The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Domestic violence makes me sick! Each punch, pinch, kick, slap, hitting with a fist, thrashing with a cane, heavy blow, verbal attack, denial of my rights, and rejection feels like a sword piercing under my ribs. These attacks from my husband, elder brother, or relations caused midnight tears, fear, and a lack of trust of these male figures in my life. Amid these challenges, I saw a bright light at the end of the tunnel. I believed so much in my future that I made a commitment never to wallow in self-pity.
I knew that, if I am to live long and reach my full potential by achieving my purpose in life, I must act and react to heal from this sickness. So, I began to defend myself with frowns and bitterness. Malice kept me away from my perpetrators, but my wrinkled face, my sorrowful heart, and my sadness left marks on my skin and soul.
After a while, I decided to devise other means of defense. Instead of keeping quiet, or, as a sign of respect for my elder brother, folding my arms over my head as he slapped me, I began to run. Most of the time my attacker pursued me as I fled for my life on the streets. This was not the best long-term solution, but it got me where I am today.
Taking the High Road
I came up with better solutions. Speaking out and writing down my experiences became my lifeline. These tactics worked wonders because violence against women thrives in secrecy. My mission is to expose violence and live a victorious life.
But my own victory against violence is not enough. Every woman in Nigeria must be victorious too.
My experience has given me the ability to identify violated women as victims of domestic violence.Identifying these women brings no satisfaction except the relief that comes from being able to offer empathy. My experiences led to sleepless nights, nights that gave birth to some lasting solutions.
My vision, which is already underway, is to empower abused women by teaching them about their rights, supporting their healing through creativity, training them on how to produce treasure from trash, and providing entrepreneurship skills that will help women establish their own businesses.
I know that we can go further faster if we work together. With the support of World Pulse and Team Tosin—a group of professionals in the area of branding, business development, facilitation, and career coaching—I began training what I call “Super Trainers”. These women have undergone Trash to Treasure training and are currently being coached on how to train other women in other communities.
Presently, I have trained four committed women in our organization who will in turn empower other women.
I have been amazed at the innovative products these women are working hard to create.
Rachael has become a genius at re-using old newspaper. Now, she produces beautiful laundry baskets, penholders, and sweet baskets using discarded newspaper. This gives me great joy because she generated the idea without any assistance from me. There is also Janet who began making neat purses, even turning rugs into beautiful bags, using the knowledge she acquired from our training.
I am heartened because this innovation illustrates that my organization can scale and reach many more states. It means we can organize trainings that run concurrently in various parts of the country—impacting many more lives.
Now I can concentrate on working with Team Tosin to further my organizational work and goals. To start, I am listening to my advisors by taking some time to rest, something that both my body and my soul need so that I can remain strong and focused on our long-term mission to build transformed women and children who believe in speaking and standing up for human rights.
We now have a space where 30 women at a time can attend training, a display room where treasure products are exhibited for sale, a storybooks library, plus our machine room. This new space will allow us to reach out to more women in need of our services, especially those who are interested in learning and using our facility for their personal development.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are my Super Trainers at work in our new office.