The Ordeal of an African widow

Dutchess
Posted December 19, 2015 from United States

I am calling on you my sisters here on World Pulse especially those from Africa to rally with me as we fight this wicked tradition of widow maltreatment.I have been quiet for three years but I just learnt that the more I keep quiet the more I empower my oppressors.Please read my story and join me in this fight.

I am a 35 years old Cameroonian widow residing in the USA with my three kids.I am determined to use my story and voice to liberate millions of widows across the continent of Africa. On that fateful day January 16th 2013, I was the first to return from work. I parked where I always parked and my son's behavioral therapist took my husband's parking space. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. The therapist was hired by my late husband for additionalhelp since he was having alot of behavioral issues. So my husband got back home time he had to park on the pavement.We lived in a community that has very strict rules on parking. I was in the kitchen cooking,he wasupstairsteaching online classes while the tutor was with our son. I heard a knock on the door, it was one of myneighbors coming to inform me that there is a tow truck outside trying to tow my car. Iimmediatelyrushed out while informing myhusband upstairs.When I got out,I begged the driver not to tow the car that my husband was home was gong to move the car but he ignored me.Two minutes latermy husbandarrived. He told the driver not to tow his car but he equally ignored him. My husband now rushed to the driver`s side to talk to him since he was pretending not to see us. As he saw my husband coming,he rush and accelerated the vehicle and it swayed my husband off balance and he tried to grab hold of the car but it was too late. He fell on the floor and the front tires of his car ran on him. I saw my husband lying on the ground as though all his bones had been crushed. I immediately rushed and grabbed the driver yelling "you killed my husband". Within minutes my neighbors called the police and others were talking to my husband.He was responsive.Paramedics came and transported him to a nearby hospital. He was rushed in to surgery. A couple of hours later a doctor came to me and told me that when my husband arrived his heart stop twice but the second time around they were not able toresuscitatehim since his liver was severely damage and his heart ruptured. He said I am sorry. That is when my world came to astand till.I screamed,undress myself and even lost faith in God for taking the only person I depend on.But this was just the beginning of the greatest ordeal of my life.

The following day I startedhearing rumours from people I am being accused of killing my husband.Even my closest and trusted ones whom I could swear loved me started looking at me funny.That day I decided that the only person that will fight this battle for me will be God. I have a strong faith in God since I was ten. I was always sick and peopleadvisedmy mother tolet me go that I will drain her.But my mother kept me and took good care of me. I knew God would be the only one to heal me.So, my faith in him grew stronger each time I faced adversities and he always pull me through.So, I knew to combat this ordeal I have to put God first.I dropped 20 poundsin two weeksfrom worries,trauma and my complete lost of appetite.Even thoughI had no energy I continued praying . It so happened that myhusband`s remains had to be shipped toCameroonsince he was fromthe rural family and they had someritualsto perform before his burial. I was adviced not to go toCameroonthat they will kill me but I put my faith in God knowing He will vindicate me since I was innocent..

When we arrived Cameroon, I saw how evil, wicked and superstitious people could be. My brother in-law who is quite educated and exposed shocked me the most.He gave orders for me to be deserted given nofood or water . My sister in-laws came to fight me for killing their brother and asked me what will I tell my kids when they grow. All I did was put my bible up and said "the truth lies in this".They went to our home in the city and beat up my father and siblings. On several occasions Mr. Clement or other members of the family came to beat me up but they were stopped by on lookers.. My children were treated like outcasts. My autistic son was given raw fish to eat and was laughed at. He was so traumatized that he pooped on himself and he pooped on himself . My brother in-law referred to him as lunatic. While I was being called all types of names in thebook even by kids as young as 5 years . I stayedsteadfast in God and he gave mestrengthand wisdom.I was isolated and my entire family was banned from seeing me. Each time Mr. Clement Ayafor was out of the compound he made sure the gate is locked to prevent me from escaping. On the day my husband`s corpse was to be taken out of the mortuary, me and my children were left behind. One of my late husband`s friend finally came and took us to church for his final farewell. There I was left alone with my kids and the whole village came to see that witch that killed their famous prince. I was so depressed that It reached a point I almost accepted all what they were saying about me.But they was this little voice in my head that was saying "how did you do it"

Later on that day, his body was finally brought to the compound where it was to be be laid to rest. I was in my room when I was asked to come in the room were his body was.When I stepped in,the room was filled with elders from the palace. There, they asked me to confess in front of everyone for killing my husband. I told them God creates and God takes.I told them I love him throughout our marriage and will continue to love him.Standing there I looked at my husband's lifeless body and his face so pale to the point that I could barelyrecognize. But, there was something I told him each time i stood by the corpse I told him I love him so much and I don't know what happened. I made a promised to take care of the kids.When I finished talking, his paternal uncle came and shook him to get up and kill my family and I.My brother in-law had his turn to rain insult on me for almost an hour. I found out later that they preform some kind of voodoo on my husband`s corpse that will strike me deadin three days.On the third day people streamed into my room to find out if I had died. I was force to sleep on a bare floor for days,my hair was shaved and they took me naked and barefeet to a quarry where i was force to drink dirty water filled with human feaces. They dug a hole for me to piss in and my hair was burried by the river. They also forced me to dance half naked infront of people while I was laughed at.

Mybrotherin-lawshired one of their cousin who operated a gang inCameroonto shoot me and my brother with his silencer but asGod works, he came to confess to me and my brother that he doesn't want an innocent person's blood in his hands. My husband was finally buriedwithout me nor my kids attending.Three days laterI had to leave for the US. As Igot in the car to leave, a gang of boys started cursing me and throwing stones to the car that I was in with my children. I bow my head down and was praying. My brother in-law, came and was hitting on the carfranticallyto get out and stop themess Ihave caused. When I finnally stepped out one of the boys who was acting like he was on drugs rushed in the house to get a machete to chop off my feet.I met him at the door,grabbed him by his arm and asked him what have I done to you?.Immediatelyhe calmdown and starting crying. He took me to the room he was bury and ask me not to leave. I told him I had to leave for the kids to go to school and that is what his uncle will want. He was please and ordered the other boys to open the gate.The driver sped out and almost four miles out of the village the breaks of the car failed on a hill. That was when I knew this people really wanted to kill not only me but my kids too. Thank God everyone in the car were believers. We immediately burst into prayers and after like a mile of anguish the car stopped peacefully. I came out panting like a dog. We finally board our flight and I returned to the US.

Three days after my return, I found out that my in-laws are trying to claim my our property in Cameroon and had withdrawn 25 million francs!(50 thousand dollars) on the18th of Januaryclaiming that it was my husband. Remember he died on the16th of january..When I gathered all these I hired a lawyer to represent me and my children. My in- laws filed fraudulent documents claiming I was never married to my husband and my children are not his. They also paid someone to report in a local news bulletin that I killed my husband for "his money". They bribed the judge of a local court in Bamenda who handed over our property and money to my husband`s family. Is there no justice for women and children? . I believe my life is astake. Anything can happen to me and my children especially if we go to Cameroon My daughter `s grades were affected .She saw a therapist for almost a year. My autistic son was so traumatized that he will never go to sleep without covering his entire head with a blanket.Just the name Cameroon will make him to scream and cry telling me "mommy no cameroon". I want justice especially to my children and also to all the widows in Africa who were and are treated like animals in the name of tradition.

Comments 9

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Leina
Dec 19, 2015
Dec 19, 2015

Hugging you so tight my sister.The widows of Africa have an advocate in you.The sky will be your limit.

With love,

Leina

Dutchess
Dec 19, 2015
Dec 19, 2015

Thanks to you I am conquering all odds to fight for my rights and other women across the world who will go through this nightmare

Rahmana Karuna
Dec 19, 2015
Dec 19, 2015

Dutchess, No one need be treated this way, not even dogs. What strength you have to even write the words to your story. The absolute senselessness of how people can even think up these tortures they inflict on others.

Dutchess
Dec 19, 2015
Dec 19, 2015

Dear Rahmana, it took a,while and encouragement from my friend Yvonne to come out. Yes I was treated worse than a dog but at the end of the day victory is in God's hand.just the fact that I am sharing this story is victory.

Adanna
Dec 21, 2015
Dec 21, 2015

Dear Dutchess,

I am sorry about the death of your husband.

I want to commend you for raising this issue.

Many women in Africa go through almost the same thing all in the name of tradition. The most interesting part is that the men rarely go through the same thing.

It is pathetic that "many so called educated men and women are the ones who instigate other ignorant men/women to punish the widow".

Please I want to urge you to be STRONG and remember to always PRAY!

God never fails neither does he disappoint! 

Stay strong,

Adanna

Dutchess
Dec 21, 2015
Dec 21, 2015

Thank you Adanna for your nice comments. God has been my strength so far. I will like to use my ordeal to enlighten those women in Africa and all over the world to stand up for these malpractices.

mayele
Dec 22, 2015
Dec 22, 2015

My grand mother had the same experience,she became widow at the age of 45,now she is 84 and all her 8 children are alive and live in good conditions.It was not easy for her to feed and educate them but as God is good he gave them victory.

Be strong my sister and relie on God.

Love

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 24, 2015
Dec 24, 2015

Dear Dutchess,

My heart breaks for what you went through, and at the same time is full of joy that you and your children survived and are now safe. How great that you have become part of WorldPulse, and that you found the strength to tell your story. With your information we can all be more aware and educated to speak out against this treatment of widows. We are here to stand together.

In Sisterhood,

Tam

ikirimat
Jan 25, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

Dear Duchees,

I really commend your boldness to stand up against this bad tradition that is so unfair to the women. Yes we value our ancestors but not those harmful traditions. It up to us to ensure that we idividually and collectively raise up our voices against these pactices. Women too have rights.

Together we shall conquer.