My Name is Achieng Violet, I come from a fishing village in Busia, on the shores of lake Victoria which is shared by by the 3 East African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania.
I am Kenyan and ex my husband is Ugandan. We got married a year from the time we met so I did not really know my husband that much but I loved him and that was enough for me to say yes when he proposed. I was 23, he was 30!
I was unprepared for our cultural differences but very determined and committed to make the relationship work.....and as such I was caught unaware when he hit me "for offending" his mother who lived 3km from our marital home.
My crime: she came home unannounced on the day i was away delivering job applications (I had resigned from my job to move in with my husband after our wedding).
My mother in law came home and did not find anyone to welcome her that day. The house was locked, I had left home to deliver a job application in town.
She called him and he immediately rushed home to see the empty housr for himself. I came back 2hours later to find she had gone after lecturing him about "Kenyan women behaviours". She told him "I was growing wings, that a "real wife" seeks permission from her husband before leaving home, that why do I need a job - my purpose is to have children and my husband would find ways to provide. (All this I was told amidst slaps to my cheeks and head from my dear husband).
When he eventually got exhausted I remained seated on the floor for 40minutes, mostly out of shock than the pain ringing in my ears from the slaps! To imagine that this was the same man who had showered me with kisses and sweet nothings before he left for work 5hours ago?! To imagine that we had agreed that I needed to pursue my career and as such was job hunting and moving about all day-I had purposed to find a job to contribute to our welfare!
To imagine that my mother in law had control over the happenings in her 30year old's house in 2016?! (After all She has her own home to run, why is she minding her sons home and relationship ?!)
I respected her and had hoped to find a new mother in her having lost my own at 12 years! I was shattered! I could not function!
Like they say every cloud has a silver lining; I was greatful that we had no children yet, I was on the fàmily planning injecta method having made a decision to have babies two years from our marriage date.
That night I could not sleep, my husband ignored me, going out with his friends after slapping me and coming back at 1.00am, creeping into his side of the bed.
He tried to hold me and to tell me that he was sorry but a light had gone out of our relationship - I had gone cold and numb. I was unresponsive till he slept off.
The following day I moved out of our marital home while he was away at work. He tried to find me and apologised in many ways but I knew in my heart that he had been raised differently......I was brought up to show love in all situations.....it is possible to rebuke with love, to admonish with love, to correct with love.....to beat a weaker person is not love. To succumb to anger is far from love! I stood firm in my decision and never turned back, I was open to my family about what happened and they stood by me till my husband stopped asking me back to his home. 2months after our first marriage anniversary we were divorced. I forgave my husband but I chose to not go back to that marriage because I believe that our visions differ since we hurried into it. I do not understand certain cultural marriage norms so I believe he will one time find a suitable wife who will submit to his mother's wishes - I forgive her as well; she means well for her son.
In the meantime I will concentrate on empowering women faced with domestic violence to stand up for their rights.
Life is precious, choose to walk away from any form of violence. Take time to learn your partner before you settle down!!!
A World Free of Violence