced me to believe he loved me. He wanted my hand in marriage right away and I was convinced that was the right thing to do. Against the wish of the valuable people in my life, I went ahead to marry him because by then I thought loving him was enough to say “YES I DO”. A few weeks into his home I started living what will be the greatest darkness for a young woman. Someone who seems so gentle to everyone else has repeatedly cheated on me (even with my best friends), beaten me up countless times and has destroyed my reputation before my friends. Almost a decade now, I have lived and shared my life with someone who has treated me as his worst enemy on earth. I attempted leaving him once, but with the least deception from him, I came back crawling on my knees. Nothing has changed but I am still here.
I do not understand why I am still here but I am here anyway. I do not even see myself walking away anytime soon. This story is so stuck to me that it seems to be my path. My family and friends think otherwise but why do I not? Even though I never saw how my dad treated my mum, I am sure he was not a violent man. He would not abuse her. But, here am I; an educated, employed, beautiful, young and ABUSED mother!
You will surely have many thoughts crossing your mind as you read my story, but guess what? I am not even the one telling this story. Someone else is. I do not know what I wish for myself but I am confident that the day will come when I will arise and tell my own side of the story. When that day comes, I look forward to what my side will look like. To all the beautiful women who were once in this position and who moved on, bravo to you!! To those who are still stuck as I am, I do not know what to wish for you but I can say for sure that Gender-Based Violence is not the place to be in! I hope to ……........well I don’t know what I hope for myself but I am sure to at least have some hope, whatever that could be.