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If I understood what had been going on between dad and mom, I would have spoken up before it got to this stage.

Gradually, it unfolded to me why dad always locked me inside my room whenever he started raising his baritone voice on my very fragile mother.

He didn't want me to see that the scary looking wire I once saw under their magnificent bed was what he had been using to design mom's body whenever it pleased him. But I saw it anyway.

I was about five or six when Dad suggested it was time for me to have my own room. It therefore meant that I wouldn't be enjoying the warm cuddling of my parents on their bed anymore. 

I had to teach my teddy bears how to cuddle, so they could keep me company in my new room. It wasn't a problem after all, because, I got used to sleeping alone soon.

But then, things began to change gradually in the house. Mom, who was always full of life, became a quiet woman. She only spoke when spoken to. 

It looked like she was scared of dad or something. I didn't understand exactly what was going on. Whenever I asked her if everything was alright, she told me everything was fine. But I could bet, she wasn't okay. 

The sudden tears that dropped from her eyes while she hugged me one day, told me she was battling with something. Something she felt she could control, but obviously couldn't.

Things began to unfold to me when dad came back one evening. I heard the usual shouting in the sitting room and knew he was at it again. 

I knew if I go out there, he'd drag me back to my room as usual and lock me inside. So, I kept mute, tiptoed to the dining, and hid myself behind the door so they won't see me. There, I was able to see everything.

"Honey, but I just asked what kept you out for so long, I was just worried," mom explained, holding her right cheek. Obviously, dad had slapped her before I came out.

"Shut up! I came back from work, exhausted, instead of you to welcome me and give me food to eat, you are asking me stupid questions.

You fool. Your mates are working and helping their husbands financially, but you, all you do is stay at home, eat, become fat and lazy by the day and ask me stupid questions," Dad retorted.

It didn't make sense. How could dad get so mad at mom to the extent of beating her, simply because she asked him why he stayed out late? This wasn't good.

"Was it not you who told me to resign and become a full time house wife so I could take care of your child and the house? Why have I disgust you all of a sudden? Or is there anything you are not telling me?" Mom asked. 

For a reply, I saw with my eyes, how dad rushed to the room and came back with the wire. He lashed his own wife carelessly on her back, buttocks, legs and every part of her body he could lay his hands on.

Mom cried, begged and struggled to get away from him, but he had gripped her so firmly that she couldn't move. Sadly, I tiptoed back to my room, locked my door and sobbed all through the night.

I thought Mom was going to talk to someone, probably our pastor so he could advise dad, but she didn't. She didn't even disclose it to her mother who visited during the weekend.

Mom kept telling whoever asked about her marriage life that everything was perfect. She once told one of our church members who came visiting that dad was the best husband ever.

At church, people envied my parents, because Mom was always coming out to testify of how God has blessed her with the most caring and loving husband. People tapped into our blessings without knowing that mom was just covering up to save her marriage.

I thought she was right, because she didn't complain, so, I kept quiet and watched dad advancing from the use of wire to the use of his fists on mom.

This went on till I got back from school one day and met dad and few of our relatives in the sitting room, mourning.

I didn't understand, till dad hugged me and told me that mom mistakenly slided from the staircase and died instantly.

I demanded to see her and was taken to the hospital. There, I saw mom. I wasn't permitted to touch her, but I saw the mark on her neck. It was reddish. Dad had squeezed life out of her while I was away and lied that she fell down.

She had a big injury on her head to justify my dad's claims, but I knew there was more to what he told them. Dad killed mom, but who will believe me?

I am sitting under a canopy, looking at the casket before me and wishing mom could come out and tell the world how she died. But no, she can't come out because she wants to save her marriage.

I'm sure after some months, dad will get married to another woman, forgetting all about my mother and how she kept quiet just to save her marriage. A marriage she couldn't even save at the end. 

This is to every woman, facing any kind of domestic violence and keeping quiet all in the name of saving the marriage. Suffering quietly is no way close to the solution of such marriage. Speak up!

What if you die, do you think he won't move on immediately?  A man who has the effrontery to raise his hands on you, can kill you. He is a demon in a human body. So, speak up.

I have just one question for our men.
Does a man have the right to beat a woman for whatever reason?


And for the women, what advice would you give to a woman facing domestic violence or what action would you have taken if you were the victim?

This story is knitted based on a true life story.
Writer: Ima Udott
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