A few weeks back, a male friend of mine told me that his pregnant wife-to-be used to hit him. I spoke to another male friend of mine because other than saying to the first friend: leave her, I didn’t really know what else to say. Then my second male friend tells me that he too could relate because he once dated a girl who used to hit him. They both inspired me to write this short story on overcoming domestic violence but from the point of view of a woman. Before they both told me their story, this story was one that I always intended to write as Elizabeth Salawu, after I finished the Abiku series. So this is the condensed version of the story I had hoped to write in the future if life gives me the chance to.
If this is your first time on my blog, I write adult fiction under the name Elizabeth Salawu. It’s just my way of separating my children’s books from adult books.
Domestic violence affects both men and women and if you are ever in a position to speak out for someone, please do. Whilst this short story may come across as funny (well I hope I can write funny stories but possibly only Nigerians may relate to the humour or I just suck at writing humour), it is not my intention to make jest of a horrific situation. My hope is to try to use jest to get more people talking about domestic violence and in turn help the victims overcome it. Due to the theme in this short story, I have opted to write a part of it in Nigerian pidgin English/Yoruba.
A short story about overcoming domestic violence by Segilola Salami
About the characters
There are only two characters in this story, a wealthy Yoruba man and his wife, an Ijaw woman. The man is much older than his wife and paid a lot of money to his wife’s family as dowry, so he felt that she was his property, to do with as he pleased . . .
“Why are you screaming? ki lon pariwo fun ehn?” the man asked. “Do you want people to know that I am beating you? so fe kin awon adugbo mo pe mo n no yin?” he continued, towering over his wife with her trapped between his legs. He uses his slippers and smacks her across her thigh “eh ehnnn, you think someone would come to your rescue abi? Oya phem, shut your mouth NOW! If I hear another sound out of you, na die you go die today.” He pauses for a minute then continues “silly woman, oniranu! I bought you with my money and I can do whatever I like with you”. He then kicks his wife brutally and says “now get into the bedroom and wait for me. If you are not undressed by the time I get there, I will panel beat the living daylight out of you the way a panel beater beats a car!” With that, the wife runs up the stairs to their bedroom.
The next day . . .
Sobbing to herself in the quiet house . . . “chai I don suffer oh, chai Tare, this na proper suffer. Na my papa cause am! na my papa cause all this kasala for me oh” she wailed to herself. “I tell dem say I no wan marry this man, say I no like am but dem no gree hear. My mama tok say hin no geh money, my papa no geh money, say them want make poverty end for our family ehn. Na im make them sell me like say dem dey sell goat.”
“Chai! chai!! I don suffer oh and my mama con add salt to injury tok say make I behave well for my husband house like a good pikin. Hin say make I no bring disgrace to the family. Chai!!! this Yoruba man geh luck oh. If not! if not!! I know how I for treat hin f#ckup. E bad, e no baje. I go show this man wetin God give woman make woman superior to man. I go tell am say I be Ijaw pikin!”
Around 1am that night . . .
The woman hovers her hand over her husband’s face to check that he was asleep but he turns to his side and continues snoring. Convinced that he was deep asleep, the wife quietly goes to their ensuite bathroom to ‘prepare’ . . . Whilst in the bathroom, she was trying her best to stifle her giggles, very mischievous giggles they were.
A few minutes later, she comes out of the bathroom dressed in white and nzu chalk dotted around her face with water in a white bowl. She softly starts chanting in Ijaw and her husband wakes up.
“This yeye woman, you don start now oh, you no go let person sleep. After you go tok say na so so beat I dey beat you but you no go gree say you dey vex person any ha! Oya sto . . .” the husband made to pounce on his wife but stops talking mid-sentence with his hand frozen in the air as he attempted to hit her when he notices his wife’s appearance.
“Oya hit me na! Shebi you tok say you be man abi? Oya hit me. Na today you go know say I be water pikin” the wife challenged him. “Shebi when you were ‘pounding’ me like yam this evening, you were feeling funky with yaself, feeling like a man. Do you know what I did afterwards? eheheheheheh I ‘washed’ you into that bowl” she said with an evil glint in her eyes, pointing to the white bowl that had the water. “You see this small stick in my hand?” the wife asked showing her husband a small piece of wood “it is the physical representation of you and I have drowned you in that water. Do you know what that means? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?” she screamed at her husband. “No” he whimpered, suddenly afraid. “Ah ha fear don cash you? no fear na. Shebi I be your property?” the wife mocked him “AH! no oh, you are not a property. You are my mother, I tuale for you” the husband said, raising both hands up as a sign of respect for his wife.
“As you be my koko na, my olowo ori mi abi na how una dey tok am for Yorubaland? I no go kee you today but if you wan try show yaself, say you get muzzle con crase say you wan touch me, na ya spirit you dey touch be that. Anytime you raise hand say you wan beat your mama mama, my sisters go beat your spirit, you go wake up the next day and you no go fit comot for bed. If you think say I dey joke, try am na, come beat me.” the wife continued “no oh, I swear am, I no go ever touch you again” the husband replied solemnly
“If you are sure, take this bowl from my hand and drink the water in it” the wife said, to which the husband complied. At that, the wife said “that is your covenant with me. The day you tell anyone that I gave you spiritual water to drink, that would be your last day on this earth. The day you think, not to talk of actually hitting me, you are damning your soul to hell. You gree abi you no gree?” the wife asked. Quickly the husband agreed, promising to not tell anyone what had transpired between them that night.
The wife smiled a victorious smile in her head. She could not have imagined how well pretending to be a daughter to a river goddess would work in scaring her husband. Hopefully, he would not hit her again, for fear of damning his soul!
On a more serious note, REPORT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic abuse or violence is a crime and should be reported to the police – there are also other organisations who can offer you help and support.
Call 999 if it’s an emergency or you’re in immediate danger.
Contact any of the following organisations to get help and advice about domestic abuse
English National Domestic Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
Galop (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people)
0800 999 5428
Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
0800 027 1234
Scottish Women’s Aid
0131 226 6606
Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 80 10 800
Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland)
0800 917 1414
Click here to find out about call charges.
The above contact details are for those in the UK. If you have the contact details of any organisations outside of the UK that would be useful in overcoming domestic violence or supporting victims of domestic violence, men and women alike, please leave a comment below. What do you think of the short story? Do you think I succeeded in including a bit of humour to it? Please leave a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by 😀
Comment from Twitter
Pretty disturbing topic to read. I like your style of writing, though
— Bloggers United (@BloggersUnited2) August 24, 2018